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Navigator v TomTom

Posted by on 3 July, 2012

I love maps! At school I loved Geography! As an adult I love to travel and explore the places on th map!

The word travel is a verb, which I believe the dictionary would advise means something like ‘to move from one place to another’….but the act of travelling can be something much more…whether you move from one place to another on foot, bicycle, motorcycle, car, bus, sail boat, cruise ship, train, plane or hot air balloon, when you travel you have the opportunity to see, hear, smell, taste, feel and sense with that sixth sense that we don’t have a name for. Experiencing the sensations of wonder, excitement, anxiety, fear, thrill, joy, sadness and awe can be overwhelming sometimes and at other times you just need some time of normality to let you mind relax and reset.

Today, we are travelling from Lausanne to Winterthur in Switzerland. At the moment we are on the motorway and I am blogging as a way of letting my mind have a break…glancing at the scenary occassionally, but trying not to watch the road for a while as the anxiety caused by being on the right side of the car, but being in the passenger seat is still fairly disturbing… Also, it is raining today so visibility is not great and the mountains in the distance are on partially visible under the clouds.

About 45minutes out of Lausanne we stopped at the small village of Avenches. Peter recommended it as there are some ancient Roman buildings there. We saw the ruins of a 200AD Roman Theatre which in it’s day seated 9000 people…we then went into the ancient Roman Ampitheatre which surprisingly was in the process of being set up for a performance of La Boheme…it was interesting to see the mix of old and new, with part of the seating area in it’s original form and the remainder modified to include hundreds of plastic seat. I have mixed opinion on the modifications…but I truely see the benefit of using what would have once been a magnificent structure for the arts about 1000 years ago…letting the people of today enjoy the experience of hearing the natural amplification and seeing the performance out in the open…

Travelling with children can be rewarding and trying…today was no exception. Amanda has been away from home with us now for 8 days. When I talk to her about the day and our travels, she is almost always excited and happy to see the sights and taste the food, however not always so keen to smell the scents (particularly food markets with fish…fair enough)…the other part that she doesn’t express much excitement about is ‘the drive’. I can completely understand that driving along a motorway with high embankments on each side, going through tunnel after tunnel and driving at n ight are really not the most exciting parts…but when we are on the road in the daytime, with new scenery coming into view constantly, I do try to get her involved in conversation about what is outside the car…particulrly something that is not on the little screen of a Nintendo DS3… This trip I have noticed that Amanda is a lot more involved and less ‘tired’ when she has ‘the map’…

Now, to make an 11 year old the navigator on our journey through Europe is not something I can do really, however, by giving her the map and asking her to locate where on the map we are; giving her a compass to work out which way we are going and then working out which towns we will go through or bypass to get to our next stop has proven effective. It is not realistic to expect children to be as fascinated by the environment around them as I am…but it was great to her Amanda explain”oh, wow!” when she saw the waterfalls pouring off the sides of the mountains in the village of Lauterbrunnen up in the mountains of Switzerland. She then walked happily through the village in the pouring rain; ate her lunch and even some of Dave’s sweet potato soup, which at home she would not have touched….woohoo!

I will not hold my breath, but hopefully this is a sign of things to come….a few more years though before I think we can travel Europe with our Navigator instead of a TomTom!

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