Washington Post Features Discovery Map as Google Way-finding Alternative
How about we promise to stay off Google today?
On the first morning of our vacation, I looked up from my phone — and saw my wife on hers.
Before we set off 24 hours earlier, I vowed to go on a tech diet. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve spent an increasing amount time with my phone, laptop and television. Vacation was the chance to scale back and reconnect with the people who matter to me, especially my wife, Sally.
But there we were in our Airbnb in Portland, Maine, Googling away. I wanted to know how to turn on the fancy countertop range. Sally was looking for instructions on using the old-fashioned espresso maker. Google and YouTube had the answers. But did they have to be such a big part of our vacation?
“Hey,” I said, “how about we promise to stay off Google today?”
She looked at me, puzzled.
“Look at us: We’re engrossed in our phones, and we haven’t even had breakfast,” I said. “Let’s just take a vacation from Google for one day and see how it goes.”
We had left Arlington, Va., 24 hours earlier for our first vacation since February 2020. Our goal was to relax and leave our work behind. We stopped in Portland to explore the city and the islands of Casco Bay on our bicycles before heading up the coast to visit friends for eating lobster on docks, unwinding with meandering walks through the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, and sitting in deck chairs overlooking the water.
For the drive, we had Google Maps open all day, watching our projected arrival time get progressively later as we ran into traffic. At the start, our estimated trip time was nine hours and change. All was going well until we hit the Bronx. As traffic slowed, the friendly voice of Google Maps announced that the app was redirecting us because of a traffic jam on Interstate 95. It led us into traffic jams on I-84 instead.
We pulled into our Airbnb 11 hours later, not knowing whether Google’s artificial intelligence led us astray or bailed us out. We still had enough time to eat gourmet hot dogs and sample some Maine beers on the touristy strip along Commercial Street. On the walk home, we struck up a conversation with a jazz musician outside a club where he had just finished a set. We’d missed his show, but he invited us to a weekly session at a kombucha brewery the following afternoon.
In the morning, we left the car behind and rode away on our bicycles. We decided to bike along Casco Bay on the Eastern Promenade and head inland to ride around Back Cove. We had no set plans aside from making the late-afternoon jazz session.
Without Google Maps to guide us, we took a copy of the city's free Discovery Map, which has illustrations of the streets of downtown on one side and of the city's outer perimeter on the other. It identified several stores and restaurants, and we decided to take a detour off the Back COve bike trail to get a snack at one of them, Rosemont Market and Bakery.Keep reading over at the Washington Post >> https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/go...