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.