Journal of Where

It’s easy to buy into the travel philosophy. It’s something like “you are what you eat”, but for places. There’s a part of each destination that stays with me, a certain nourishment that makes me feel whole. The world is vast, of course, but it can be comprehended in its vastness, I think.

I’m proud of where I’ve been. I like to bask in that. I like maps. Maps show you things, and once you’ve come to understand a place, a map makes great shorthand.

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What does a map really show, though? It matters what its aim is. Most maps show countries. How arbitrary! Lands are defined so haphazardly. I have been to Toronto; I have not been to Nunavut!

keith visited early 2018.jpg

If you google something like "map where I've been" or something like that, one of the first hits is this interactive visited countries map - a basic mercator map divided by countries. You can easily mark the ones you want, and even change the color of each value (marked, unmarked, ocean). Above is mine, as of early 2018. I like the look of this. 

Even though the mercator is a reviled map projection among cartographers, it is quite helpful for most travelers because it enlarges Europe. (It distorts everything away from the equator, as obviously exhibited by Greenland - as it happens, Europe is quite north, so it benefits from this projection.) I love that I can alter the color scheme of this. But I really dislike that I'm limited to the official country designations of the UN. 

Back to the Google map:

Keith visited map 2018.png

Here I’ve changed the markers to small dots. I’m much happier with that. The red ones represent places I’m planning to visit - I’ve since gone to Russia and the Baltic States. This definitely gives a better impression.