Who never use GPS or google maps to navigate their trip? Sure not every living human but I am quite confident that you readers had. It is easy, especially because it follow our location, then tell us which direction to turn to. Of course it is a great way to prevent us from getting loss (or simply make life more convenient). I had also used this service and like it very much, well except when they keep recalculating or reconnecting. I never fancy reading maps and have zero sense of direction so I found that GPS function is very helpful especially when I was new to the neighborhood. In the last two years however, I have developed a weird interest of getting lost in the old way; no INTERNET, no PHONE CALL, just address and static map. This is how it works:
- Pinpoint the departing and destination spots in Google Maps
- Choose “on foot” choice to find the route
- Screen capture the maps (note: better to zoom in so trademark buildings included in the picture) — so called static map
- Note down the route details (just take picture:))
- Off you go!
Try to understand the maps beforehand to make the trip smoother. But why doing it?
The obvious answer is that we got to see a lot of new things around us. While we might have passed it hundred times on the bus, the view is just a glimpse because the bus velocity, or we may just to busy looking at our screen or dreaming. Moreover, by doing this you might get lost to somewhere new, for me this experience is quite thrilling; scary but made me excited- unknown place = new discoveries.
This practice had helped me to be a better map reader and more attentive to my surroundings, to me most places have their own presence, some are “rough”; crowded, fast paced, unsmiling-unfriendly faces, some are “oblivious” and “dazzling”; most tourist places, where they shop with no care, big shops with pretty lighting, etc and some more like “gloomy”; old district, “energetic”; near schools, a lot of laughs.
You might not know that creativity could be enhanced while walking. The experiment by Stanford professors revealed that “…A person walking indoors … or walking outdoors in the fresh air produced twice as many creative responses compared to a person sitting down…” Walking also is associated with better health (read here) and a good substitute to other heavy workout.
As from my personal experience, my wondering around session has been very fruitful for producing ideas. Since walking generally required long commuting time, when I walk alone I have so much time to let my mind goes around. I thought of things that I ignored when I was too busy daily, memories sometimes came across when I witnessed some triggers, my mind responded to the news I just read i.e. pro or contra the US travel ban, etc. I thought of my life plan and alternatives, my favorite songs from long ago played in my head, and many more. It is a privilege to be disconnected from technology but so connected to the earth. I could walk for hours a day and my personal record cover around 20 km (according to Google maps) in 5 hours. This is a weird hobby that most people cannot get whenever I try to explain it to them, not even my friends understood-it is too painful and time consuming to walk- so I normally walk with myself. I talk to myself, sounds crazy but believe it or not, it is good for us, I mean to talk to ourselves (Google it).
The side benefit of this hobby is that I save little money but if more people develop this practice, I believe that in some cities it could reduce a lot of gas emission; some people I know drive to a place within walking distance because of habit. Of course not everyone have the time, but do try it once in a while, relieve yourself from the stressful routine.
Note: do NOT walk at night or too early in the morning alone, do NOT attempt to get lost if your neighborhood have a safety issue.
… now you know why I have no personal picture of my trips, I broke up temporarily with my phone in every of my walk session…