Walk With a Map

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Whenever I travel, I browse through my fun book, 52 Ways to Walk, to see if I can find one that works with my trip. So far, I always have.

On my recent trip to Savannah, Georgia, I selected number 24, Walk With a Map. With my illustrated map of historical downtown Savannah packed in my carry on, I looked forward to carrying out this activity.

Check out why using a map in an unfamiliar area is actually beneficial!

Walk with a Map title

Imagining a Place

In her book, author Annabel Streets tells the story of a young woman who finds herself homeless in Paris in 1924, after her brother disappears. Phyllis Pearsall quickly learns how to navigate the city, even though the only map she possesses is one she memorized. Covered with newspapers at night, camped under a bridge, Phyllis pulls up that mental map and practices finding her way around Paris.

As she explores, she learns landmarks and comes to recognize what time of  day it is by the scents she sniffs in the air. Baking bread and hot chocolate mean it is still morning. Chicken and galettes signal midday. And frying fish, garlic and meat cooking mean evening has arrived.

Phyllis eventually becomes one of the most successful mapmakers in the world. She creates the first A – Z map of London and then the Geographer’s A – Z Map Company.

She is a testament to what neuroscientists have now learned: every walk is an opportunity to grow the brain.

Walk with a Map study
Walk with a Map – studying mine every evening at the hotel.

How Walking With a Map Boosts the Brain

Neuroscientists suggest that the hippocampus, the part of the brain used for navigation, grows as we use it and shrinks in size when we don’t.

Studies of London cabdrivers, who must learn to navigate that huge city, have oversized hippocampi, due to their skills in finding their way through London.

Sadly, technology today takes away our ability to navigate by landmarks or maps. It’s too easy to pull up GPS to find our way to an unfamiliar destination.

Our reliance on technology is shrinking essential parts of our brains, making us more prone to dementia. How can we keep our brains more healthy?

Walk with a map. The hippocampus stores place memories. In a new location, we begin to create spatial memories that are stored in special cells. We create a brand new mental map as we walk and gather information.

Additionally, researchers found that the region of the brain responsible for spatial navigation also plays a part in prediction, imagination and creativity. It also helps with social navigation and building relationships.

Walk with a map landmarks
Walk with a map – landmarks such as City Hall in Savannah helped me build my mental map of the city.

Tips for Walking with a Map

In a new to you location, start with a general idea of your destination, without setting a time limit on getting there. Cities are good because they offer multiple ways to get to a place.

Study the map of the area before beginning the walk. Note the direction you’ll travel and try to stay away from overly busy highways or freeways.

As you walk, identify landmarks such as tall buildings, large trees, church steeples and anything that catches your attention because of interests you have. Using landmarks to navigate is known as landmark-based piloting.

And finally, use your senses. What do you hear as you walk? A chiming clock in a tower is good or the smell of bread baking in the corner bakery. Refer to your map to mark where those sounds or smells are and let those places serve as locational markers.

Pause as needed to get your bearings. Sit in a park, and remember that park as a marker. Study the map. Resist the urge to pull up GPS.

Once you find your destination, congratulate yourself! Well done. Now….see if you can find your way back to your hotel…or to another destination in the city.

Walk with a Map presbyterian church
Walk with a Map – church steeples make excellent visual markers.

My Experience on my Walk with a Map

I love the illustrated maps from Karpovage Creative. I have one for Charleston and Savannah and I’ve used them in both cities. One of the reasons I appreciate them is because they have historical buildings and locations marked on the map. That helps me find those visual markers more easily.

Every evening, I studied my map and made notes about what I wanted to explore the next day. It became a nightly ritual that I enjoyed as I sipped a cup of hot tea.

One of my planned activities was to find all 22 squares in Savannah’s historical district. They are laid out in a grid, so once you find one, you can figure out where the next one is.

However, more than once, I wandered away from the square I’d located. After realizing I had no idea exactly where I was, I’d pull out the map and study it to head in the right direction for the next square. I found them all.

The map also helped me get an idea of where the restaurants were that I wanted to try and how far the walk was to the meeting place for the ghost tour.

Walk with a Map pulaski square
One of the squares I located, Pulaski Square.

My Mental Map of Savannah

After spending five days in Savannah, and using my map as needed, I feel like I have a very good mental map of Savannah. Landmarks such as City Hall near River Street, Johnson Square, the Cathedral Basilica of St John and the Mercer House all became visual markers that helped me navigate. I knew I was headed in the direction of the river when I heard the barges or the cry of seagulls. And I could tell about what time it was by the trolleys going by and the delicious scents wafting from restaurants. I hope that means I came home with a bigger brain!

If walking provides an important form of exercise and relaxation for you, then 52 Ways to Walk is for you!

The activities are so varied and the information in each chapter is well presented and motivational.

I appreciate that the book contains a full year of weekly walks. You can read about my first walk from the book HERE. And Take a 12 Minute Walk at this LINK.

Pick up your copy of 52 Ways to Walk. And tell me. Do you enjoy walking with a map?

Walk with a Map mercer house
Walk with a Map – Mercer House

Interested in Savannah?

Check out these posts:

Vegan Eats in Savannah

Fun Things to Do in Savannah

Ghost Stories from Savannah


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.


