Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Crash Course on Collecting Antique Globes: Part I

By Trey Thomas

The oldest terrestrial globe dates back to 1492, a time when circumnavigation of the world by Spanish and Portuguese explorers was at its height. Because of how expensive and challenging they were to make, old world globes were precious and held in the utmost respect. As such, they were almost exclusively in the hands of Kings and noble families.

During those times, owning a globe meant that you had power over the known lands and that you understood the intricacies of world geography—that in turn, meant having a cultured upbringing only money and power could buy. A globe was perhaps one of the ultimate status symbols of the day.

As the years, decades, and centuries rolled on by, globes would become more widely available, though they are still held in high reverence. These old world globes that have made their way into the present give us a glimpse into a bygone era, a snapshot of how people saw the world as it was, or to be more precise, how it was known to them.

Collectors of antique globes known that the really fine globes are far and few between, which is why care should be taken when collecting them.

Here’s a look at what a collector looks at when examining an antique globe.


Condition is perhaps the most important factor to consider not just in antique globes, but antiques in general. No antique globe is free of minor defects like scratches and small patches of discoloration, so expect to these issues. What you should look out for are signs that the globe has been badly damaged; look for dents and major cracks.  Difference between

The globe’s stand should also be in good shape. Oftentimes, the stand will be the difference between an ordinary globe and one that’s actually extraordinary.


After condition, see if you can determine who the maker of the globe was. The Dutch Republic pioneered the commercial manufacturing of the globes, which took place in the late 15th century, eventually spreading out to the rest of Europe and centuries later, America. Italian globes in the 16th century made a name for themselves for their decorative flair, while France’s Royal Cartographers made globes for King Louis XIV in the 17th century.

Ultimate Globes has a guide on how to date your globe, complete with a chart containing dates of globe production, along with their corresponding countries and manufacturers.

Be sure to check back on this blog for Part II of this article series. 

Caring for your Gemstone Globes

By Trey Thomas

High quality gemstone globes don’t come cheap, and if you want to get your money’s worth and make your investment last, you’ve got to know how to take care of your world globe. To keep your gemstone globe looking beautiful, you’ll have to make sure that you some periodic maintenance on the orb.

Fortunately, such a task isn’t as hard as it sounds. Yes, gemstone globes are delicate works of art that require careful cleaning—doing otherwise could very well damage your gemstone globe’s finish. But you can avoid that if you know what to use to when cleaning the globe, as well as the right method in cleaning it.

What You Will Need for the Job:

  • Clean dust cloths (preferably cotton)
  • Q-tips
  • Water
  • Few drops of mild dish soap

Step 1

Start with your clean dust cloth. If your gemstone globe only has a thin layer of dirt covering its surface, simply dust it with the soft cloth. You don’t need to have a fancy microfiber cloth or anything—a simple cloth diaper works just fine. Gently wipe the entire surface of the gemstone globe until its shine returns.

Step 2

Get your Q-tips and use them to clean the gemstone globe’s seems. Use the buds to clean the latitude and longitude lines, as well as the boundaries between countries and states. Despite how tight these seams are, dust can still penetrate the tiny gaps between the gems where regular cloth can’t reach into.

Step 3

If after all that, your gemstone globe still looks dull, proceed to take another clean cotton cloth and dampen with a little water, using it to wipe the globe once more. Whatever you do, don’t using anything abrasive, like rubbing alcohol. Water will do just fine, and anything stronger can potentially damage the your gemstone globe’s finish.

After cleaning your globe with the damp cloth, wipe it dry with yet another dry cloth. For a gemstone globe that’s really dirty, for example one that you found in a flea market, drop one to two drops of mild dish soap into a basin of water and use the solution to dampen your cloth. Follow this up with a cloth dampened with nothing but water to remove the soap residue. Don’t forget to wipe dry with a clean cloth.

With proper maintenance, your gemstone globe should continue looking beautiful for decades to come. And as the years go by, along with the continual changes in country boundaries, your globe could well become a collector’s item in the future. 

