Do you still use paper maps?

It certainly feels good to be back from Christmas holidays and slowly get back into a normal rhythm. I enjoyed my time off with my family, but I also really enjoyed the drive to and from Alberta. Sometimes it’s the drive, the open road, that is the best part of going somewhere. Just getting out of the confines of the city and enjoying a relaxing drive with little traffic is hard to beat especially when the weather is great.

As I was driving a long I was thinking about how people use to have a road atlas in the car and old paper highway and grid road maps. We certainly had them in our vehicles and I would literally spend HOURS reading maps. I loved them. Maps can fire up the imagination and make a person stop and think about all those little towns that just appear as dots. Who lived in them? Who visited them? Who came from them and what are they doing now? If I went to that town or traveled down a nearby highway what would I see? That was long before the days of Google Maps when paper maps were the only means of figuring out a destination. Heck, when I first moved to Saskatoon in 2004 I never left the house without my city map because I knew I’d get lost and I figured my life as I knew it might come to an end. One day I did leave without my map and I was a nervous wreck when I realized what I had forgotten, but I’m happy to report that I survived. Phew!

Maps are still being made all the time but I, like many of you, have slowly drifted towards the online navigators. I don’t remember the last time I purchased a map and rely solely on online maps and their street view to get me somewhere. It’s just easier to look at one’s phone to figure out where to go and far more relaxing than trying to fold up a map…something that resulted in several fights and a little bit of profanity!

Additionally online maps and GPS technology has prevented a lot of divorces between couples trying to reach a destination! Those battles over directions could be quite epic at times which usually resulted in pulling over in a parking lot to figure out where to go next. I’m not going to say how I know, and remember, those battles but I do. Regardless of whether a map is in paper form or online, they’re still fun to study and imagine what other places must be like. They stir the imagination and always will.

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