map coordinates + mile markers
Back when George Bush Sr. was still in office, my family took a lot of roadtrips and coastal vacations. We had a 1979 Honda Station Wagon, gas prices hovered near a buck ten and armed only with a trusty magnifying glass and road maps marked with neon colored highlighted routes…we would just, drive.
I feel lucky to have grown up in the era that preceded the internet and Mapquest, or Siri or TripAdvisor or Apple Maps. I started my lifelong wanderlust love affair at a time when the average American’s best source of vacationing intel came from either a neighbor or a friend’s grandpas directions “turn left at the fork in the road, and continue half a day’s drive…” or driving directions came from their local AAA branch (American Automobile Association). The most straightforward process, no frills, not fancy schmancy; you stated where you were traveling to, and were then handed a generous armful of free, folded paper maps and campsite booklets. In the heydays of wandering blindly into adventure; any sensible car had a glovebox full of these scribbled on, creased beyond recognition and stain-soiled road maps and torn atlas pages. Glove boxes had purpose!
When I was 8 years old, my older brother had taught me how to read maps. That way when he got tired of being navigator and wanted to chill out with his Walkman…I would step up to take a turn. I held that position with pride! Tiny adventurer extraordinaire. Noting the mile markers we zoomed past and making sure we were following the right string of highways and byways and winding zig-zags of side roads through green scenic rolling hills, and dangerous rocky cliff-sides. I loved being on the go.
I loved that there was a purist approach to adventure, I loved that I personally got to assist in my family’s safe arrival using the age-old solid approach laid out by cartographer mapping mavens, centuries before me. I was making the past, the future. My memories of these childhood trips play in my mind like a warm hazy 8mm films…each KOA campsite, or the mountain resort cabin, or one of fabulously retro hole-in-the-wall beach side motels we stayed at.
I can smell the Pacific ocean salty air, hear the crackling of the firepit engulfing the Pine branches, and feel the cold slimy rainbow trout I just pulled in on my fishing-line and would soon be frying over the fire. I can taste the picnic of fresh dairy cheese curds, hand-picked blackberries from along the riverbank, and brown-paper-wrapped cured meats from the local butcher… and those sweet sweet sneakily stolen sips of my parent’s boxed red wine. Even as a kid, I distinctly recall the emotion of feeling in those moments on all those many trips…that thiswas ‘living well’.
Living well is a mantra that has stuck with me. I am fortunate to lead a life, and be in a job that surrounds myself with people and lovers filled with their own chops, and stories and memories about their travels over the years and learning about how ‘living well’ and ‘luxury’ translates to them.
I still have a list longer than my arm of the places I want to go, and the things I want to see and the foods I can't wait to eat, and then eat again! I still love being on the go. Frankly I think I feel more at home, when I am not at home. If I am being honest though, when a map navigating opportunity presents itself on my next trip, I’ll probably summon the help of a satellite. LONG LIVE TRAVEL APPS!
I can appreciate modern technology in the world of jet-setting and globe trotting now, because once upon a time we were just kids with maps.