Yup, you're absolutely right. Most of the travel between towns is straightforward, but opportunities to explore open up later in the game. Much of the exploration before then is done within towns and dungeons.
comment=41927 Just a nit-pick, but darker water is usually associated with deeper water. You flipped that with you map, and have the shores darker (deeper looking) than the lighter seas(shallow looking).
Sorry about that. That's a direct result in the tileset rendering at 1/8th, so that it could be screencapped for this image. The in-game graphics actually have the coastal areas as lighter and the deep sea as darker, rather than as bright blue and gray (respectively).