I prefer spontaneity to itineraries, and maps to apps. I’d rather spend an afternoon in nature and a night under the stars, over an afternoon at the mall and a night under club lights. My car always has a change of clothes, hiking boots and an umbrella in it – just in case. My iPod will forever be set to play on shuffle.
There is no denying it, I am a wanderer at heart.
There are two distinct and deliberate things I do whenever and wherever I travel. One, I grab a map of the local area. Maps just speak to me. As someone who is a kinesthetic learner who likes to defy convention and is just an old soul in general, there is something so tangible and exciting about a paper map to me. The anticipation that builds as a result of unfolding a map to gaze at the spaces to be explored is one of my favourite feelings.
Two, I take said map to my bartender, taxi driver, the guy behind the desk at my hostel, even the lady waiting in line for coffee behind me, and ask them for their personal recommendations. Soon there are circles and arrows, scribbles and notes decorating the page and the possibilities of adventure are laid out before me.
You see, I have this theory that locals know best. They are privy to information that most maps don’t outline. Whether it’s a secluded swimming hole, the perfect lookout to catch the sunset or which restaurant has the best eggs benny, there is this level of insight that can only be achieved by experiencing it firsthand.
With map in one hand, iPhone in the other, I set off wandering from dot to dot on the map.
And to be honest, sometimes, the most memorable moments are the ones that happen between the dots on the map.
Those unexpected moments that make you feel something, that take you outside of your comfort zone, that alter your path moving forward – those are the ones that leave a lasting impression. Those are the moments that allow you to discover something about yourself, possibly even your inner wanderer.
This summer, I’m heading out to explore every inch of the Ontario’s Highlands map; the big destination dots, the thin backroad lines, the bright blue waterways and the huge green open spaces. No itineraries, just authentic moments.
Each #WanderingWednesday, I will set out with one goal in mind, to help others discover their ‘inner wanderer’. Along the way, I’ll be sharing my adventures live and in real time! Follow along on Instagram and Facebook, you just never know what wandering moments I’ll uncover between the dots on the map.