“A map tells you where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going — in a sense it’s three tenses in one.”
― Peter Greenaway
My kids love maps. I love maps.
I make maps for them to find things and for adventures all the time.
For the end of a geography block on our neighbourhood, I made a map for one of my children. Her eyes lit up. She wondered what was at the end of our journey. I mapped out our neighbourhood and told her to follow a path to get to a treasure. I told her that she would be leading this expedition and the rest of us would follow her. She led us down familiar and unfamiliar streets, often exploring shortcuts that weren’t drawn on the map but she found once she got to a physical location. She changed things on the map and added landmarks. We double-backed, got a little lost and turned around, but in the end, arrived at the destination, the X marks the spot – a new fancy donut shop.
I think my love of maps stems from my need to always know where I am going. I loved to see how people interpreted the landscapes or dreamt how the world looks in their eyes. I always felt an excitement when a fictional book included a map. I read Simon Garfield’s, On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks, and I understood why. In this book, we travel back through the history of map-making and exploration. He says:
Most [maps] share a common purpose: they were not intended for use, at least not for travel use. Rather, they were statements of philosophical, political, religious, encyclopedic and conceptual concerns.
And the artist, Stephen Walters, says “Any map is always a projection of the opinions of its maker.”
Today make a map.
You can keep it simple. You can make a small treasure hunt for your kids within your home or outside.
You can make a map of an imaginary land or draw a famous one like Mordor, Hogwarts, or Wonderland. Use this book and we also love the book, The Dictionary of Imaginary Places. For a walk down memory lane, visit here.
Or you can do a personal map. The geography of your life – dreams, failures, crossroads. Dump them on it. Be sure to include that dragon lurking behind the mountain.
For visual inspiration, go here, here and here.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”– Marcel Proust
And to gain some perspective, check out astronaut Don Pettit’s view from above:
Explore today. Explore your sense of direction. Explore worlds of the real and the imagined.
Get a little lost.
“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”
– André Gide
You can leave a comment below or join my top secret life explorers group on Facebook if you want to share any discoveries or explorations. Friend me and I will send you an invite! You can share your thoughts or your creative expressions there. You can also post on Instagram using #may_BE2015
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