I loved the recent Chronicle of Higher Education article The World Beyond MapQuest in which Regina Robbins Flynn, assistant professor of English at Salem State College, begins with this illustration.
My older daughter was traveling back to grad school with her car last January, and we had MapQuested her trip from our home in Massachusetts to Pittsburgh, a journey of more than 600 miles, or 10 hours and 20 minutes without stops.
And you’ve probably already guessed that Flynn’s daughter gets lost. Turns out that she goes astray not far from where I live in South Central PA. Would you believe that Flynn teaches a spring semester travel writing course — nice transition ;-)
Each of the students has to take a trip during spring break and write a long travel essay as his or her final assignment. Some of the kids take the college-sponsored trips, others concoct their own.
The stories from her class abound. How about you? Do you have memorable travel stories of first finding your way to a new campus or conference? On what do you depend for directions? Is it only the older generation which use paper road maps?
As one who visits a number of campuses for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, I have quite a few wrong turns to report. But for me two items particularly come to mind regarding my campus travels through the years:
- How much stuff I packed into the car as a first year student. … AND my collection of books has only continued to go with each subsequent move!
- The challenge of campus parking. A few weeks ago, I visited a campus where my typical visitor parking location was under construction. I circled the block and parked in an unmarked lot which appeared to be open to visitors. No ticket, good news ;-) Not sure if I’ll use that lot again. I’ll have to ask again.