RoadRUNNER Digital Rider

The Lost Art of Getting Lost

Mar 05, 2012 View Comments by

I used to get lost. A lot. Wrong turns. Missed turns. Plain ol’ curiosity sometimes. I always came out the other side, sometimes a little late, always a little smarter. It was ok because I loved maps. Ever since I was a kid I enjoyed spending time poring over maps, tracing over windy roads, and imagining what stories they held. Getting lost was just an excuse to take out the map, figure out where I was, and figure out how to get home. And then I got my first GPS, a Garmin eMap. Tiny, low-contrast black and white screen. No turn-by-turn directions. But like I told the kids in the Extremadura in western Spain as the mechanic siphoned the leaded gas from the Aprila Pegaso (don’t ask, long story), “Todo el mundo esta aqui.”

And over time I’ve gotten lost less. And looked at maps less. And bumped into unexpected things less. And discovered things less. And been happily surprised less. You call that progress?

Now don’t get me wrong – I love nav systems. Use them all the time. But the screens are still tiny and low resolution compared to a good map, and they don’t really encourage discovery, the kind of “what if we turned down this road?” adventure that I used to love. And they’re not really beautiful – if you want to see some really beautiful maps, check out Raven Maps & Images.

A dear cousin once said to me, “jump and the world will catch you.” It’s not too late to make a New Year’s Resolution, is it? This year, I resolve to get more lost. And I hope that you get lost too.

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About the author

You know that little boy who stares at you, mouth agape, as you ride by? That was me, thirty-plus years ago. I merged two of my passions, motorcycles and photography, when I became a contributor to RoadRUNNER.