Thursday, January 10, 2008


Please excuse my absence, but I've traveled the world planning this blog:

See this book? It's going to be a great book. Know how I can tell? Aside from the fact that the dust cover is well loved, it has a map inside the cover. That means it's going to be a really good book.
Even when I was little I felt that way because I have a little , um , well , map fetish. There, I've said it. Now everyone knows. A map fetish. Embarrassing.

I have lots of books with maps in them. I even buy Big Girl books with maps in them. Like this one by Jean Auel.

I have more maps than I can even count. Aside from the National Geographic Atlas of the World, I have maps of our town, neighboring towns, our state, Mexico, France, Paris, England, Scotland, and Germany. I also have a highway guide for Northern California and the UK. Not to mention all those Nautical Charts that we purchased in 1980. Say, there's a story for another time.....

I can sit and look at a map the way normal people look at a magazine. Whenever we are planning a trip somewhere, I run to Flourish & Blotts and purchase a huge map of the area. Then I pour over it, memorizing the cities and planning our route. It usually lays on the dining room table for weeks while I familiarize myself with it. Then when we are actually on the trip it's still my constant companion. Even if we're on a fully escorted tour, I still have the map on my lap, tracking our progress. Here's a photo from my Germany trip - see? - back of the bus, map on lap, candy too. I tell you I'm addicted. To maps and chocolate apparently.

I like everything about maps and associated with maps. I like latitude, longitude, GPS coordinates, compasses, dividers, sextants and parallel rulers. I like finding my way, verifying landmarks, checking off waypoints, arriving at my destination. I like exploring, charting new territory, noting interesting landmarks, seeing new sights. I like atlases, globes, astrolabes, and even sundials. Heck, I even like house plans. In fact my sister faxed me one yesterday because she knows how much I like them. Thanks, sis.

We've had this globe for ages. We've spent many hours looking at it and dreaming of faraway lands. It still has East Germany, so that gives you some idea of its age, but we still use it often.

Check out this nautical chart of Bahia Concepcion in Baja California. Isn't that just beautiful? With simple black lines on paper the artist has created an image of the landscape for you to peruse; to help you find your way; to show you a safe anchorage; to guide your ship. So much valuable information on that sheet of paper: water depth, land elevations, latitude, longitude, place names, compass deviation, navigational aids.

Thank goodness for the mapmakers of this world. By the way, I'm thinking I need a new map. Maybe China?


Mary said...

I need to take you along on my next trip Laura - I love maps but can never follow them to get somewhere - my sense of direction is compromised.

Like you, my son is map crazy - has been since a youngster. Nicest gift he ever gave us is a small globe which rests in an iron stand held up by 3 elephants.

Both he and I worked part time in a fabulous independent travel book shop some years ago - obviously it was a great place for maps.

Nice post - I think you have a great thing going with this interesting hobby.

Pippajo said...

My latest bathroom reading material? The new atlas I bought The Viking for Christmas. I thought I was the only one.

I also like to browse around on Google maps for fun. Was doing that just yesterday, reminiscing about the Cotswolds.

A very interesting hobby indeed.

Larry said... name is Larry (the crowd says 'Hi Larry') and I have a map fetish also...

No, seriously, I do - especially old military type maps.

Once the attic is finished I hope to have an entire section of maps!