Mapping Past + Future + Elsewhere (But Not So Much Present)

After the first couple times mapping my weekly routine, I knew the pins I dropped were never going to move very far.  I think the only thing that changed between those first two weeks was that I drove five miles to get a haircut in New Hartford.  I remembered that Nhora had given us some creative license for this project, so I  decided to take full advantage of that opportunity.  Mapping the same points over and over again would have just made me depressed about how small my life is right now.  Instead, I decided to think just a bit more temporally.

I started out with Cuba because it’s topically relevant in this class and I only studied there a year ago.  I felt like it would be fun and productive to think back to my daily routine in Havana and map it out so people could get a glimpse of what it’s like to study/live in Cuba.  From there I went on to map other places I’ve been.  Then I started thinking about the future.  My dad and I are taking a road trip this summer to get to my new job, so I took advantage of my excitement by laying out a possible route.

I got a bit tired of mapping on the past/present/future spectrum, so I decided to look for other ways to utilize Google Maps.  I think the first “non-experiential” map I made was when we were reading Utopia.  I’d describe myself as a Democratic Socialist, so this book got me thinking about countries that are doing better than the United States at enacting progressive legislation.  I used the World Progress Index to find the countries I was looking for.

Looking back at this project, I’m fascinated by the fact that I was always trying to map some other place or some other time.  I think it shows that even if I’m enjoying the present, it’s always fun to look behind or ahead, or simply somewhere else.  I was still really impressed with people in the class who remained faithful to recording every week at Hamilton.  There’s certainly value in marking and analyzing the nuances of our daily lives; small things can make a big difference.  I guess it’s just a bit harder for me to be patient in waiting for those subtle nuances to develop.

2 Replies to “Mapping Past + Future + Elsewhere (But Not So Much Present)”

  1. I love your ideas here about mapping politically. The idea of identifying places by political ideology or political system is a fascinating one. Though “political maps” show cities and country borders, they show little of political system other than anything given in country names. For example: The Democratic Republic of Congo, or the United Kingdom. Even so, these names can be misleading, as the United “Kingdom” is a parliamentary system and the queen little more than a figurehead. I think that these are some interesting ideas.

  2. I did a similar thing for a few weeks during this project, and it was definitely more fun. I guess I ended up liking to track what I did every week, oddly enough, but looking back I think that taking a more open-minded approach like you did would have been awesome. It’s so cool that you mapped your weeks like that!

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