Where I spend my time

     Where I spend my time

The map you’re looking at might seem like a simple map, but it tells a personal story. It literally pinpoints where I spend my time, which despite being spent on two different continents, is still constricted to a few designated areas. Brooklyn, Manhattan, Oslo, my hometown of Fredrikstad, and the obligatory shopping trip to Sweden. This is what my life has narrowed down to. I visit airports frequently, but I only ever travel between two points and these two points on the map of the world also represents where I live my internal life.

Having lived outside of Norway for the past thirteen years now, I have realized that I live in two different realities at once. Regardless of where I am physically, the two pinpoints and their countries and their people coexist in my mind simultaneously. I am always here and there.

To immigrate is a wonderful, exciting, twisting, heart wrenching experience. You are constantly forced to reevaluate your values and conceptions of the world around you and your identity goes through multiple changes. As in my case you end up neither here nor there. Or rather, as the headline of my map shows, I have landed in myself, somewhere in between, midway through the Atlantic Ocean.

I used the ArcGIS Story Maps which was fairly easy to use. Some of the features were a bit tricky to use so I opted for using the 3D Paint feature on my laptop’s photo software for editing the features I wanted, such as text descriptions.

One issue I had with ArcGIS is the same as I have with most other digital platforms. Put simply: the requirement to give up your privacy in order to utilize the software. It seems to me that pretty much any online program requires you to give access to images in addition to forcing you to publish your work in order for you, the creator, to get access to the final product you yourself has created. This drives me nuts, to the point where I’m mentally tempted to withdraw all my cash from my bank account and rent a cabin upstate with no internet access where I cannot be found. It does indeed seem contradictory then that I have chosen to create a very personal visualization but as all the topics I wanted to map had been done I simply decided to map myself. Having to yet again relinquish my privacy did make me hesitant to use my own life for the project, but I also think it’s a shame not to be able to use personal themes for such an analysis because it can bring clarity and truth to the person exploring their own experience. In the end I decided not to use photos due to the public requirement and come to think of it, once this post is posted to the Commons blog the information can be found outside of our classroom as well! But too late to change the subject now! So, welcome to my life, take a look, snoop around. And be kind.