Maps Are Cool as $#!@

Map of Dublin
Map of Dublin

I want to talk about a conversation (kind of) that I had last week on Twitter.  It was during one of the travel talks that I take part in here and there.  Unfortunately, I cannot remember what the topic was, but He/She Twitter Person I was talking to said some things that really upset me.

He/She Twitter Person said, “Maps make me feel dorky as shit.” What? Maps are awesome! I understand that paper maps are slightly outdated. But to me, there is no greater joy than arriving in a new city, grabbing a fold up map, and learning the landscape.  It is primitive. It is special. It connects me to the place I am in more than just a “Hey, go look at this cool thing!” ad on a website.

This person also told me that I (me, Morgan) “would be better off just to enable [my] phone for GPS and not use a map.” Excuse me? But who are you He/She Twitter Person to tell me how to travel? I travel my way; you travel your way, and other people travel their way. I like maps. Back off and don’t be such a sour puss.

Further in the Twitter conversation, I told this person that “There is no shame in using a map.” He/She Twitter person was going on about how lame maps were and continuously talking about how lame it made he/she feel to use them. What the crap? What would this person have done if they were Christopher Columbus? Or Vasco de Gama? Or Emilia Earhart?! They all read maps and I think ended up pretty successful from it. There is NO shame in reading a map. It is not dorky, lame, stupid, or old-fashioned. I think it rocks. Being able to read a map connects me to a time long gone. A time when men and women had to rely on their compasses and maps to guide them around the world. There is no shame in that! There is only pride and joy in the ability to read maps!

He/She Twitter Person then went on to say, “It is annoying when people try to read maps that clearly can’t.”  Is this person nuts?! Why would I ever judge another person for trying to read a map.  I understand that sometimes, maps are difficult.  Really, they are! I have come across some maps that are so littered with roads and symbols and points of interest that I can’t discern one thing from another.  I also understand that some people flat cannot read maps.  They don’t have the ability to find their place on the map and direct themselves to another location.  That’s like me and science. For the love Saturn, I cannot figure out how or why E=MC2. Some of us are gifted with a natural sense in direction while others are not.  I would never ever judge another person for trying to understand something difficult.  But I will gladly with a smile on my face help another traveler find themselves on the map and point them in the direction they need to go.

Lastly, He/She Twitter Person said this, “I’m not judging. I just find going the wrong way, especially if I know it, annoying.” I didn’t even respond because the only logical response to that is, “That is when you stop and ask for help, or learn to read a freaking map!!!” If you are going to complain about other people not being able to read a map, make sure you can freaking do it for yourself.  He/She Twitter Person probably feels dorky for reading a map because he/she couldn’t do it on their own. If you can’t read a map, that is just fine, but do not judge other people for trying.

I know it probably seems dumb for me to get so worked up about some tweets from last week from some idiot, but this person is judging other travelers in how they move.  That bothers me.  I don’t judge other travelers because each of us move in our own way. I like maps. I think they are awesome, and cannot wait to get another one.  Some people travel by google map print outs and others travel via gps on their phone.  However you do it, do it with pride and without judgment.  You know what is best for you.

Reading a Map in Brussels, Belgium
Reading a Map in Brussels, Belgium

Travel on friends and happy mapping!

6 thoughts on “Maps Are Cool as $#!@

  1. Totally agree with you – I also think using our brains to think through logical problems like finding a route on a map may help fight off dementia later in life – who wants a saggy brain muscle!

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