Vegan Eats in Savannah

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

For most travelers, enjoying the local cuisine is an important part of the travel experience. It is for me as well. However as one who lives a plant based lifestyle, I carefully research restaurants and cafes before I travel, for vegan options.

My research pays off. I travel with a list of possible eateries in the area.

Even southern cities like Charleston or Savannah, famous for comfort food, offer plant based options.

Check out these vegan eats in Savannah for your next trip to the city, if healthier eating is important to you.

Vegan Eats in Savannah title

Vegan Eats in Savannah

All of these restaurants are in Savannah’s historic district and very walkable if your accommodations are there as well. I stayed at Indigo Hotel and walked to all of these locations.

Most of these eateries are not specifically vegan, however they do offer vegan and vegetarian options.

Here are my top five favorites plus a list of other possible restaurants on my list.

Olympia Cafe

My first meal in Savannah took place at this restaurant near the river. Located only blocks from my hotel, it was perfect after a day of travel.

Located at 5 East River Street, Olympia is a cheerful Greek cafe serving authentic fare. Their food is prepared from scratch daily and they offer entrees such as Mousaka, Dolmades, Pastisio and Spanikopita.

They do offer a variety of healthier options as well. Browse the menu or ask your server for suggestions.

I enjoyed fries and a falafel wrap with fresh veggies, no cheese. It was delicious!

Vegan Eats in Savannah olympia cafe
Vegan Eats in Savannah – Olympia Cafe
Vegan Eats in Savannah olympia meal
Olympia Cafe falafel wrap with fries.

Kayak Kafe

This cafe at 1 E Broughton Street is a locally owned casual restaurant in the heart of the historic district. They specialize in freshly prepared salads, sandwiches, tacos and plant based cuisine.

Kayak Kafe serves locally sourced foods and use organic produce as much as possible. They also offer quality cocktails.

Whether you stop by for lunch, dinner or a drink, you’ll enjoy Kayak Kafe’s outdoor dining. The location is perfect for appreciating views of the city or people watching.

I love their vegan taco salad! It was so filling that I took half of it back to the refrigerator in my hotel room.

Vegan Eats in Savannah kayak kafe meal
Vegan Eats in Savannah – vegan taco salad at Kayak Kafe.

The Olde Pink House

I chose this restaurant, even though their healthier options are limited, because it’s one of the most famous in Savannah.

Located at 23 Abercorn Street, this restored Colonial mansion houses an elegant restaurant on the upper floors and a fun pub style tavern in the basement. The Olde Pink House serves up Southern cuisine and lots of charm. The wait staff is amazing and happy to share the history of the building, the oldest house in Savannah. Because of its popularity, you must make a reservation.

I made my reservation HERE before I traveled. Seated near a window in the spacious ballroom, I savored a vegan burger with avocado, served up with an order of crispy onions. After my meal, I toured the rest of the house, which is reportedly haunted, and the tavern in the basement, where, according to my server, most of the ghosts hang out! (Read Ghost Stories from Savannah!)

Vegan Eats in Savannah - the olde pink house
Vegan Eats in Savannah – The Olde Pink House
Vegan Eats in Savannah the olde pink house meal
The Olde Pink House vegan burger

b. matthew’s eatery

This classy, updated vintage space, at 325 E Bay Street, was a planned stopped for dinner, right before a scheduled evening ghost tour.

Their cozy interior offered a welcomed space to sit, after a full day of exploring, and eat a leisurely meal before my tour.

b. matthew’s eatery serves classic and new American fare for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner in the historic district near the river.

I ordered their vegan Summer Risotto, loaded with veggies. It was perfection!

Vegan Eats in Savannah b matthews eatery
Vegan Eats in Savannah – b. matthew’s eatery
Vegan Eats in Savannah b matthews eatery meal
b. matthew’s eatery vegan risotto.

Flying Monk Noodle Bar

My last full day in Savannah ended with a delicious dinner here at this Asian restaurant located at 5 W Broughton Street.

I LOVE noodles and Flying Monk did not disappoint.

Pho and other Asian noddle dishes are offered in this trendy storefront eatery with outdoor seating available as well.

I had the veggie Singapore Noodles, a gluten free and vegan meal. And I lingered over it because it was so good.

Vegan Eats in Savannah flying monk noodle bar
Vegan Eats in Savannah – Flying Monk Noodle Bar
Vegan Eats in Savannah flying monk meal
Noodles at Flying Monk.

Other Vegan Eats in Savannah

Here is a list of other restaurants in Savannah that offer healthier meal options:

Fox & Fig  321 Habersham Street

Naan on Broughton  114 E Broughton

Hungry Vegan  2 E Lathrop

The Sentient Bean  13 E Park

Namaste Savannah  8 E Broughton

Henny Penny  1514 Bull Street

The Vault Kitchen and Market  2112 Bull Street

Java Burrito Company  420 E Broughton

I didn’t have time to eat at all of these restaurants. That gives me an excellent reason to return to this beautiful city!

Have you visited Savannah? What was your favorite restaurant?

Sidewalk dining
Sidewalk dining at Kayak Kafe.


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.