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  • Writer's pictureMateusz Górecki

Map

You are 10 years old. Face all smeared in the cake your mother baked a few minutes ago. Tired, out of breath after the amazing match you played against your eternal rivals from the Polish Wings estate. A skinny, even bony striker (oh yes you played with the green number 9 painted on your jersey... geez, how will mom wash that? Why worry, the pain is temporary(even that stripe reflected on your buttock), and the glory and admiration eternal!) you finally scored three brilliant goals.

You sit down on the heavy pine floor and... unfold the map. One of your great passions. Although so far your greatest travel success has been a vacation at your grandmother's house in a village 20km away, you feel that someday you will embark on a bigger journey.

Lines, continents, mountains, countries, capitals, time change zones, rivers, lakes, oceans. It's all dripping with magic.

From the days when the first, bearded gentleman scribbled a few lines on his cave wall, to sailors, scientists, travelers, to today's ones made by hand and with incredible precision, or those found on a computer screen. Maps have always represented for society a certain way of understanding the world, 'encoding the wonder of life,' as Nicolas Crane said

In the world of smartphones, we often think of maps only as a tool-'a way and a place name,' used only for direction. An app, two clicks and you're done. It's easy to forget that even these extremely realistic maps are still an abstraction, a substitute for reality, an illusion.

All around you now are hundreds/thousands of images that have long since gone out of the old understanding of the word: "map". A map takes you on a journey, shows you places that are inaccessible at first glance.

They build the story of the explorers and the first explorers who risked their lives and crossed the barrier created by the society of "it can't be done", "after all, there are turtles holding our planet", "you will swim a few kilometers further and fall off the Earth". It is thanks to them that you feel the smell of freshly brewed Brazilian coffee, the whiff of hot wind as you ski down the Sahara, the shrill cold standing on Mont Everest, or the pride of conquering the edge of the world in Alaska.

Maps should be your travel bible, a pointer with which, even sitting in a comfortable armchair, in your slippers, in your home, you can move to the farthest corners of this planet in the blink of an eye! You can be like Marco Polo looking for a way to China, take on the role of Amundsen and race with Scott to the South Pole, you can be Livingston and head deep into Black Africa, you can be anything!

Are you bored with ordinary maps? I have a solution for you.

Grab a cup of coffee, and waste a few minutes of your precious time to go back to your childhood, or to... the present, immerse yourself in these wonderful maps and give yourself a kick so that they are not just a piece of paper, or a compilation of pixels, but a signpost showing you the path to the great adventure that is travel! Below you'll find some suggestions I found digging through the nooks and crannies of the Internet.

As Antonis Antoniou said- cartography can be an extraordinary form of escape, like maps that create colorful experiences- real, or completely fictionalized. You choose which ones are for you. Here are 4 suggestions for 'new maps' to inspire you.


The map should be treated with tenderness, understanding and a certain respect. It is the one that allows you to move to places so much more distant than unknown. Personally, I don't lend my maps to anyone. They are too close to me. It is on them that sand from Iranian deserts, raindrops from the American coast, snowflakes from Norwegian fjords stay. A part of you stays there!

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