Book review: ‘Paper Maps, No Apps’ |

Book review: ‘Paper Maps, No Apps’

Lex Rodgers
Special to the Daily

Book release and signing

What: “Paper Maps, No Apps” by Johnny Welsh

When: 4–7 p.m. on Sunday, June 23

Where: Next Page Books and Nosh, 409 E. Main St., Frisco

“Google, route me to Mexico.” Nope, not this time. Can you think of a road trip as a child with your parents — dad fumbling with a map that’s been folded hundreds of times over and mom circling a finger over red and blue lines, daring to say he made a wrong turn? It might have been stressful then, and we all laud where technology has brought us today. Not only are you getting to your destination without making any wrong turns, but you know exactly when you’ll get there, what the traffic is like and if there’s a police officer behind that blind curve with a speed gun pointed out of his window. But you’ll probably be too glued to your phone and miss that detail.

Local author (and tender of bar) Johnny Welsh decided to look up from that mesmerizing world of “likes” and “hashtags” to go back to a time when we really connected with each other. Looked at each other. Spoke with words and not acronyms. What are we really missing out on when we’re stuck in a digital vortex of seemingly perfect things and instant connections? What’s so wrong with having just memories of what you did with your friends last Friday night instead of hard documentation?

“Paper Maps, No Apps” follows Welsh and girlfriend Kristy on a near two-week roadtrip from Frisco to Mexico and back without any electronics — save for a few business and safety-related uses — to find the answers. All along their journey they find unexpected hidden gems that you would only know about through word of mouth, reconnect with friends from the past and meet up with current friends in new places — all things that were planned ahead of time. Directions are written on paper napkins and you actually have to walk into a hotel to find out a price for the night. Does this freak you out, or take you back to a simpler time? Welsh finds that when you aren’t staring at a screen, you actually have to entertain yourself and make conversation with the person next to you, and it is comforting, delightful and exciting in its own way.

Through their journey you’ll: laugh at inside jokes you’re not a part of, constantly think “Hmmm. I do that a lot,” laugh again at their shenanigans, rethink your life, wish you were on a beach with a cold beer, think about great times you’ve had with friends and find comfort in the fact that there aren’t any photos, have the urge to travel, laugh some more and maybe even revel in the fact that you and the author have some shared experiences. (Trying to look innocent while the Mexican military searches your car at random checkpoints!)

We all know that the world we live in is more connected than ever, and more disconnected than ever. Put that phone down, look at your friend, talk about your day, read a book and take a break. Tips, jokes, twisted topics and a quiz included in “Paper Maps” help you along on your own journey out of zombieland.

Welsh invites readers to find him at Greco’s Pastaria or 5th Avenue Grille in Frisco if they ever want to have a discussion. He will be having a book release and signing party at the Next Page Books and Nosh on Sunday. Welsh is also the author of “Weedgalized: True Tales from the High Country.” For more information or to share your own experiences, visit

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