What’s All the Fuss Over Gemstone Globes?

by Trey Thomas
With all their beauty and splendor, gemstone globes transcend the usefulness of ordinary globes and become a beautiful piece of art in the home or workplace. If a sculpture or painting can add personality and sophistication to a space, a piece as beautiful as a gemstone globe, with its semi-precious gems sourced from some of the world’s richest mines, can likewise have the same effect.

A Short History

For hundreds of years, gemstone globes have been a prized possession in the homes of the wealthy and elite. If the craftsmanship of modern gemstone globes is impressive today, one can only imagine the level of precision involved in making the gemstone globes of old, which were hand crafted, with each piece laboriously and loving cut with precision from premium stones. Old gemstone globes were so painstaking to make that artisans could spend days working on just one piece of stone for it to have the right look.

But if you thought gemstone globes were all about looks, think again. As surprising as it may seem, high quality gemstone globes were also prized for their geographic accuracy. Craftsmen had to make sure that each country appeared in their exact shape, with borders highlighted in a rich gold color.

Gemstone Globes Today

While the world has undergone tremendous changes over the centuries, the process of making gemstone globes has largely remained intact. Skilled craftsmen still work painstakingly over each globe, seeing to it that each gem fits snugly against each other, and that globes are accurate representations of the planet. It’s interesting to note that large gemstone globes are perhaps the easiest to make, and the smaller a globe gets, the harder it is to balance detail and a perfect fit—some gemstone globes can be as small as a sphere 7 inches in diameter.

Besides learning about the continents, countries, and oceans, an integral part of owning a gemstone globe is learning about your gemstones. The larger a globe is, the more gemstones it will have. Although the type of gems will vary from globe to globe, you can at least expect to see the most common ones, such as mother of pearl, blue lapis for the oceans, and black and yellow jasper.

Regardless of size, however, a beautiful gemstone globe can make for a prized heirloom that increase in value as it’s passed down from generation to generation.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Best Places to Look for Collectible Globes

by Trey Thomas

If you’re thinking of getting into collecting world globes, you’ll eventually run into the conundrum every collector out there has realized at some point: the first few globes are easy, but it all it goes downhill after a few more additions to the collection.
Martin Beheim's "Erdapfel," the oldest surviving terrestrial globe and one of the world's most valuable globes. 
The reason for this is that when you first start out, there are plenty of modern globes to get your hands on. But once your interest turns to old world globes and other more exotic spheres, the real challenge begins.
Here are some tips on where you might be able to scrounge up collectible globes.

Garage Sales

The old adage, “One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure,” couldn’t be more true when it coems to garage sales. While your chances of finding something worth five figures are slim, it’s quite possible to find old globes and other knickknacks someone decided they no longer needed around at garage sales. So grab your local newspaper and make it a habit to wake up early during weekends to go hunting for cheap finds at these sales. Even if you don’t find a collectible globe, you can at least find something else worth buying.

Estate Sales

Estate sales are perhaps the next level above garage sales. As the name suggests, estate sales are sales where an entire estate or home’s contents are being sold—everything must go during these occasions. Estate sales often occur when someone living in a home passes away and the family wants to dispose of their belongings, perhaps to raise funds or because they don’t know what to do with them. Estate sales usually involve older homes, with older decor that may just include older world globes that have a collectible value.

Antique Stores

Items in antique stores are normally expensive, but if you don’t mind shelling out the money, they are still a place worth visiting. Explore antique stores in your area and see if they have any globes worth adding to your collection. If you don’t find anything, that’s alright. Your real goal at an antique store is to make connections with the shopkeeper and let him know what you’re looking for, the better to get first pickings on globes that may come into the shop. They’ll either reserve for globe they think you’ll buy, or point you to someone else who’s more attuned to globe collecting.

Finally, we have auctions. In major cities, there’s always some of kind of antique auction happening somewhere in town. Hit Google and see if there are any auctions for antiques taking place in your area, or talk to fellow collectors and enthusiasts for pointers and tips on these events. If you can’t find anything local, there’s bound to be an auction happening in your state at the very least.

