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Mapping Your World Travels – Personalized World Traveler Map Giveaway

Submitted by on August 1, 2012 – 7:15 pm 62 Comments |  

GeoCurrents is giving away one of these beautiful traveler’s maps, framed in mahogany and personalized with a brass plaque. They are made by

Travel is unquestionably one of the best ways to learn geography. Over my 25 years of college teaching, I have no doubt surprised many of my students—and distressed more than a few of their parents—by advising them to travel around the world, or at least to wander aimlessly for a spell in some distant destination, before heading off to graduate school or signing up for a job. Few actually do, but many, I suspect, eventually come to regret that decision. Later in life, obligations build up and schedules fill in, making the kind of leisurely, exploratory travel that pays the highest educational dividends a greater challenge. I have certainly never doubted my own decision to spend six months between college and graduate school traveling widely, without an itinerary, through Southeast Asia. I may have had the worst of times during that period, but I also had the best of times—-and I learned innumerable invaluable lessons about peoples, places, and life in general. As a result, I am disappointed that so few of my students opt for prolonged travel on a shoestring budget. In northern and much of central Europe, the wanderjahr is a much more firmly established tradition, and I think that the Germans and others who partake of such adventures benefit enormously from their experiences.

But if travel is to yield its full potential geographical benefits, it should be thoroughly mapped. Aimless wandering can be wonderful, but it is always best to know where you are and to seek to understand how the different places that you visit or pass through fit together. Otherwise, specific locales often tend to blur together over time, reducing the educational benefits. I thus advise any would-be world travelers to always journey with a map in hand, and to retrace their steps on return, ideally by literally marking them out on a map of the appropriate scale. Such a marked map can prove very handy when one reminisces about one’s trips, reexamines old photographs, or even reads the news from the places visited. Plotting out past travels can also be highly useful for planning further adventures; if you can immediately see where you have been, it is easier to figure out where you should go next.

Although rough-and-ready maps of past travels can be made on an ad hoc basis, there is much to be said for using products specifically designed for this purpose, especially if such maps are to be exhibited on a wall for all to see. As I also never tire of telling my students, a well-designed map should both convey information and provide aesthetic satisfaction. For those of us enthralled by geography, a good map is a thing of beauty as much as it is a mere depiction of data.

One firm,, specializes precisely in providing such handsome and markable maps suitable for hanging on any wall. MapYourTravels has devised its own system for recording where you have been, where you are planning to go, and where you dream of visiting. GeoCurrents is therefore pleased to begin running banners for the company on our website, which you will now see adorning the sidebar. In conjunction with the new banners, we are also happy to announce a contest for our readers, one that will allow the winner to receive a free world traveler wall map from MapYourTravels, complete with a personalized brass plaque that adorns the lower left corner. In so doing, we hope to raise awareness on the internet of both GeoCurrents and MapYourTravels, in addition to encouraging the more general practice of geographically aware travel and exploration.

How To Enter

Interested readers can earn up to 18 entries into the contest by interacting in various ways with the GeoCurrents website and social media outlets, and by sharing this contest with others. To get started, simply sign in to the contest widget below via your email (only used to notify you if you win) or through Facebook. Then click the “Do It” buttons on the tasks you would like to perform to earn their corresponding number of entries.

When the contest ends at midnight of August 31st UTC−05:00, we will draw the winner from amongst the recorded entries, announce the winner here on GeoCurrents, and then award our winner with the Personalized World Traveler Map!

Winner’s Tip: “Tweet about the Giveaway” is the only entry option that can be done once per day. Rack up the most entries by returning each day to tweet about the contest again.

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  • Minutus

    I would like to visit Merikarvia, Finland, because my wife and her sister own a tiny island with a fisherman’s cottage kesämökki, or summer place. They’re selling it and we’ve not been there in 20 years due to being on this side of the Atlantic. We’d like to see it one last time.

    • I hope you make it to the fisherman’s cottage Minutus. I hope to go to Finland too one day.

  • I would love to visit the Galapagos Islands. I have been lucky to travel all over the world with my boyfriend (an evolutionary biologist) but have never made it to his favorite place! One day, I hope to surprise him with a trip 🙂

    • It’s a great place to visit, I hear. Not easy to get to. Anyway, good luck with your travels and with winning this contest — do spread the word! 😉

      • Thanks Asya – I’m actually heading to Russia soon to finally begin linguistic work on Chuvash! I love to read your blog – I will let you know if I find something interesting over there to share 🙂

        • That’s great! I hope you enjoy Russia and the fieldwork. Are you going on your own or with some local linguists? You do know about Kibrik’s team expeditions, don’t you?

