Sunday, 17 November 2013

The joy of maps

Maps, maps glorious maps. I can spend hours staring at every contour and place name near and far. 

Exotic sounding places that you dream of visiting and close your eyes to picture.
I have traveled near and far to see many of the places that I read on antiquated maps and still dream and desire of seeing more.

Maps have always enticed me, intrigued me and made me want to own them. 
Now as I get older I have acquired some. Some old, some new, some original and some reproduction. Some large, some small and some very large that they take up a whole wall and you clench your teeth when people touch it.
Maps adorn and embellish my house and I believe make it alive with the essence of travel and ancient cartographic beauty.

For me they are better than a photo of a place you have visited. They conjure up mystery and a wonder of what places are like.

To me the places I have visited come to life when I see their names on a map. Sighs, people, smells, tastes, experiences and inevitably a smile all return to me.

So many memories come flooding back and they are all contained within a map.

That piece of paper, parchment or canvas contains so many memories and emotions that no photo could ever conjure up.

For me a map is a true delight to the eye and memory.

I can stare at a map and my mind will transport me back to a place. Sometimes I am in Africa. Dusty, with a sun burnt nose teaching kids in a rundown classroom back in 2005.
Other times I am in the middle East standing at the top of a rocky outcrop looking out over the red sands at Wadi Rum. A scarf around my neck fluttering in the breeze.

Of course you can have a map related memory closer to home. Every time I see the name Pamplona my heart fastens and I remember the adrenaline rushes of running in front of bulls and the smell of sun stale sangria.

All this comes from a picture of a place on some paper.

Maps conjure up everything for me when to others they are merely prints.
To me a map is a story, a history, a glimpse into the past, present and future and mots important of all. A map is a tantalizing come and get me plea to travel again and again.

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