Gift Ideas for the Holidays: Who Can you Give a Globe to as a Present?

by Trey Thomas

The holidays may still be many months away, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to make preparations well in advance. If you’re fine giving away the same old, stale gifts (think box of cookies and candy), then don’t bother reading this.

However, if you want to give something that’s truly better and unique, take a closer look at world globes. Better yet, why don’t you inspect the characters on your list of people to give presents to over the holidays, and see if they match our recommendations of whom to give world globes to? It won’t hurt to make a good impression with your gift right?

The Travel Buff

Globes are great gifts for people who love nothing more than to hop on a plane and take their next adventure.  A world globe is a great gift for a globetrotter to better remember and illustrate his best travel stories. And aside from being a useful reference tool, a world globe is a great way to start conversation—in your friend or loved one’s case, he can simply point to where he’s been in the globe and share a memorable experience.

The Historian      
Not this kind of historian though...
Do you have a history buff on your list? Consider getting him a world globe that represents different eras in history. While the most common world globes are those that depict countries and their present boundaries, there are older globes and globe reproductions of Old World globes that give the history lover a peak into a bygone era. It’s a beautiful reference tool any lover of history would be hard pressed to say no to.

Photo by the State University of New York at Fredonia
Students are not surprisingly, some of the best people to give world globes to. Educational globes are perfect gifts for people on your list who are still in school. Sure, in today’s age of Google Maps and Google Earth, globes may seem obsolete, but they carry a classic appeal with them and hearken back to a time when almost every scholar had a globe at his or her disposal.


Kids are yet another perfect group of people to give world globes to. If you have kids on your list, how about giving them something that’s both fun and educational? Interactive children’s globes are perfect gifts for your children, nephews, nieces, or grandchildren that allow them to learn the basics of geography, time zones, and longitude and latitude in fun and interactive way. You could, for instance, get a talking globe that speaks out the name of the place you’re touching on the globe.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Globes and Dreams

by Trey Thomas

globe and worry beads dream
Photocomposite: Day 52: Last Day of Freedom by Anomalily and Global Puzzle by Natman (both on Flickr)

Pretty much rhymes with 'hopes and dreams.' But the history of globes is the history of hopes and dreams. Once Renaissance people lost their fears of "going over the edge" of a flat earth, they replaced these with hopes of finding (and getting their hands on) new lands, new people, lots of treasure, and adventure.

Oh, there were still fears left – antique globes have sea monsters in them:
[These matching celestial and terrestrial globe bookends are modeled after 16th-century prototypes. We have more charming Old World style globes at our Old World Globes page.]

Dream On

Along with hopes and fears come dreams and ambitions. If you dream about globes, here are some of their interpretations:
  • "To see a globe in your dream suggests that you need to step back and look at the wider perspective. It also indicates that you are in complete control of your life. "To see a spinning globe in your dream signifies that your life is going out of control." ~Dream Moods
  • "A stationary globe symbolizes that the dreamer has control of his life. A spinning globe shows that the dreamer's life is going out of control. In rare cases a globe can symbolize power ('he's got the whole world in his hands')" Dream Symbolism page
  • "A globe can symbolize a problem."
The Curious Dreamer says a world/world globe can represent the environment, people in general or peoply you reqularly interact with.

Note the emphasis on problems, control, unknown places, unknown people. Globes then, are very much focal points for mastering one's fears, aids to facing problems – objects of (perhaps unconscious) meditation; a single link in the worry beads of worlds. It's always comforting, when faced with problems, to know that you have the world in your hands.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Rise of the Guardians of the Globe

by Trey Thomas

The globe as a movie motif

A huge world globe featured in DreamWorks Animation's The Rise of the Guardians. Called 'The Globe of Good Children', this globe served as the main device for monitoring the quality of children's faith (in the guardians) all over the world.
The Guardians (property of DreamWorks Animations)

While the movie tackled the differences between hope and fear, love and hate, good dreams and bad dreams, the globe itself served as a symbol of this Yin-Yang conflict.

