Picture this: a crossword puzzle with, instead of clues to 1 Across, 5 Across, 1 Down, 2 Down, and so on, answers. That’s right – nothing at all for you to work out. All thinking’s been done for you, so you can simply do as directed. No challenge there – and no sense of achievement to reward you.

Exactly like Sat-Nav. And exactly why I don’t want it.

I certainly want to know where I am going – but that’s what maps are for. And how to get there. Maps cover that, too. More to the point, I also want to use my brain. ‘Use it or lose it’, they say, and I believe them.

These days, with lengthy security checks and frequent flight delays, late-running trains and bumper-to-bumper traffic, getting there isn’t always half the fun – or any fun at all. Nevertheless, I still get a kick out of opening the road atlas, and planning a journey by car. If it’s somewhere I’ve been before, I might look for a different route this time: it might or might not be shorter or faster, but there’ll be see new sights to see, new places to be and fresh views to enjoy.

So beat a retreat, TomTom & co! For some of us, planning a trip is almost as life-affirming as making it. Long, short, complex or uncomplicated – and even if we do get lost – we welcome the challenge, so we won’t be handing over the reins anytime soon!


Pat Richardson

About Pat Richardson

I'm a writer and journalist specialising in travel, and now work on a freelance basis, after 16 years as Travel Editor on a weekly women's magazine. The job (and yes, it is the best in the world!) has taken me to nearly 70 countries and hundreds of cities; I've taken numerous cruises, stayed in countless hotels, criss-crossed much of Europe by train, flown with most major airlines and many smaller ones. is based on my personal passion for hotels that were not originally hotels. I'll be blogging about hotels, destinations and travelling - and how to get more from all three. I hope you'll join me.
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