Escapes: Traveling Without A Map

070209venice-01.jpgA friend from college found me on facebook recently so I decided to go over to his photo page to see what he's been up to. I was pleasantly surprised to find photos from our group trip to Europe. Even though the photos had been scanned in and were grainy in quality, I was flooded with memories from my first trip out of the country. The event that I recall most fondly from the entire month-long trip is when the group decided to explore Venice without the use of a map...

To us, it was much more of an adventure to discover the city on our own (plus we didn't have to look like tourists wielding a unruly foldout map). Sure, we got lost a few times but overall I found the experience to be both exciting and rewarding. I did the same thing two years ago when I traveled to Barcelona. While I did use a guide and map the first few days, the remainder of the trip was mine to determine. Walking down cobblestone streets and uncovering spots without the help of a map felt empowering. I was surprised to travel overseas only to discover the value of "getting lost."

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(Image: Flickr member markcbrennan licensed for use under Creative Commons)