Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Road Less Traveled

When I was younger before every vacation or random family road trip we took, my dad would spend the night before packing, locking up the house and lastly,  reminding us about printing out his handy-dandy MapQuest directions.

"Make sure to remind me to print out that MapQuest for the trip", he would say.

MapQuest became our rock for about 97.6% of our family road trips and vacations. Not to mention it was free.

The other 2.4% came from the times MapQuest complicated the trip. The cons of the service was that before smart phones with tons of applications were around or people began buying electronic GPS systems or even before those same GPS systems were included in newer cars, it was on paper. The primitive paper version of MapQuest is final, the only thing you can do to it is rip it up after it pisses you off.

I'm not sure about your family but MapQuest had us lost more times than not.

Nowadays, since everyone has some sort of smartphone, or built in GPS system in their vehicle, there is no more stopping at a convenience store to ask the cashier "are you from around here? If so I'm trying to get to 7th Street, can you point me in that direction?" Usually we'd find out that the direction we were supposed to be going was totally opposite of the direction we were heading.

GPS applications are usually already included on the phone before you use it for the first time. It re-routes itself if I get off on the wrong exit or miss my exit for that matter. If I need to make a change, or find a new address, I can just type it in. If you don't have one by default, you can download one. It's free and waiting to be used.

But as an adventurous person, I kind of enjoyed the spontaneity of a MapQuest error, though today I occasionally take advantage of my map app. Of course, who doesn't like the money-saving convenience that an interactive application via Internet access can bring you.

But hey, next time, if you enjoy traveling and have the means for burning gas and time, try just using the road signs ahead to get to wherever you're going.  Even if you get lost, appreciate the struggle.

Getting lost with friends or family can truly be a good thing. To me, it can help strengthen a bond or help create memories among other things. Getting lost may at first seem frightening, but learning to embrace the feeling of "going with the flow" is imperative when lost and exciting altogether. Use getting lost as a way to teach yourself. If you're bad with sense of direction, getting lost is for you, seriously.

I remember taking my first road trip with some friends and ending up lost. It was funny more than anything. I understand some may feel vulnerable in a strange place.

Getting lost might help you find something unexpected, something you may think is cool, somewhere you may not have found hadn't you got lost.

If you must use a map, use a real map. You know, the big book like maps probably archived somewhere in your parents nostalgic belongings.

Travel/map applications in my opinion are just an example of how new technology can steal some of the unanticipated joys of life.

Traveling is supposed to be a thrill ride.

"To hell with MapQuest and their errors. Forget getting lost, we don't have the time for that, I need very accurate directions, now" is what I suppose my dad said to himself before he purchased a vehicle with built-in GPS.

That's what we all say subconsciously when we download any application.