travel vanlife

On technology & navigation

June 9, 2019

There are so many ways to map a place. I do it with words & metaphor (& increasingly sound), Andy does it with photography & he has an amazing, innate sense of direction. As the months roll by into seasons we spend less time worrying about where to go because the places we need always seem to find us in the most serendipitous ways. We’re not adverse to using technology: on a practical level park4night is great for finding overnight spots, we don’t always rely on it, sometimes preferring the joy of going off scouting an area on foot; new road friends also showed me Wikiloc recently which is wonderful for finding or logging hikes & runs; in the U.K. the OS app is brilliant for hiking, and of course GoogleMaps is the king of getting around (these are not ads – I just like the apps). The best way to find interesting places though, is conversations with people, every time, and we’re getting better at overcoming our shyness to chat with locals about the places they inhabit. There is the mindset with some that using technology to navigate is somehow ‘cheating’ but I can’t really hold to that – a paper map is a piece of technology, as is a compass. Unless you’re navigating purely with the stars & the sun & memorising the landscapes then you’re using tech – you’ve stepped away from mapping through nature into the realm of mapping through the world of people. I think the issue is overreliance – when we mindlessly follow GoogleMaps so that we don’t take note of our surrounding. I’m working on being more mindful when out walking, being aware of the landscape to ‘discover’ my way instead of using a map, exploring different routes or scrambling over land that isn’t waymarked – but I have the apps with me just in case. They are the backup for if I get utterly lost & need to be guided back home. Anyway – love this photo of Cretian costal roads taken by Andy this winter. Huge thanks to 🌺Sara Lovett🌺 and 🌿Jean Holloway🌿 for their recent support at ‘The Ganges’ level on Patreon. This means everything ♥️. Over on Patreon we’re working hard on getting the first chapter finished for subscribers for 14th June.

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