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Re-imagining the Scratch Map

Long(ish) story short; we invented the Scratch Map concept in 2009 as an interesting way to keep a visual track all the places you’ve travelled to. It’s a map of the world with a foil surface – you scratch off the places you’ve been revealing a different colour (and often more detail) below. Then you hang it on your wall as a reminder of your adventures. Simple.

But it’s not all about looking back. You can also use the Scratch Map to inspire future travels. Of course at the moment travel is difficult, at best. That doesn’t mean you can’t make plans, but all the travel restrictions got us thinking about different ways to use the Scratch Map to experience what the world has to offer without having to leave the house (except maybe to pop down shops for ingredients). This is what we’ve come up with, so far…

World Music

You like music? We do. some of us really do. We don’t always agree on what’s good, but one things for sure; there’s a heavy UK and USA bias in our listening tastes. That means we’re missing out on a whole world of music (running short on puns already!).

The challenge: to find a new band or artist we like in every country. You know there are jazz musicians from Japan, black metal bands from Bolivia, hip hop artists from Haiti, and folk singers from Finland? We can’t guarantee you’ll find a dancehall duo from Denmark that you dig, but there could be a funk rock band from Fiji that floats your boat.

If the internet is good for two things it’s exactly this kind of research and streaming (then buying) music. So open up a new tab and get searching. Then once you’ve found your new favourite band from a country you didn’t know existed, get scratching!

Reading All Over The World

Do people still read? There are plenty of alternative ways to spend your time nowadays but there’s still nothing like sitting down and getting lost in a quality page turner – good for the brain, good for the mind. What better way to really understand a different culture than reading a novel set in a country you’ve never visited before?

OK, language may be a small hurdle here but if you choose a well known book from almost any country (or writer) you’re sure to find a translation into your preferred language. So close your eyes, place a finger on a random country on your Scratch Map then find a book set in, or written by an author from that country. There is literally a whole world out there to learn more about.

If finding authors from across the whole world is a bit daunting then focus on a smaller area – read a book set in every US state and scratch them off one by one. We’re not just talking novels here, could be history books, art books, biographies of people from wherever you choose. All roads lead to Rome. There you go, let’s start with Rome…”Alexa, tell me books set in Rome”.

Don’t have time to read? Fair enough. That’s why audiobooks were invented! No more excuses…

Cuisine

Not into reading or music (what’s wrong with you?!) Maybe cooking is more your thing? You can already use our Gourmet Scratch Map (with accompanying recipe website) to eat your way around Europe…from Albania to Wales (via Lithuania and Sardinia).

If you want to fly solo and venture outside of Europe, why not grab a fresh Scratch Map (whichever complements your decor best), pick a country at random and search for a recipe from there that makes your mouth water. Then get cooking. Whether you’re vegan, veggie, meat fiend, sugar junkie, or spice lover there is a world of cuisine out there waiting for you to create and digest.

Taste your way around the world; cook…eat…scratch. Your taste buds will definitely thank you for it.

World Cinema

Hollywood got lazy years ago. Endless sequels and prequels, lazy storytelling, action movies with zero plot, superhero movies for days, and perhaps worst of all terible remakes of fantastic foreign films. That’s not to say there aren’t some great indie films coming out of the US, but most of the good stuff is coming from further afield.

Yep, you guessed it – pick a country you’re interested in (or perhaps thinking about visiting) and find a film, or series, that was made there. Great way to see how the place looks, maybe pick up on some culture and customs, and be entertained. If you haven’t seen a japanese horror film, a Korean action thriller, or a comedy about being a taxi driver in France you’re missing out.

When you’ve watched it…scratch it, and keep track of what films you’ve watched from where. You could even scribble the film’s name on your map (Scratch Map Chalk Edition would be perfect for this). It’s your map, you can do whatever you want with it!

Mother Tongue

OK, learning a language from every country in the world (or even just one other country) is a big challenge.

So don’t bite off more than you can chew, but why not learn your favourite phrase (‘two beers please’, ‘which way is the beach?’) in as many languages as you can? Then, when you find yourself holidaying there you’ll be sitting on the beach with a couple of cold ones before you know it.

Or make it even simpler and grab our Hello Map – once you’ve scratched off every country you’ll be able to say ‘Hello’ in over 190 countries and dozens of languages. Great way to impress people, and be polite to the locals when you’re abroad.

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So that’s what we’ve come up with so far, and we’re getting stuck in. We’re sure there are plenty of other ways to use a Scratch Map to inspire you to broaden your horizons and see what the world has to offer. If you think of any more do let us know.