Where am I? How did I get here?

“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.”  –– Earl Nightingale

My students ask me questions all of the time.  Some of them are educationally related and some are completely random (i.e. “What is the biggest tomato ever grown?”).  Recently, I had a student ask me where his math book was.  An Excellent Question! I was wondering the same thing.  After looking for a long time, and after a little speech -from me- about responsibility, he gave up his search.  That’s when I told him I knew where it was.  He was overjoyed at this news and then asked again where it was.  My answer:  “Directly Above the Center of the Earth.”  This is a rather sarcastic answer but I quickly followed it up with: “All you have to do is find the same place above the center of the earth, and you’ll have found your math book!”.  Eventually he found it.  It was in his locker.  Believe me, I was just as shocked as you were to find out that a book could be found in a locker.  To prevent further troubles, I asked him to clean out the landfill that he calls his locker.

One challenge all campers face is navigation.  Of course, many have GPS units that call out directions to the driver.  Others have passengers who are like spawning salmon and gifted at navigation -even without a map.  Still other passengers have the navigational ability of a spinach salad.  Yet, it is this last group of passengers who are usually the most enthusiastic and adamant about their directional commands. This may be why so many campers eventually drift into the Florida Everglades and are mercifully eaten by alligators -even if they start their journey in…..Bulgaria….for instance.

As for me, I like the feel of a physical map in my hands.  There is something about that piece of paper with all of the symbols, colors, and charts that draws me.  It is a challenge and the reward is not just arriving at the correct destination but the feeling of accomplishment and pride at conquering a puzzle.  To be honest, the other reason I really like maps is that occasionally I’ll make a wrong choice.  Sometimes, wrong choices lead to the best places.  For instance, while driving from Lands End to Bracknell, England one day.  My navigating passenger -a fellow directionally gifted college student- made a wrong decision.  This decision put us off course but it did lead us to the house of Tori Amos -an unexpected surprise to be sure.  To this day, that part of the trip reminds me of the Crystal Method’s “Vegas” album because we were lost while listening to their music.  All these great memories because we got lost.

Now, let me contradict myself.  I do enjoy an actual map in my hands. Yet, I am a tech geek.  A GPS unit is on my camping wish-list.  Not a TomTom car unit but a hand held unit for camping and exploring the earth beyond the main roads.  Adventure is the purpose of the jPod overland trailer.  Off-road, self-contained, leave-no-trace camping is the main interest here.  As fun as a good road trip can be, it is more fun -for me-, to drive up into the mountains on a dirt trail and camp in the middle of nowhere;  To be where actual nature is and not in a pull through with big diesel pushing RVs.

If you share similar interests, check out: The Bureau of Land Management in the United States.  It is great stuff.  Basically, it is government land that is avaliable for public use.  Campers usually file some papers with the bureau to let them know where they are going to be (generally) so that the government knows where to send the search party (basically).  Then you go and camp for free IN NATURE!  If you are a Walmart boondocker, you may check out the BLM for a more natural experience.

I like the quote at the beginning of this post but I think it can be updated.  Here’s my version: “All you need is the plan, the road map, the courage to USE the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.”

Well, this is the end of some more ramblings from the geek at Overland trailer.  I’ll leave you with a teaser screen shot from the forthcoming film.  I made the earth out of maps so that I can fly through it in 3D on the film.  Here’s a sneak peak at it.

Happy camping!

Leave a Comment