10 Ideas for map lovers

Street mapI’ll admit it. I love old maps. When I was a kid I studied road maps on family trips. (I’ll show my age when I say that back then road maps were free at gas stations!) I still love maps. I much prefer reviewing a road atlas rather than relying on the GPS, although a GPS is a great assistant.

So how can you feed your map addiction?

Below are some ideas to get you started:

Collect old maps

Collecting old maps is popular but they can be expensive. An alternative might be collecting reprints or scanning your own from books and magazines.

Paper a room with maps

I’ve often considered collecting all the old maps from my National Geographic magazines and papering a room with them. Haven’t done it yet, but someday! If you are clever you might come up with a way to hang up lots of maps and change them occasionally without destroying your walls.

Find cool destinations within 50 miles

Make this your challenge. Find cool places on a map not more than 50 miles from home that you never heard of. Maybe somewhere historical or a weird place name. Maybe a geological feature that you never knew existed. How about an unknown little museum or roadside attraction?

Plan a road trip

Why not plan a real road trip? Make it a minimum of three days and the max is limited only by your schedule and budget. Early in our marriage my wife and I started taking road trips and we never really stopped. We didn’t have a lot of money so we mostly car camped staying at national parks and forests. These trips remain some of our most cherished memories.

Take a road trip using maps and no interstates

If making good time isn’t the priority try a trip without using any interstates or turnpikes. This gives a completely different perspective. Check out the book “Blue Highways” by William Least Heat-Moon for inspiration. I loved it!

Draw your own map of anywhere

Kids love doing this and there is no reason you can’t do it too. Do you have a local area or maybe a state park nearby? Try making a map outlining special places or features that aren’t shown on other maps. Maybe highlight nice views or rock formations for example.

Collect globes

Globes are cool, and I’ve always wanted a really big one. But there are lots of others that don’t cost a mint and would make a cool collection.

Mark everywhere you have visited on a map

This works for any map, from a world map to a country map, to more local. Maybe mount the map on cork and use pins to mark where you have been. Or maybe use little flags with the date of your visit.

Mark everywhere you want to visit on a map

This is like the above except it becomes a “bucket list” of places you would like to visit. Don’t worry about the practicality of getting to the places, just mark them. This has the effect of making you start to think about the possibilities.

Pick a spot randomly on a map and Google or visit

You could do this using the dart board method where you just randomly pick a spot and see what looks interesting around it. Google the area to learn about it. You might even start planning a road trip based on what you find!

So how do you indulge in your map habit?

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