          • I’m going on my own on a Fulbright, but looking for connections anywhere I can find them 🙂 – I haven’t heard of Kibrik’s team expeditions…are they based in Chuvashia? In Moscow?

          • congratulations on the Fulbright! Kibrik’s expeditions are from MGU, so Moscow-based. Kibrik himself passed away a few years ago but the tradition continues for over 40 years. I don’t know where they are going this year and if they ever went to Chuvashia (I think they did, but I am not sure), but you can contact Ekaterina Lyutikova or Sergei Tatevosov — I’ll write you privately on FB.

          • Sounds great! 🙂

          • Okay, some quick googling (and a perusal of your book) tells me the expeditions have already happened and that their data is being analyzed and used for studies 🙂 Did they do work on Chuvash?

          • I am not sure if they’ve ever gone to Chuvashia, but I seem to remember so… They do go every year, sometimes several teams to different areas in the same summer. A lot of the expeditions are to the Caucasus (but you already know that if you looked at my book!)

  • Jack Aldrich

    I’ve always wanted to visit Turkmenistan, flying into Ashgabat and visiting the old silk road outpost of Merv as well as the nearby “Door to Hell,” a fiery hole in the earth that never burns out. To me, Turkmenistan has always embodied everything I find exotic about international travel — it’s a country that people know very little about, if even at all. It represents to me the Unknown in the most broadly writ sense, and the thought of getting to understand it is alluring to me. 

    • Wow, that’s a terrific place to go, no doubt. Even people in the former Soviet Union know little about Turkmenistan, let alone people abroad. Definitely a great place to mark on that travel map!

  • I would like to see something about how remittances will affect the economy and society of El Salvador in the medium to long term…

  • Jacobwseymour

    I would love to travel through syria to see where my family comes from & to see how people feel about what’s currently happening over there.

  • I would love to see parts of Northern Europe, such as Norway, Finland, and Sweden. This is because aside from personal interest with this being a large part of the world and a culture I haven’t experienced, my wife has lived there, my father has worked there, I have had many friends from the area – and they all loved it!

    • Great places to go! I lived in Tromso, Norway for a while and visited other parts of Scandinavia as well. Let me know if you’d like suggestions, tips, etc.

  • Alfia Wallace

    Since I grew up in a very crowded city, the places I fantasize about all have a far-off, remote feel to them. Most of them are cold and foggy and in the northern hemisphere.  In high school I was obsessed with Iceland: the sagas, the geysers, the isolated fisherfolk descended from Vikings and monks.  The financial crisis has dulled that fascination some (just vulgar overexposure), but I’d still like to go.  Some of that glamour has been taken over by the Faroe Islands – and Svalbard – island home of polar bears!  Then there are the islands off Scotland: the Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetlands. Most people on Lewis still speak Scots Gaelic. 
    In the southern hemisphere, I want to visit Tristan de Cunha.  There’s a beautiful poem about it by Roy Campbell.

    • Great places to visit, Alfia!

      A friend of mine visited Svalbard and even swam in the ocean there! (and saw a polar bear, but not at the same time). She now works as an event organizers on one of the Norwegian coastal cruiser ships. If you want to go there, let me know and I can put you in touch for advice etc.

      Scottish islands is another great place: my husband and I went to Scotland for our honeymoon, you know. But we only got as far as the Isle of Skye:

      Check out our photos too:

      And your mention of Tristan de Cunha inspired me to put up a post about the English spoken there. Maybe early next week. Stay tuned!

      • Alfia Wallace

        Now I know whom to contact when I’m planning my Svalbard trip!(whenever that may be).  I’ve been to England many times, but never Scotland. It looks like you had a delightful time.  Venison stew?  How about haggis? Single malt scotch? 🙂  I also enjoyed reading about the languages of Scotland and about your reminiscences. 

        • Thanks, Alfia! Haggis I quite liked, but single malt scotch is not my cup of tea…

  • Djmetevia

    I would to see the topic of American Indian reservations impacted by gambling casinos.

  • Michele

    Not very original… I would like to visit Ireland!

