When I was a kid, having just entered high school, one of my favourite books to read was the Sydney street directory. I had just recently moved to Sydney, with my two sisters and mother, so this probably played a part in this – I wanted to learn about my new surroundings.
As I grew up, my interest in maps never disappeared. I began putting maps up on my bedroom walls, much to my mother’s irritation – the Blu-Tack I used, to stick the maps to the walls, had a habit of pulling off the wallpaper, whenever I pulled down a map to replace it wit another. Maps are wonderful things, opening our new horizons.
In today’s world, we have sat navs, Google Maps, and other electronic formats. However, these lack the character of a paper map. Sure, they do have their places. Sat navs can get you from A to B, but it lacks the ‘big picture’ feel of a map or street directory. And Google Maps have made plotting a course way too easy.
The more reliant we’ve become, on these useful tools, we’ve begun to lose the simple art of reading a map. Don’t get me wrong – I really do like those technologies. But a map will never need recharging due to a flat battery. They also encourage you to explore, rather than being directed. The planning of my round the world trip has caused my map library to dramatically grow.
Do you still use maps for your planning – whether it’s just to get from one side of your city to the other, or to cross a country or two?