Don’t leave home without this

Don’t leave home without what?  You’re probably thinking . . . passport, ATM card, toothbrush?

A Map

Well those are all good but one item I like more than any other? A map. And not just a map to keep me from getting lost. But I take a two-sided, laminated, map of the entire world. It folds down the middle and the countries are all in bright colors.

Last June I was on a climbing trip to Mt. Elbrus in Russia. Here’s a photo of three climbers from Austria, China, and Russia. All looking at my map.


I got the map out from my bag because someone mentioned something about their native country.  In a few minutes I wasn’t even in the conversation anymore. Stories flowed back and forth . . .

  • moving to Ukraine as a child
  • the break-up of the Soviet Union
  • how Hong Kong is now part of China but still separate
  • hiking trips in the Alps

Reminds People Of Home

A map is like an old photo from the family album.  It reminds people of home, where they grew, up, where they live now, travels, family and friends.  It trigger memories beyond what might happen in a normal conversation.

I’ve used my map to get to know people better . . .

  • with border guards while I was crossing from Turkey into Georgia
  • talking to kids at a Vietnamese orphanage
  • with a Bosnian soccer player on a bus to Sarajevo
  • and with mountain climbers in Russia.

“Simple human connections all because of a $5 piece of laminated cardboard that’s covered with bright colors.”

When you travel do you bring anything to share with people so you can learn more about each other?
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