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At times like this, I wonder about our innate longing for travel. For exploration. For discovery.

In 4th century BC, Pytheas of Massalia became the first person to be recorded describing the Midnight Sun — a natural phenomenon occurring in the summer months in places north of the Arctic Circle, or south of the Antarctic Circle. Interestingly, as geographer and explorer, his accounts of the tides and his suggestion that they were caused by the “phases of the Moon” is one of the earliest recorded.

While Pytheas might have had to travel by horse, or carriage, or by boat out to see, today, we can use GoogleMaps and see for ourselves what lies where. For example, I didn’t need to travel to Kaffeklubben Island, or Coffee Club Island, on Greenland to know it is the northernmost point on land. Nor did I need to traverse to Attu Island, Alaska, to learn it is where the westernmost point on land is. I also learned that though some of these places used to be populated by people, they have now become too isolated for anyone to stay there, and thrive. In the 1880s, for instance, Attu Island used to have a population of over 100 people, but has since 2010 been empty.

I didn’t need to travel to these places, but I sure wish I had. Perhaps, travel, and the love of it, hasn’t been taken away despite GoogleMaps and technology.

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