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As the name implies a gathering trade is where you get to run around and gather items.
There are three different gathering trades in World of Warcraft.
Skinning doesn’t use the minimap - all you need in order to skin is to kill a beast (and a Skinning Knife).
I strongly recommend getting two gathering skills whilst you level your characters. Then later on when you have lots of gold saved you can pick up a crafting trade and drop one of your gathering trades. I say this because I’ve always been a bit low on gold on the characters I’ve levelled with crafting professions or with one crafting and one gathering trade. The last three characters I’ve levelled I levelled with just gathering skills and I had around 350-400g at level 40 – and that was without any time spent specifically on farming – it was just from picking up herbs, Mining or Skinning as I levelled.
The main reason for this approach is that the main gold income from crafting trades comes at the end levels of the profession. This means that you will just be putting out ingredients or breaking even until later in the game and effectively one of your character's tradeskill slots is not gaining you any gold when it could be. Instead just have another gathering profession to make you gold whilst you level and then when you reach the endgame, pick up a crafting trade and powerlevel through it using the gold you have farmed, so you can immediately start making money again.
I’ll mention here that mixing Mining and Herbalism has worked really well for me. It might seem a bit annoying at first because of only being able to “track” either herbs or minerals at a time. I find that if you hotkey the switch between the two and just idly switch whilst you’re running around you get lots of goodies. But it depends whether or not you can be bothered to do so. Otherwise you’ll just have to keep your eyes wide open for the kind you aren’t tracking ^.~ Or alternately go Herbalism/Skinning or Mining/Skinning.