Map of the World

Before you die, what do you want to do?

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My answer would be: travel the world. An odd choice for a homebody like myself, I know, but traveling is all I want to do. I have a list of places I’m dying to go, but I’m open to all locations really. I just really want to experience new things.

A lot of my favorite books to read are food memoirs, which almost always involve travel to another culture. I’m so inspired by the authors act of picking up their life and immersing themselves into different languages, different lifestyles and, of course, different foods!

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I recently came across a book I’ve wanted to read for years: Maphead by Ken Jennings. I’m not a Jeopardy devotee, so I didn’t really know who Ken Jennings is, but his voice is really nerdy and really fun. Plus, he’s super smart and imparted a lot of his map knowledge on me throughout the book. Some of my favorite tidbits:

-71% of children used to walk or bike to school, now only 22% of kids do. The radius around the home where kids are allowed to play has shrunk to a 9th of what it was in 1970. Kids are just not exploring the way they used to.

-Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is a town in Wales. For reals.

-The Earth tone “real” version of maps sell better than the colorful standard world map.

-Giovanni Cassini surveyed France in the 1670’s and making the topographic map took so long that his grandson was the man who finally finished the project.

-Seoul, South Korea is the most dense city in the world with 17,219 people per square kilometer. That’s twice as dense as Mexico City and 8 times as dense as New York City.

-“It’s the importance of the place to the genre, not just slavish imitation of Tolkien, that explains why today’s fantasy authors still make sure maps are front and center.” Aka: Fantasy geeks like myself loves maps because it allows you to¬†completely immerse yourself into a different world!

-Most of the kids who enter the biggest geography bee in the US are from small towns and want desperately to explore the world. Very few kids from larger cities bother to enter.

-Only around 20% of Americans have a passport.

-The US Interstate Highway System dates back to 1919, when Dwight D. Eisenhower drove a military convoy across the US. The trip took 62 days, lost 9 vehicles and reported 230 accidents. Paved roads ended outside of major cities, turning into mud, dust, ruts and even quicksand. In 1956, he signed the Highway System law, authorizing 41,000 miles of super highways to be built, the greatest peacetime public works projects in history.

Geotagging, Geocaching, it was all so, so interesting. If you’re interested in travel, maps, nerdy stuff… have a read!

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