For example, in the movie, Pitch the Boogeyman – looking like the black-sand version of the Sandman – had his own version of the Guardians' globe. This was not as huge. But its most distinguishing quality is that it wasn't a complete sphere, the suggestion of a sphere was made by the curving dark shapes of the landmasses looking like dark dried up orange rinds with tiny yellow firefly like lights on them to show the children's location – the fewer the lights, the better for the Boogeyman. This opened-up globe's styling suggests the darkness, emptiness, unhappiness, and misery of evil.
Pitch, Globe, and Nightmare

Globes were also used in the movie in other ways – as a teleport device for example (granted this was a Santa snow globe but this proves the point that globes are not only informative but fun as well):

Guardians of the Globe

In contrast, Image ComicsGuardians of the Globe do not show globes as a motif. Not even as a feature. It's just that what they mean by 'globe' is the actual globe of the earth. However, both the Guardians (of children) and the Guardians of the Globe guard the earth from all who seek to harm it and its inhabitants.

Meanwhile ...

Ultimate Globes has its own globe with a light and dark character – a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde globe, in a manner of speaking. The Earth by Day and Night globe looks like an ordinary blue teaching globe by day. But, once in the dark, and you turn on the globe's lamp, it will show a beautiful globe of the common constellations in the dark night sky. Unlike Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, there's nothing sinister in this globe, only fun and enjoyment.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Topsy Turvy

by Trey Thomas

We don't offer them yet, but they are excellent examples of learning aides that disabuse you of certain assumptions that can hinder your thinking: upside down maps and globes.
Reverse Map (source: The Upsidedown Map Page)

Upside-down maps weren't always seen as upside-down.

Maps haven't always placed the north on top. The orientation depended on the bias of the people who made the maps.

For example, in the Near East, there are clues that ancient directional orientations placed the east on top. In the Bible, Abraham and his men are mentioned to have rescued his nephew, Lot, in "Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus" (Genesis 14:15, KJV). In modern maps, Hobah (modern day Choba) is northwest of Damascus. Since Damascus has the distinction of being one of the longest continuously inhabited cities in the world, if Hobah also didn't change location, then it's probable that people looked to the east as the top of the land.

Ancient Arabs were thought to put south on top because, when you faced the rising sun, south was to your right and since the right side was viewed positively, they put the south on top of their maps.
Nearby, in Egypt, people viewed the north as 'Lower Egypt' and the south as 'Upper Egypt'

Later, maps of early Christians followed the 'east is top' tradition with the Orbis Terrarum map, placing Jerusalem at the center and east on top, because paradise was said to be east of Jerusalem. East was called Oriens. This is the source of our term 'to orient'.
Orbis Terrarum
Read more of the fascinating directional preferences of other cultures here.

One thing is constant though: people regard the top as positive and bottom as negative – with negative consequences, unintended or not, for those who were placed in the negatively perceived direction. The still-existing divide between North and South, East and West is a remnant of those consequences today.

Modern upside-down maps and globes.

Here is an example of a modern upside-down map and upside-down globe

Where's up? Where's down?

Answer, nowhere. Since the earth is spherical, there's no law carved in stone that North should always be up, because the only way up in a globe is outwards; down is inwards.

Looking at something from another perspective is a hallmark of creativity. Looking objectively at differently-oriented globes (or people) promotes creative thinking and the understanding that other viewpoints can be perfectly valid and correct.

Directional biases make us view the world through a visual straight-jacket. We can free ourselves from our biases by seeing the world through fresh eyes, different perspectives, different directions.

We're not advocating a total change in map or globe directions. We're only pointing out that, by seeing the world differently, and by acknowledging that no cardinal direction is inherently superior, we can avoid feeling smug and see other people as downtrodden by being "down under."
(source: New Internationalist Magazine "Upside down - the United Nations at 60")

Tintin and the globe

by Trey Thomas

Tintin merchandise in Kinsasha, Congo (source: BBC News)

Comic geography

Probably no other comic book cartoon has made use of globes as a visual hook for audiences more than Belgian cartoonist Hergé's The Adventures of Tintin.

