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“I wanna hang a map of the world in my house. Then I’m gonna put pins into all the locations that I’ve traveled to. But first, I’m gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won’t fall down.” – Mitch Hedberg.

For Christmas, I received a wonderful world map from my aunt. It was made by National Geographic and came engraved with my name and a set of pins for charting places I had been in the world. I immediately opened the package and began putting pins in the map. I had been proud of the fact that I had visited 8 countries and a dozen or so states in the U.S., but after looking at the map, I realized that there are still an awful lot of places I have yet to see.

Maps not only make the world seem smaller by putting all places together on one plane, but they make it bigger, by revealing the sheer scale of the physical world. I rode in a van across the U.S.-Mexico border from San Diego to Tijuana, and I remember it taking at least a couple hours. But on this map, the two cities are so close together that I can only fit one pin there.

Anyway, here is a picture of my world map with the places I’ve been.

Image

So far my international travel has mostly been limited to southern Europe and east and southeast Asia. Africa and South America are completely bare, but I’ll get there someday. And all those islands in the Pacific are just calling my name. But for now, I’ll have to settle for map gazing.

Does anyone else have a similar map in their house?

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