Regardless of whether you live in a major city, a spacious suburb or a rural area, your day-to-day world has likely shrunk significantly thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most people are no longer commuting to jobs, doing school drop-offs or meeting friends at their favourite bar or restaurant. Our lives now centre on our homes and the few nearby places we rely on for supplies—and maybe a nearby park or your backyard or somewhere else you can get outside for some fresh air and exercise. The point is, your quarantine existence is probably far more geographically contained than your everyday life was two months ago. It’s time to map it.
About a month ago, CityLab asked its readers to make and then submit handmade maps of their lives during the coronavirus lockdown. Here is their original prompt:
We’re inviting readers to draw a map of your life, community, or broader world as you experience it under coronavirus. Your map can be as straightforward or subjective as you wish. You might show key destinations, beloved neighbours, a new daily routine, the people or restaurants you miss, the future city you hope to see, or anything else that’s become important to you right now. It might even be a map of your indoor life. For an added challenge, try drawing from memory.
Don’t be intimidated: You do not need training as a cartographer to make these maps. In fact, it would make a great family quarantine activity, and provide interesting insights into how your kids are conceptualizing their time at home. All you need is some paper and something to write or draw with. If you really want to get fancy, you can dig out some markers or even paints. Be as simple or artsy as you want.
Not only will it give you something to do while you’re stuck at home besides scrolling through your Netflix queue, it can also serve as the visual equivalent of your pandemic journal: a visual record of your actions, thoughts and perspective on this very strange time. Take a photo or scan the maps when you’re done with them to ensure they don’t get lost in your next quarantine cleaning frenzy and can safely take their place as a part of your family’s history. (Imagine if you had something like this from family members who lived through the Great Depression or World War II!) Sharing them on social media will likely prompt your friends to get involved, too, and we’re all about taking these disparate moments of connection where we can get them right now.