Sunday, February 3, 2008

Maps - 6

You might want to know about places to stay, good restaurants, and sites to visit. Much of what you'll want to know is a matter of opinion rather than fact, but it may be that the opinion is shared widely enough that you treat it as truth for making your choices. Sometimes, however, you'll get conflicting views. In this case you may adopt one for your own based on which comes from the most credible source. Barring the ability to determine credibility, you may be swayed by how well the view is articulated. To get this information you might talk with a friend who has previously taken a similar trip, or visit a travel agent, or buy some travel books, or visit a variety of Web sites. Indeed, you might do some preliminary investigation of this type of information just to determine whether making the trip will be enjoyable.

After having acquired this information you'll be filled with stories about your trip. And if you take the trip you'll modify those stories and come up with new ones based on your own adventures and experiences. The richness of the experience will be remembered via the richness of the story. This too is an important point. Rather than build ever more complex maps to incorporate the detail that makes up this richness, we move from a map framework to a narrative framework to bring in that information. Good narration is full of rich information woven in to make the story compelling. Indeed some of the most famous fiction books are stories about trips. For example, consider The Odyssey, Gulliver's Travels, and Journey to the Center of the Earth, to name but a few.

We've concluded that maps themselves are not sufficient to provide all the information about a trip. Narrative is also needed. But what about the other way around? Is narrative sufficient? Can you tell a good story about travel without reference to a map? What do you think?

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