“Mom, show me where I was born again please?” my middle child asked me while I was cooking dinner. My two oldest children were born in Germany, courtesy of the Army, and maybe that’s where their fascination with geography was also born. Or maybe it’s because I majored in Geography in college and have an affinity for all things world maps.
Either way, my children have been enthralled with world maps of all kinds for as long as they’ve been alive. And it wouldn’t be fair to say it’s just them. My husband and I love history and geography as well. And you can see evidence of this throughout our house.
Maps, Maps, Everywhere
When we got married and combined households, my many atlases, and map-related things came with me. After two deployments to Iraq, my husband had a few fun things to display as well, and we decided that we would proudly display our travels throughout our house—wherever our house happened to be at that time. Or whatever kind of house it was.
In typical military fashion, we started with an 800 sq ft, two-bedroom apartment in southeastern Arizona, a place I had to find on a map because I’d never heard of it before. We had a world map shower curtain in the guest bathroom and spent a bit of time wondering who owned the Falkland Islands and that Svalbard would be a cool name for a band.
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We’ve decorated with maps for the last decade and they generally become the centerpiece of the room, sparking conversations among guests, our kids, and each other. When we read books, we consult the map. When we read the news, we check to make sure we know where they are referencing. When we homeschooled briefly, we used many maps to teach our children history.
World Maps on Display
But when we moved into our latest house, the one we bought for the first time in our adult life, we wanted to be more deliberate in our decorating. Sure, there are still maps all around. My globe earrings are on the dresser. The potholder made of world map material that my aunt made for us, where she outlined our home state of Virginia, Iraq, Germany, and Arizona is frequently found on the kitchen counter.
Beer steins from our trips to Germany, and our family’s trips grace the top of the kitchen cabinets and a gorgeous painting of Hamburg is now in the dining room, sparking conversations about our German heritage and trips.
Our Favorite Map from 1 World Globes and Maps
And then, we added the ultimate geographer’s dream. A world map. But as a geographer, I am picky about the type of world map I wanted in my house. Sure, I wanted something high quality and up-to-date. But I also wanted something that could move with us—because as much as I want to be done moving, it’s always a possibility.
I also wanted something accurate, which led me to look for maps that fit these qualifications. And the maps from 1 World Globes & Maps are quality in every way. The political maps are up-to-date as of 2016 and they use a Miller Projection. The Detailed Antique Oceans World Political Map Mural—the one we chose—has that classic, old map look. The colors are subtle and neutral and match any wall color.
“Geographers never get lost. They just do accidental field work.”
― Nicholas Chrisman
The markings are clear, the names easy to find, and the topography is shaded just right so mountains and trenches are easily seen. The map is labeled with lots of great educational things, including:
- Country & U.S. state boundaries, including island nations
- Major cities, national capitals, U.S. & Canadian capital cities
- Rivers, lakes, mountain ranges, geologic basins, and deserts
- Major seas, bays, and straits, and major and minor islands
- Latitude/longitude, international dateline, and time zones
I can’t say enough good things about how the map looks and is designed—especially for a military family that needs to know where things are and what time zones people are in. It’s such an asset to have.
Installing the World Map
Installing this three-panel, peel and stick wall map was half the fun! First, we had to find a size and wall that matched. We went with the main wall in our house, which is in the living room behind the couch, and selected the 125” by 84” map. Now, even though I looked at these measurements, I didn’t truly realize how big it was! This is over 10 feet long and 7 feet high!
We started by prepping the wall—making sure it was smooth, clean, and dry and then measuring out where the map would go. We unrolled the map, separating the panels and deciding which order we wanted them to go in. We also used the extra brown wrapping paper to entertain our toddler while we worked. (This works with the packing paper the movers use, too!)
We started in one corner, with the easternmost part of the world (from our perspective) and peeled back part of the backing to get it straight. As we smoothed it out, we’d peel back more of the backing until the whole panel was securely on the wall. Phew! Once we got started, it was an easy process.
“Without geography, you’re nowhere!”
― Jimmy Buffett
Each panel has a mark for a slight overlap, which you can cut off or use as a guide. We used the scant ¼” as a guide to line up the panels as we hung them. Using the lines and labels at those parts, we were able to line up the panels perfectly. Then we spent some time smoothing out the air bubbles before moving the furniture back.
One thing we noticed was the quality of the material. At times it did stick to itself, but with some gentle pulling, it separated easily. The panel would stretch a bit but retained its shape and dimensions perfectly. As you can see, it looks like a professional installed this map! A map with panels of this size definitely requires a few extra hands. We had three people—plus our toddler—and could have done with one more.
The world map is huge, but I love it. It matches the wall amazingly well and is the center point, but not overwhelming. I used it the same day we put it up, to check on a part of Argentina that is featured in a book I’m reading. And my kids are excited to learn more about the places they’ve been.
Are you looking for a map to add to break up some of the white walls in base housing? Or maybe to start a deployment wall? Check out all the options 1 World Globes & Maps have and add one to your house today.
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Photo Credit: Rebecca Alwine