  • Nick

    I would like to visit Hong Kong. I like skyscrapers, and they have a few.

    • That’s another place we haven’t written much about yet…

  • I created my own app to stop asking if people want the 30 s. or 30 min. version of my travels and travails LOL 

    • The link doesn’t seem to work (at least for me). Isn’t it TripAdvisor that allows one to have a personalized travel map electronically? But can’t put it on the wall (and come to think of it, a frame of that size would cost more). And as Martin keeps saying, a good map is a thing of beauty, not just a document of information…

      • Not sure why it won’t work for you, it’s been up&running since before TripAdvisor existed… And you’re right, mine isn’t intended to be a beautiful but rather searchable – “horses for courses” they say here @ Newmarket UK racecourse 🙂

      • Did you get it working, Asya
        Kevin that was a cool map!

        • Mysteriously, now it works! Very beautiful map and interesting geo-patterns!

    • Worked for me Andrew, very cool. I get a lot of satisfaction from organizing my life’s adventures in such ways as you have.

      The GeoCurrents Master Map and News Map are actually both inspired by a similar endeavor by one Bernie Sumption, whose travel map looks like this:

  • Very difficult to choose just one. Places on my list: the Russian Far East, anything in between the Pamirs and the Himalayas, Central Africa, Iran, the Baltic countries (soon!), Northern Spain etc etc. But the one place I really, really want to visit: the island of Puka Puka in the Northern Cook Islands. I tried once and ended up in Vanuatu. Just waiting for the next ship down there…

    • Great places, Steven! What makes this island of Puka Puka special? Why this particular one?

      • The books by a long-forgotten man called Robert Dean Frisbee have everything to do with it. Just a romantic search for something unattainable, which is at the heart of every South Seas traveler I imagine.

  • Mitchell

    So far my travels have centered around Australia, where I was born. However, where I am most eager to go is Europe, and Turkey (yea, I am considering it part of Europe). Turkish delight may have played a major role in my coming to this decision.

  • Professorwill90

    I would most like to visit Eastern Europe to learn more about World War II

    • “Like”! I am hoping to write more about this on GeoCurrents before too long. Stay tuned!

  • Jmiller483

    There’s a whole chunk of eastern Europe I want to see. But I’ve hit a good variety of the planet.

  • Having limited my travels to Europe, North America, and northern Asia in the past, I think I would most like to go to South Asia or Brazil. I haven’t really seen the Eastern Mediterranean, though, so…

  • J Neel

    I’d love to finally be able to make it to the Shahara Bridge and Shibam in Yemen. While I was there travels were greatly restricted to foreigners, then we left when the revolution hotted up!

  • Cam

    I’ve yet to travel out of North America, so maybe if I won this it would prompt me to make the moves necessary to become an explorer!

    • Good luck and don’t forget the option to enter multiple times!

  • This summer we fell in love with Friulia (between Venice and Trieste, Italy, humorously called by locals: the armpit of the Adriatic) and Slovenia… so much sun, opera, history and scenery inside of a day’s drive!

  • Darien

    Took everyone’s advice and traveled after graduating from Stanford (partially inspired by the knowledge gained in History 106A/B) and traveled out of North America for the first time in 4 years. Ended up driving all the way to Mongolia from London, going through Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Russia. Just arrived back home in Canada two days ago. Quite the experience. Special thanks to Prof. Lewis’ for the collection of charts, maps and data presented in class which I look over on a monthly basis.

    • That sounds like an amazing trip Darien. Bet you learned a ton. History 106A/B were fantastic.

  • SMJ

    How can you pick one country. They are all so great.

    • Some a little easier to travel in than others 😉

  • I plan to travel to Greece, Ireland and Norway this year. I WILL make it happen!

    • That’s the spirit Buffy! Hope it’s an amazing time!

  • having been to hawaii a number of times I really want to explore further south and west in the Pacific – fiji, vanautu, tuvalu

  • Darder

    I’d like to visit some isolated islands of the South Pacific, it fascinates me that humans were able to populate these islands so long ago.

  • Lorraine McLane

    I found this article extremely interesting for two reasons. My Geography teacher at CSI is always advising us (his students) to travel and explore the wonderful world around us. The other reason is because although I may regret it and sometimes dwell on what ifs I have rarely traveled but my life doesn’t seem unfulfilled because of it. I hope that although I do have my career and I haven’t taken the time to travel its reassuring to know its never too late!