Since the stories in the Tintin comics are set in various locations all over the world, the illustrations make use of maps and globes to advantage. A secondary effect of the Tintin comics is that they (intentionally or not) teach readers geography – even if some of the lands in the comics are totally made up. This, plus the simple drawings resulted to some children developing a curiosity for other countries, and the love of adventure. This is, of course, applicable where the Tintin comics is well-known, like in Europe, Africa (especially formerly Belgian Congo) and Asia.

Treasure in a globe

The treasure in globes – the gift of learning about places and adventure, is perhaps alluded to by one of the Adventures of Tintin books, Red Rackham's Treasure, published in 1944. In the book's conclusion, Tintin and his friend, the hard-drinking Captain Haddock, finds the treasure hidden by Haddock's 17th-century ancestor by way of a globe that served as the base of a statue of St. John, the Eagle of Patmos. By pressing the equivalent of the island previously encountered by the adventurers, the globe sprung open to reveal the treasure.
Globe to Red Rackham's Treasure
The importance of globes as a storytelling device in the Tintin books is underscored by literally having a globe as the ground in the poster for the 2011 motion capture adaptation of the comic books, The Adventures of Tintin.

Start them young ...

A children's globe would be the perfect companion for The Adventures of Tintin, should you want to expose your kids to the love of geography. We carry a good selection of Children's Globes. The Earth by Day and Night globe is particularly good for teaching because it's an ordinary learning globe by day but shows the constellations in the night sky when you turn on the illumination at night.

Globes may not give your kids a literal treasure of gold, but they'll develop a treasure no one is going to steal: knowledge.

For the grown-ups, we offer a globe that hides a different kind of treasure, and that's something that even Captain Haddock can appreciate. :)

What’s a globe worth?

by Trey Thomas

Students of geography know the real value of a globe is in their accuracy. But, since accuracy changes as knowledge increases, famous globes are mostly remembered because they are rare, huge, made or owned by famous people, made from expensive materials, executed with exceptional skill, or sometimes a combination of these. But, without exception, all famous globes are expensive.

Sky is the limit ...

The Diplomat

Our most expensive globe, The Diplomat, at $12,900.00, is only 1/39th the price of the most expensive globe offered by one of our competitors

The Byzantine

We gotta commend them for thinking up a fun 'Our Most Expensive Globes' page though. [Now why haven’t we thought of that? It’s always nice to keep a sense of humor. ;) ]

Seriously nowadays, the world’s truly most expensive globes are not for sale. This includes the Eartha, currently the world’s largest rotating globe.
Picture from

Even those originally for sale were special commissions for the rich and powerful, including the pair of celestial and terrestrial globes made for Louis XIV (almost 4 meters across each).

The previously mentioned globes are huge, but you’ll be surprised that even more expensive globes are rather quite small. Probably the most expensive globe is hidden as a surprise inside the jeweled egg made by the Russian jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé for the 300th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty.
The Romanov Tercentenary Egg (with globe surprise)

Since this egg is just 3 inches in diameter, that makes the globe surprise less than 3 inches across.

How much, you ask? We can only guess. But while the price of Fabergé eggs can run into the millions of dollars, their historic, cultural, and artistic value make them truly irreplaceable priceless masterpieces.

The House of Fabergé also made actual (but still decorative) globes for customers. These are also fabulous. One example, made of gold and rock crystal, is part of the Fabergé collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Another is part of the British Royal Collection.

Down to earth ...

Whatever size they come, whatever materials they are made with, the world’s most expensive globes are a testament to man’s fascination with the earth, and the ingenuity with which we create tributes to it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Globes in movies

by Trey Thomas

The allure of globes

Globes hold a certain appeal for people. Carolyn Burrell, a collector of early 20th-century globes, writes:
Watch people around a globe. First they look at it, then they might touch a country, and then, almost universally, they spin it. Globes, it seems, are irresistible.
It is no wonder that many groups have globes for their emblems – the United Nations and the World Bank being famous examples.

United Nations emblem
United Nations emblem
World Bank emblem
World Bank emblem

The Call of the Movies

Movie studios are not immune to this global attraction. It is no wonder that globes have appeared either as a studio identity icon, or featured in movies themselves.

