When I was about 6 years old, one of my favorite hobbies was to write and draw maps describing every country of the world. The first one was Afghanistan, then came South Africa (“Afrique du Sud” in French), Albania, Algeria, etc.
At this time, Internet didn’t exist and as we lived in an isolated small village in Eastern France, the only access we had to information was through our parents, school, limited TV/radio and for those who could afford it, an encyclopedia. Fortunately, we had one at home. Remember the inner covers filled with all those incredible flags’ colors and the planisphere? Wasn’t it super cool?
I talked a lot with my parents, asking thousands of questions, eager to know more about the world surrounding our village. As discussions went by, I became literally struck by the fact that everything was perfectly connected: Science, Education, History, Economy, of course Geography, Literature… However, at school, everything was taught separately. Then, I began to add more detail to the content of my “Country Cardboards” in order to regroup everything I knew about each of them. I rapidly faced 3 problems:
- Due to the limited palette of colored pencils I owned, flags barely looked like what they should.
- The only planisphere I had was really small and drawing the outline of the countries required to use the Grid Method for my borders to fit on my cardboards accurately.
- Cardboards were packed instantly because I had the ambition to talk about everything!
WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM THEN
Techniques sometimes prevent you from moving forward but it’s often just a lure. Italy and France looked exactly the same on my washed-out cardboards but I went on to Zimbabwe anyway.
You can’t say, see or learn everything. You have to choose your battles. I chose mine a couple of years ago and decided to explain and showcase the world as I see it, through an artistic point of view but with a “true” geographical background. Sometimes, members of Baltic Club write to us saying: “This border is not exactly like this” or “This country should belong to this one”... I don’t want to be the UN nor Google.
I wish I still had the patience and the time to draw my cards again today, hence I work with Melanie to showcase our vision of the world and maybe pursue some kind of kid’s dream :)