The Wandering Map “Not all those who wander are lost…”

The Wandering Map“Not all those who wander are lost…”
J. R. R. Tolkein, The Fellowship of the Ring

Purpose: Wandering maps are a brainstorming activity to help identify possible points of connection you may not have consciously put together. These maps can help you identify themes that are prevalent in your experiences, ideas that are important to you, or even whole fields of work that you may not have previously considered. Just as we did a wandering map in class pertaining to how you came to be in your specific major, now you’re going to do an even broader look at your life (and the people, things and experiences in it) to find connections that will help you make future decisions.
Instructions: Get a piece of blank paper, poster board, scrapbooking paper, or anything else you would like to use, if you want to be more creative. Put your name in the center of the paper and circle it. Now, think about all the things that are important to you or have influenced you in some way and start putting them on the paper. Later, see if you can draw lines to connect with themes and patterns that begin to emerge. The end result is possibly going to look very scattered and random. But the value is in the chaos! If you’re having difficulty getting started, consider starting with some of the categories and themes below and make a list that you can transfer to the paper later.
Categories and Themes:
Here are some themes you may want to work with to help stimulate your creativity. You’re not limited to these, of course!
Classes Work Experiences Family
Hobbies Objects Travel
Personality Traits People Others?

Evaluation: The more points the better! Good maps will use a variety of topics, even if they do not all connect in some way. Don’t forget to make your themes obvious. The map is not complete just because you have points on it – you have to make sense of those points in some way. See me if you need to see examples.

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