Maps, globes and atlases …
I have just come to the conclusion while jotting down some ideas for this post that I am actually a bit obsessed with anything to do with a map, particularly the map of the world.
I currently have two globes at home, and you would think that just one is enough for any person.
I also used to have one on my desk when I worked for a Japanese Bank in London and found myself at times staring at it wondering where to go to next in the world.
I left that one in the office so that someone else can start planning their dream escape.
Not satisfied with keeping this fixation to myself I have inflicted it on others, and I think they have just all been too polite to tell me to ‘let it go’.
I have bought a globe for my parents, my brother and one of my nephews. The other is too young, so I got him a floor jigsaw puzzle of the world.
There is just something about a globe that is so tactile and fascinating.
But it isn’t just a globe
Thinking back to my childhood, I remember my parents moving into an old Victorian house on the Isle of Wight. We cleared out the loft, and there was an old map folded up which looked like it came from an old board game.
Looking back now I remember that I often kept looking at it as the years went by. I have never been one for throwing things out, and do you know I think I still have it to this day.
Then there’s the atlas
Once again, I remember having one as a child and then progressed to an adult edition. But now I found myself with 3 or 4, all different sizes from a ‘large pocket’ size to one that the British Library would be proud of.
What is it with me?
Not to be content with filling up my shelves, I have also progressed to my walls. About ten years ago, I came across the artist Justine Smith. Justine has produced some fascinating maps for different parts of the world, most of which have been fashioned by using the bank notes from the country which she was mapping.
I couldn’t resist it; I fell in love her World Money Map. This was to be limited to 100 signed copies, so with some gentle persuasion, I convinced Gary to shoehorn a 136cm x 86cm framed print into the back of our small hatchback.
Now waiting to be framed is our world ‘scratch map’, I bought it for Gary as a Christmas present. Surely, he is under no illusion that it was for me really.
Staring out to sea
While we were in Namibia, we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn south and then again north, which is something you don’t often get the chance to do.
But what fascinated me while in this lovely country was how far south we were in the world. We stared out to sea from the Skeleton coast at Swakopmund, to wonder where our eyes would lead us to. We weren’t too sure, but when we checked out a map, we were parallel with southern Brazil, amazing.
Now getting back to that globe
I have since come across the ultimate Globe makers in London, Bellerby and Co. I saw a short documentary about them a few years ago, and the love and dedication that they apply to their craft are amazing.
I found the clip on YouTube.
These guys make their globes for the rich and famous; I think I will stick to my trusty companions that I have cared for over the years.
Travel books, mags and more
It now seems that in my more recent years that this fascination, has now also transferred to travel books and magazines.
I don’t even want to let on to you how many I have of these, needless to say, more bookshelves are required.
And of course I need to store all my travel souvenir tickets & business cards somewhere.
Locked in overnight
Now if there were any shop I wouldn’t mind being locked into overnight, it has to be Stanfords in Covent Garden. The World’s biggest map and travel bookstore, oh and they stock globes.
For over 160 years, explorers, travellers and adventurers have looked to Stanfords to get them where they need to go, and back again.
Edward Stanford set up as a map seller in 1853, he started off on the Strand and then opened a map shop on Cockspur Street, but before long he had to expand, ultimately moving to Covent Garden on Long Acre, where they have been since 1901.
If you are like me and love a map or travel book, go and give them a visit, you’ll be lost for hours.
Inspired by Maps?
Does the a map tempt you? are you one to stick a pin in and see where fate takes you?
(Why not Pin It for Later?)