As a movie studio identity, probably no other globe can take credit for appearing in as many movies (more than 3,400 and counting), and in as many incarnations, as the Universal Studios globe logo.
Universal Studios logo

This globe appears in most of Universal Studios/Universal Pictures films. It's evolution is traced in this My Filmviews article, but they look much better animated, as in this YouTube compilation.

Huge, revolving metal versions of this logo are found as fountain centerpieces in the various locations of the Universal Studios theme parks all over the world.

Then there's the Golden Globe Award statuette of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). This features a globe hugged by a film strip – in solid zinc plated with 24-karat gold. Although this globe is all about excellence in movies and TV, no one remembers this globe being featured in a major movie.
Golden Globe Award statue (from Wikipedia)
Golden Globe Award statue (from Wikipedia)

Globes featured in movies

Inside movies themselves, globes are more often featured as part of an orrery, a movable model of a solar system (ours or someone else's).

Take for example in the The Dark Crystal (1982), where the character Aughra had one in her observatory where she demonstrated the Great Conjunction. This orrery was a complex affair, giving us the idea that the movie was set in a very strange, alien world.
Dark Crystal: Augrah's Orrery
Dark Crystal: Orrery

In Tomb Raider (2001), a huge orrery featured as the background in the climactic fight scene where Lara Croft fought the main villain.
Tomb Raider - Night they blew up the Orrery set! by Stefan the Cameraman, on Flickr
Tomb Raider - Night they blew up the Orrery set! by Stefan the Cameraman, on Flickr

In Prometheus (2012) the android, David, found a light globe of the earth in the alien ship. This globe, too, was part of an orrery – a holographic one.
light globe in Prometheus
Prometheus light globe

On a more intimate scale ...

But even shorter, smaller-budgeted, more personal movies can benefit from an illuminated globe's warm glow. For example, in Vania Heymann's promotional video for White Night Tel Aviv 2013. Take note of the scene at 0:56 showing the moon and a lighted globe. Intimate – even without people.
moon near globe
Moon and globe

You, too, can bask in the light of your very own illuminated globe. Browse through our stock of illuminated globes in various styles and sizes designed to complement many room styles and budgets. You might just find the one that's perfect for you.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Diplomat: Masterpiece of the Globemaker's Art

by Trey Thomas

The measure of greatness

Although pretty and precious, jeweled globes are not the pinnacle of globemaking. Instead, the highest achievement of the globemaker's art is found in the details, accuracy, and care employed in the making of a sturdy globe.

A globe that measures up

By this measure, Replogle, one of the world's most famous globemakers, has come up with "The World's Most Detailed Globe" yet seen, the Diplomat.
This 32-inch floor-standing globe has more than twenty thousand place names. In contrast, one of the biggest (around four feet across) enamel jeweled globes in the world, the Byzantine, only has five hundred place names (at $500,000.00, that's $1000.00 per place name—39 times more expensive than the Diplomat's $12,900.00 price).
At the huge end of the scale, the Guinness World Records holder of the title "World's Biggest Globe", the Eartha, at 41 feet in diameter, has no place names (to be fair, the Eartha is only a model of the world seen from space, not intended to be geographically informative or functional).
Like its idealized namesake, the Diplomat is elegant but tough as brass (its meridian is made of hand-engraved brass), polished but hard (its cradle mounting is made of mahogany hand-burnished to a smooth walnut finish), bright but stylish (touch the brass meridian, and the Diplomat will light up to reveal its ten-color cartography in all its glory).

A globe that keeps up with the times

No matter how up-to-date a globe is when first bought, the world's political climate and boundaries change. The Diplomat has been intended to keep up with recent world political changes by being updatable. Owners have the chance to update their Diplomat globes for half the retail price through the Updatable Globe Program by its manufacturing company, Replogle.
Diplomacy is not for everybody but, for the discerning globe owner or institution, the depth of information and breadth of detail that comes with the Diplomat is important for accurate and authoritative geography. Elegance is but a byproduct of the attractive ideas that went into the Diplomat's making.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Why do many people have globes in their office?

by Trey Thomas

The most common answer seems to be "for hiding something." For instance, the only answer in the Quora page asking the same question is that it enables the office workers to hide their stock of rum. Indeed, Googling for "hidden in the globe" will give you an entry for world globe hidden bars near the top results.
And, in the 2011 3D-animated Spielberg adaptation of "The Adventures of Tintin," a globe was used to hide part of The Unicorn's treasure.

