136: You Are Here
Aug 6, 1999
Three stories, three people, and three sets of maps. Stories of people trying to figure out where they are in the world in the most literal and least literal ways possible. We explore what it's like to be lost—how we all struggle in that moment not to give ourselves over to fear but try to enjoy it.
- Amy McGuiness flies tourists to the North Pole who pay thousands of dollars for the privilege. When you get to the Pole, it looks exactly like all the other ice you've been staring at for hours. The tourists climb out of the plane and they take pictures. In addition, most people now spend time looking at Global Positioning Devices, which tell them, yes, this is in fact the North Pole. (4 minutes)
- John Bowe decided to visit a friend of his who was in the peace corp in Mali, in West Africa. But he chose the most difficult possible route to get there. He decided to hitchhike across the Sahara desert using a 1,000-mile-long remote route that most hitchhikers avoid. He purchased no special gear and carried a small bag filled mostly with books, a change of clothes and one Michelin map. But the map was used to literally get him off the grid. (19 minutes)
- It can be frightening to get lost, but what if you could adapt the thrill of being lost, the pleasure of being lost, to safe parameters? Just get a little lost. Is it even possible? Or is that playing with fire, where you're sure to get burned? Writer David Sedaris has these thoughts. (14 minutes).
- Nicole Graev, an assistant to the editor at a publishing house, needs to know if her job as an assistant is actually an educational career step or a waste of time. The things she's been doing as an assistant—answering phones, faxing—is entirely different than the skills she needs for the job she really wants: her boss's. She talks to several people who've held the job before her to see if they can help her figure out where she is on the map of her life. (16 minutes)