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Armchair Traveler

I spend a lot of my free time on Apple Maps (in the olden days, before the upgrade to iOS6, it was Google Maps), traveling back to places I’ve been.  More time than I should probably admit.  It is different from looking at old photographs and revisiting the same moments in time.  Instead, I fly over the buildings, taking various roads with my finger until I end up in places I never reached.  On nights that Josh works late and I’ve finished my work early, I can virtually travels hundreds of miles — all with the swipe of my finger.

I spend a lot of time flying over the Magic Kingdom.  The top of Cinderella’s castle is squashed strangely in the Apple Maps view, but other than that, you can clearly see each ride.  I pass over the Dumbo ride and swing by the car track and peek at the Haunted Mansion which is half buried in a grove of trees.  It almost feels as if I’m there.

I visit Smith Island almost daily.  I dock in Ewell and turn the corner near the bike rental shop, and then travel down the roads past the old post office and abandoned houses and the Methodist church.  I fly out over the marshland, a section of the island we never wade into when we’re there because we don’t have the necessary boots.  I’ve found the path to Tylerton, one I didn’t know existed until I flew over the bridge on Apple Maps.

I spend time in Chincoteague.  I travel from Wallops Island out to the nature reserve.  I sometimes revisit London; I’ve walked between the Tube stop and our hotel.  I’ve been back to Madison and Amherst.  Some places, like Jaffa, Israel, I can only view from afar.  As I get closer, trying to glimpse Andromeda’s Rock, the image becomes blurry.  And other places, it almost feels as if I could touch down and walk the street.

I travel to places I will probably never get to go.  Mingulay.  I’ve floated over every square inch of Mingulay.

Sometimes it makes me feel so good; that I spent an hour feeling close to something I love.  Sometimes it makes me feel horrible; empty and aching.  I never know which way it will go when I start out armchair traveling.

Have you ever revisited a space via Apple Maps or Google Maps?  Where would you fly over if you were on those apps right now?


1 Bionic { 11.27.12 at 8:37 am }

Thanks to you, I just visited my grandmother’s house in San Diego, which was sold years ago. New sun umbrellas where there was a porch, but I could still see the shadow of the palm tree.

2 loribeth { 11.27.12 at 8:55 am }

Revisited, I don’t think so. But I have looked up places where my ancestors lived in Scotland & Ireland. In some cases, the buildings are still standing (!) & even when they’re not, you still get a flavour of what the neighbourhood was like. Very cool.

3 a { 11.27.12 at 9:48 am }

I just found that I could get street view on my phone on Google Maps – and that Google Maps is much less annoying than the GPS feature on my phone. It didn’t help me find stuff any better, but I suppose it might someday.

One time, when my MIL was spending the night, we were looking at the town where she was born in Italy. I was very surprised that they had images because it’s such a tiny town. I have looked around places in Chicago, where my grandmother used to live and my mother grew up, where my family lived before I was born, where I used to live.

4 JustMe { 11.27.12 at 2:49 pm }

I like to pre-visit or re-visit a lot. For example, visited Machu Picchu before I went there and then re-visited the entire Inka Trail that we hiked to get there. I also love to visit my favorite little town in Mexico and point out the different places we have stayed.

Oh no…now you’ve made me want to travel!!!

5 Mali { 11.27.12 at 8:52 pm }

I re-visit favourite places I’ve been to, I visit places I’ve never been to but where dear friends live, and I visit places I want to go to. Maps were always a joy to me; when I was growing up we had a huge world map on the kitchen wall, which perhaps explains why I love travelling somuch now.

You’re invited to visit me, in Wellington New Zealand. Fly over us right now – you might be lucky and even see the stars on the red carpet for The Hobbit premiere.

6 Queenie { 11.27.12 at 10:20 pm }

Nope. But tbank you for suggesting a new way for me to procrastinate! 🙂

7 NotTheMama { 11.27.12 at 10:29 pm }

Places I have been… Summer camps, state park campgrounds, etc… And strangely enough, exprong my own little community, seeing where all those trails really lead, and has it been updated since a random friend built xyz in their backyard?
Also a bit disconcerting, as I also know people can peer into my own yard!

8 Lori Lavender Luz { 11.27.12 at 11:25 pm }

Via Google Maps, I’ve been to our home and our school in Aleppo, Syria. I wonder if either are still standing, if they are being used as a refuge, and if we’ll ever be able to go back for reals and show our kids our one-time home.

9 TasIVFer { 11.28.12 at 5:16 pm }

I revisit places all the time on Google Maps. I’ve lived a lot of different lives in different places, and it’s nice to remember them. Sometimes I can recall the smell of the streets, a woman who used to sweep that corner, how there was a cute guy working in the newspaper kiosk there who used to make the hair on the back of my head stand up as I casually walked past. So yeah – Google Maps is great for stalking your past!

10 Tiara { 12.05.12 at 8:12 pm }

I’ve used it to look at places I’ve read about in novels like The Glass House & the town in Kentucky she described living so vividly. I also love to visit my childhood town, the park where I made most of my earliest memories.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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