When I was younger, I had an electronic globe in my room.
It didn't light up. Instead, it had a blue base stand with several buttons. Pressing one would play the quiz; pick the right capital, find the country in which a particular city could be located, work out five countries beginning with M.
Playing a game of Where's Wally with strange place names.
That globe still lives in my parent's house. Its batteries will almost certainly have drained of their power, and its plastic surface which maps out the oceans and the continents will now be quite outdated. In the intervening twenty years or so since I received it one Christmas, new countries have been borne through conflict, secession or interminable disagreements on what constitutes a citizen.
Maps have meaning. They have not simply acted as tools for cartographers to plot, navigators to follow, and despots to strategise over. They shape a place, shape your view of their construction, they are politicised and contentious (with the Peters Projection Map offering an antidote), and untold geo-political chaos over the last half decade in the Middle East and parts of Africa has resulted from a simple ruler straight line used to form new borders.
I still remember the discombobulatimg moment when I arrived in Vietnam for my gap year and I first truly realised the meaning of maps. Seeing a non-UK centric one for the first time, it looked all wrong. The UK, our little awkward island, wasn't slap bang in the middle, but shoved off to the side somewhere. Instead, there was a confluence of Asian countries in the centre. The world looked mistaken. It simply didn't look like this in my head, but then for a Vietnamese teenager, they'd likely think the same of my school maps.
That memory is one of disturbingly few that I can clearly recall from the year as I lived and worked in a foreign land for the first time; it was, after all, the time that the world was turned, if not upside-down, then at least back-to-front.
To the traveller in 2018, maps still matter despite our conception and use of them having evolved wholesale. We now mark our footsteps around the world in dropped digital pins and stars and, on a hike or a road trip, it's our GPS and Google Maps which shows us the way, rather than a dog-eared and ink-stained one in our backpacks.
But a map is still what reveals the world to us and helps us take tentative footsteps across it; it's still the thing that can lead us safely home.
A start-up company called Bold Tuesday got in touch with us to talk about their new approach to reset the connection between modern day explorers and non-digital maps. With their creative, minimalist maps and travel posters, they want to help travellers keep track of every place and country they've visited, and remind yourself of all you have seen (and will see), away from our digital screens.
They asked if we liked their work and now, (unsurprisingly) two of their maps now hang in our flat, one in the living room and one in the bedroom.
We'd never seen maps like theirs, which represent the world beautifully and creatively, yet look absolutely nothing like we'd conceive of when we think of a map.
If you're a creative sort, then you can personalise them to track your own footprints across the globe. The 'Find It' one presents 196 countries (yep, we didn't believe it either but then Emily's stubborn so made us sit for an hour and a half with gallon cups of tea counting) in a word-search format, and the idea is that you shade out those you've visited. On the absolutely beautiful 'List' one, which places countries in order of size, you can also customise it with the included tiny red dot stickers (but we kind of like it as it is).
An Exclusive Offer for You
As we really like their maps, we've teamed up with Bold Tuesday to give Along Dusty Roads readers looking for some travel-related art of their own an exclusive 20% discount. The first 10 purchases from their website using the code 'ALONGDUSTYROADS' will receive the discount.
LIKE IT? PIN IT!