Aiding the mind's eye

Of course there's more to globes than being hiding places. Globes were first intended to model the earth. In fact, world globes are more accurate than world maps because globes are spherical like the earth. As such, any straight distance on a globe between two points joined by a thread is a great circle route — used by planes or ships unless land masses, ocean currents, or trade winds either hinder or help the voyage. Paths along great circles appear straight on a globe, but curved on a flat map.
If you are a Muslim, you can better determine the qibla (the direction to face when praying) if you're using a globe than a map. [Computer and mobile phone programs linked to GPS satellites are even more accurate].
There's really nothing like holding a real globe in your hands. Google Earth may be more high-tech but the 'high-touch' of holding a world globe is incomparable and has inspired heroic journeys and discoveries (see Alex Chacón's Cross-Americas journey on a motorcyle for a more modern globe-inspired travel).

Inspiring great feats

Some of those feats were terrible, but still great. Globes have inspired conquests — globes have helped western colonizers obtain and get a grasp of their far-flung empires. A similar function is played by globes in modern corporate offices; they remind people of the global reach of their corporations and their brand — which also imparts a sense of pride and elation, if the company is doing well.
Globes are great learning tools for children. They also aid people in plotting their future travels or remembering their past adventures.
Globes truly inspire the imagination in a way no flat maps can do. And so globes are here to stay — and will continue to have a 'globe-al' demand.

Friday, June 7, 2013

From World Globe Watching to Travelling the Americas in a Motorcycle

by Trey Thomas

It is Alex Chacón’s requirement to his path of self-discovery—his journey from Alaska to Argentina by motorcycle.
From Alex Chacón’s blog (

Inspiring courage

“When I was a little kid in elementary school I'd always look at the world globe and realized how small we were, and the different places there were. So over the years I kept figuring out how I was going to go all around the world, and get to know the world before I got to know myself,” says Chacón.
It is also the first of such a trans-America crossing, spanning 503 days, 82,459 miles, 22 countries—from freezing Alaskan tundra, to steaming tropical jungles, raging Amazonian waterfalls, and back to the cold—in the isolated wilderness of Patagonia.
Footages of his motorcycle adventure posted on YouTube earned him accolades from around the world, giving people the inspiration to also reach out for their dream:

“я теперь спать не буду... респект автору! [I'm not going to sleep now ... Respect to the author!] Respect and honor! lightly envious of …” wrote Igor Batenev.
“watched this from Start to Finish and genuinely wished there was more! awesome adventure man, I don't drive a motorcycle but I want to after watching this and take it across the same route :O” said Thomas O'Sullivan.
“Muito bom! Vc acaba de realizar o sonho de muita gente [Very good! U just realized the dream of many people]” wrote Paulo Henrique Boblitz.
At Chacón’s Motorcycle Adventure blog, an Indian fan was touched to write:
“Hi,my name is Yash i am from INDIA.Just watched your video yesterday on facebook through a friend. "Inspired me" I myself am a rider.I have traveled through most of the part of North India but not Leh.Telling the truth i was scared of it.But now after watching your video and seeing you drive through all those terrains gave me courage and confidence.Really man it was amazing that someone out there is giving it all to riding.Am now planning for my trip.Thanks a lot! May you get a TV show like "Long Way Down" and inspire young riders like me.”

From a globe, a dream

It’s wonderful to see such a dream realized. To think it all started with just a world globe. One wonders if the same dream could have ever been made if Chacón were not able to hold a real world globe in his hands.
Could computer maps and virtual globes create such a sense of wonder in a child? By extension, what sort of creativity do virtual worlds—video games for example—produce in a child? We can only wonder.

Here’s the Latin American leg of Alex Chacón's motorcycle journey:
You too can dream and achieve. And dreaming is much better with a globe in your hands.

globe in hands by noticelj, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  noticelj 

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