Vanity, thy name is a giant, oversized wall map.
It is an intrinsic part of human nature to show off. I’m not saying it’s a good part; just that it exists. Whether it be displaying a trophy or hanging a certificate on the wall, they all share a common element – we want others to acknowledge what we’ve done.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. There’s nothing wrong in taking a measure of pride in one’s achievements so long as you don’t go overboard. For the traveler who takes pride in their activity, there’s possibly no greater medium to passively announce your travel accomplishments than a wall map. If you’re feeling particularly proud; make that a giant, oversized wall map.
Having such a map on display in your office, living room, or wherever is a subtle method to alert visitors to your international prowess. A giant oversized map may be less subtle, but it’s an even better source for striking up a conversation. However, to be in a position to create and display such a showpiece, there are a few simple requirements, which I will list for you now.
1) A wall. This is standard equipment in most homes, but a requirement all the same. If you’re going for the giant, oversized map, it is important that you not only have a wall, but one of sufficient size to accommodate it. In my case, the map was larger than the wall, forcing me to wrap it around the corner. It’s not ideal, but still looks pretty cool. When it comes to maps, size does matter.
2) You have to go somewhere. While a blank wall map can be a tasteful decoration and inspiration to look at, to make it count you should really go somewhere. Marking the places you’ve visited with pins is a great way to put it all in context and serves as incentive to get back out there in order to add more.
3) Pins. It’s hard to pin a map when you don’t have any pins. I can tell you from experience that there is profound satisfaction to be had when returning home from a voyage abroad and feeling the sensation of a pin entering the wall (or backing). Doing so allows you to trace your journeys, and in a sense, tell the story of your life. Each pin has its own story, and serves as a memory marker to experiences great and small. It’s not just vanity; it’s memory, and that’s something worth preserving.
Eventually, the desire to insert more pins on your map regardless of size will become a greater factor the more you travel. Besides showing off, it is also human nature to focus on what we don’t have instead of what we do. No matter how many pins may adorn your map, your eyes will always drift toward the empty spaces. Not to worry, though – with time and effort (and a whole lot of money) you can fill those blank spots until there aren’t any left. And if you do cover it all, take comfort in the knowledge that by the time you manage to do that, we might be able to visit the moon; which is a whole other adventure – and more importantly – a whole new map to fill.