DIY Where I’ve Been Map

I have always been crazy about maps. I think it’s at least in part due to the fact that I am a spatial thinker: I like to see where things are and how they connect. And I love the idea of staking out the little bit of this beautiful earth where I’ve actually set foot. Years ago, there was a new app on facebook called “Where I’ve Been Map.” Even though I resisted all apps as if my life depended on it, I downloaded that one. Fresh off a seven-country trek, I gleefully clicked on the states and countries I’ve been to. And then I kind of forgot about it. In the intervening years, it appears that this app has been bought by one or more airlines or travel agencies, and has been robbed of its original functionality. I was really bummed when I discovered this…and then I started to wonder if I could make my own. All I would need was a blank map, like the ones geography teachers use to torture me with in my younger days. I was thrilled to find just such a coloring book on Amazon for just $10! I started sharpening my colored pencils in anticipation!

This is the coloring book, featuring every continent, world map projections, and several US maps with states marked. This $10 bought me a lot of happiness!

What I really love about this book is that it gives you four options for each continent.

So you can decide if you want to use the map with countries and cities marked or if you prefer it without. (If you want to buy your own, you can get it here).

As soon as my book came in the mail, I cut out the pages I wanted and started splashing them with color! I began with the US, in part because I wanted to know how many states I had visited. 29! Not a bad start, but you can see some neglected areas, which I hope to get to someday! This would be a really fun project to do with kids, or for vacation planning purposes (“Hey, we’ve never been to Montana!”) Or, you could use the extra maps for marking the places you’d most like to go.

Next up was Europe, and the book has about 20 different options for this one, centered on the East or West, North or South. Most of my travel has been in Eastern Europe, and I deliberately chose purple for Russia so it would dominate the page. It is the best color, after all. (And, truthfully, I had a lot of fun planning the color schemes!)

I have been to fifteen countries so far (Turkey will be my sweet sixteen!), and while they’ve mostly been in Europe, I can’t neglect the ones that are closer to home.

And finally, there’s Brazil. I am hoping to see much more of this continent! I am planning to hang these maps on my wall, and keep coloring them in as the years go by. There is so much more of this world I want to see! And I hope when I do, I will have Eric’s hand in mine.


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