Map Reading: An Acquired Skill

I know I’ve mentioned my love of chalkboards, but I also have a bit of love for maps. I love the look of maps, the soft colors of blue and green and yellow, but also the black and white antique maps and the bold colors often used on the USA map. And not just maps, but globes, too. I would love to have a variety of globes adorning the mantel one day.

But what fuels this love? Is it because I often dreamt of living in other places when I was a kid? Of expanding my horizons far past the little town I grew up in? Maybe. Or it could simply be an aesthetic one. Maps are pretty.

I can tell you it is not because I am an expert at reading maps. I am the person who decided that the best way to get to Texas from Maryland was not to consult a map, but to drive west and then eventually south, guessing I’d see a sign that would direct me the further I got from Maryland and the closer I got to Texas. Luckily my mother intervened and forced a road atlas into my hands minutes before I hit the open road. (I say luckily because I did use the map to get me to my destination which the Adult Me recognizes as the best result, but really might have my plan worked also? The Free Spirit Me believes it might have made for a far more interesting trip!) Granted, I was 19 at the time, but I’m pretty sure that today if there was no Mapquest and I didn’t have a GPS in our car I would be more inclined to trust there would be signs and not consult a map.

I suppose I learned map reading skills sometime during my education, but somewhere between longitude and latitude and identifying countries in front of the entire classroom…well, it coincided with having to wear glasses and being embarrassed at wearing those awful brown glasses and so having no idea what was going on in the front of the classroom because I couldn’t see…well, you get the idea. I’m pretty sure I missed out on acquiring decent map reading skills out of vanity.

It was on one of my subsequent cross country trips when I was driving west with a friend of mine that I learned map reading was a skill. And I say that because I’d never given it a thought until that trip. I’d handed my friend the map and asked her to navigate and it stressed her out so much I had to pull over and give her a pep talk. She always referenced that trip, about how I helped her to see that she could, in fact, do something like read a map, which I guess had at one time been an issue in her childhood. My husband would probably think this is funny because I’m pretty quick to hand him the map or to call him for navigational advice!

What about you, dear Reader? Any life skills you’ve found yourself lacking as you navigate the bumpy road of adulthood?