Friday, November 22, 2013
I love travel, I love maps, and I love keeping track of things, so it's no surprise that I've wanted a travel map for years. (Plus, Larry and I have a goal to visit all 50 states, and we're a tiny bit competitive about it.) It's lame that it took me so long to actually follow through with this project, though, especially since I searched and searched for years for an acceptable map and finally bought one in 2011. Yes, I've had this map rolled up in a tube for TWO YEARS. It's finally on the wall, though!
I wanted a map that was simple and modern and found this one on Amazon. It was $1.68 when I bought it two years ago. It's 24x36 and printed on a metallic silver paper. The map does have a few geographic inaccuracies, though. (Where are the Great Lakes? What happened to Michigan???) I'm not sure if this is because it was a $2 map or because it was printed in the U.K. (Evidently, Americans aren't the only ones who suck at geography!)
I had initially wanted to hang the map in a public area in our house, because I think it's a good conversation piece, however, there just weren't any good spots in our living or dining room, so I decided to hang it in our bedroom. This worked out for the better because the metallic paper shows every fingerprint (I wore cotton framer's gloves while framing), and I think our visitors would think it was pretty snotty if we had a "Please don't touch" sign next to it in our living room.
I really wanted the map to look like a frame-worthy piece of art, so I mounted it to adhesive-backed foam core and framed it in a walnut frame (without glass, obviously). I've seen maps mounted to corkboard using pushpins, but this looks wrinkly and sloppy to me, so mounting the map to foam core was important in achieving a smooth and professional appearance. Plus, the foam core works as a backer board for the map pins.
Orange pins | Places I've traveled
Blue pins | Places Larry's traveled
White pins | Places we've traveled together
(For the sake of clarity, I'm only putting one pin per state/country regardless of how many cities we've been to. I would like to get a larger U.S. map someday to pin all the cities we've visited.)
The map was a good reminder of how big the world is and how little of it I've seen. I haven't done anywhere near as much traveling as I'd like - I didn't grow up in a military family (or in a family that traveled anywhere besides New Jersey, really) and I've never had a job that sent me to any interesting places for business, so all of my traveling was for pleasure or school (I studied abroad twice). Larry, on the other hand, has done a lot of business travel and has been to some very interesting places in Asia and Europe, as well as a good amount of domestic travel. Of course, the best trips have been the ones we've taken together. We've done some amazing traveling together in the good ol' USA as well as a couple trips to the Caribbean, but we definitely need to add some white pins to international locations!
And while I wish we could stick pins all over South America, Asia, Australia, and Africa (some day?), I do feel very lucky that I've gotten to experience a (tiny) bit of the world outside of the United States. To put it in perspective, I recently heard that over 50% of Americans have never been outside the U.S.
It's a big big world! Let's go!