I’d be lying if I insisted that I had no interest in things lying beyond the map edge. My interest goes back to childhood when I dreamed of escaping New York City. The unknown lay beyond the barrier of the Hudson River and the massive cliff of the New Jersey Palisades. I had no map, and this was before large structures got developed that were visible from my side in Washington Heights. So I populated the land beyond with communities of my imagining. It was years before I discovered the famous illustrations imagining a New Yorker’s view of America.
Eventually, I traveled over the George Washington Bridge and found out that New Jersey was not too exciting from a New Yorker’s perspective.
But one discovery of the mundane beyond your map will not cure your growing addiction. Instead, it begins to escalate, and you crave discovery. I think that is why I started to roam in the 1960s with my friend Bill. There were indeed strange places; lots of them were on the map, just not well described. Every once in a while, we’d find ourselves in situations where we were clamoring to get safely back over the map edge and away from Terra Incognita.
I no longer travel by thumb. I also am much more careful of what I imbibe. But every once in a while, I take detours to see what lies down the other road. Thus, sometimes once in a while, I find myself going places I can’t find again.
It’s harder to get lost these days. The navigational system on your phone will start rerouting you as soon as you take the wrong exit. Going on vacations, the travel agency will have it all laid out for you.
Your entire life is planned…”rerouting you to a safe experience”…
It’s like having a coloring book as a kid. Everyone kept telling you to color inside the lines. Except now it’s software generated voice telling you to “…proceed to the next red light, and turn right.” Screw that! Go left, go off program, and get off the map!
Recapture for a moment the thrill of discovery as you realize that not only do you not know where you are or where you are going but that the future is open and not preplanned for you. Scared yet? Have fun.
8 Replies to “The Road To Nowhere”
I was born and raised in Jersey….until I left for Florida. We loved NY because your drinking age was lower than ours. Staten Island always welcomed us with open arms.
Yes, yes, yes!!
Road to nowhere – that’d be the name on my autobiography. I like you way better though,
Mason, don’t beat on yourself. You have incredible abilities to plot, develop believable characters, and interesting dialog. I consider the people who I read regularly to be among a very interesting group of peers. We are all developing authors.
Aww, thank you, Lou. It means a lot that you enjoy my stories.
I so like your life of discovery Lou. A change in travelling as we age is so true. The use of a paper map trucked into a pocket and a random way of exploring is my way. Away from the tourist trails, explore the back roads and streets just wander until the map may be needed then pulled from the pocket, Chaos Tours is exploring. Thanks for joining in 🙂 🙂
After I turned 18 I traveled throughout the US for the next four years on my own. I was lucky because, I kid you not I never found myself in a dangerous situation and if I did I got out of them pretty easily. My problem was that during this time my friends were either getting married or having kids and settling into their suburban lives and I believed all of their stories about how nice it was to settle down. Really, I was stranded one night in an empty road somewhere in Nevada because my car broke down and I survived that, but I could not survive a a mountain of BS that my friends piled on me and I got crushed.
I guess I was lucky that all my New York friends turned their backs on me and went on to college. I NEVER saw a single one of them again. I never thought of it before, but I think I was lucky that I really had no place to return to. I have no idea what sort of lives they patched together. I’m just glad that I did not follow down that rabbit hole…I found my own.
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