15 October 2010

Forgot the Maps!

I forgot to download Australian maps for my trip to Sydney and Brisbane.

There was a time when you just hoped for a map at an Info Board on a main street with a little pointer that said "You are here!" I love it when there are free maps available that are bordered by ads and list all the "Must See" sights or attractions. Some even have little symbols for housing, food, fuel, wildlife, museums, etc. These maps I'm referring to are on paper. They don't require batteries and you can fold them up and put them in your pocket, only pulling them out unobtrusively when absolutely necessary so as not to look like a tourist.

Now, in this new-and-improved era, we have electronic tracking devices that tell us where we are and will draw a line from there to where we'd like to be, if we can input that info into the device so it can bounce it up to a satellite and back again. A low orbit satellite will be as close as 100 miles near.

Well, I forgot to download maps for this area. These maps would show me the streets, points of interest (POIs), and distances between things. As it is I have isolated POIs just sitting on a field of beige with the East coast of Australia showing me how far I can go 'til I get wet, but that's it.

When I pack I also organise things in to zippered bags so as to keep related items together. I have one bag just for ailment/injury related products, another for pens, pencils, clips and such, and another for cords, cables, batteries and plug adapters.

When I first started traveling on my own, about 25 years ago, I usually carried a flashlight, and sometimes a battery powered radio, but that was about it. Now I need a phone charger, iPod cables, GPS cord ... and more cords and cables if I take my laptop. I no longer need a Palm Pilot in addition to my phone, or tapes and CDs to go with a Walkman. Soon I won't need printed books, but will need another charging cable for a Kindle or iPad.

Things change. Some change is for the better. Much is not.

When I think of early adventurers and the concept of traveling light, I sigh heavily. I may be disillusioned by the perceived romance of travel by sea, stagecoach or camel. Some of the stories I read forget to mention the length of the caravan, how many camels, porters or trunks, but if they had a silver tea service int he dessert, it had to get there somehow!

Part of the challenge is to remember that traveling by car often means you can take as many bags as will fit inside or on top. Travel by air means there are times you must lift or carry those bags yourself, thus the need for discernment in eliminating bulk and weight.

Maybe it is that the destination is desired but the journey is sometimes just too hard these days? If that's the case, then I'll need Star Trek's "Beam me up, Scottie." Or I should just buy what I need when I arrive in a new place, then I won't have to carry stuff.

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