“Consulting maps can diminish the wanderlust that they awaken, as the act of looking at them can replace the act of travel. But looking at maps is much more than an act of aesthetic replacement. Anyone who opens an atlas wants everything at once, without limits–the whole world. This longing will always be great, far greater than any satisfaction to be had by attaining what is desired. Give me an atlas over a guidebook any day. There is no more poetic book in the world.”
When I was young, my dad made a point to make sure I could read a map. He didn’t want me to be one of those women with no sense of direction. So when we got in the car for a roadtrip, usually quite early in the morning, and usually heading to Pittsburgh or Florida from Chicago, he would throw an atlas (you remember those–those books with nationwide and state maps in hard form) towards me in the backseat and say, “Okay, how do we get there?” And off I went, tracing routes with my fingers to guide our adventure.