Maphead Chapter 8- Meander- Review by Raychel Johnson

Hello, my name is Raychel J., I’m a freshman, and I really haven’t been anywhere. I was born in Austin, and have lived here my whole life. I have yet to travel outside of the state of Texas, (I’m trapped), but I have high hopes for when I do start to travel. I would like to visit California, Canada, France, England, Italy, and quite a few other places. I’m taking French because I was also considering studying abroad in France or England, and I believe it would be quite a helpful language over there.

In chapter 8, Meander, Ken Jennings discusses how international travel has evolved, and how travel can benefit our perspective and knowledge of geography. The chapter begins talking about the Travelers’ Century Club, which leads to the conclusion that “America’s infamous lack of map savvy ha[s] something to do with our reluctance to travel overseas.” (Jennings, 151) He goes on to talk about “country baggers” (Jennings, 153) which are people considered obsessed with visiting more and more countries and won’t stop until they complete a self-created checklist. Jennings moves to discuss other similar clubs such as the Highpointers Club, “founded by Jack Longacre, an Arkansas trucker who enjoyed visiting state high points” (Jennings 155), and people such as Peter Holden, who has eaten at more than twelve thousand McDonald’s. The topic of checklists is touched on as well, and Ken Jennings describes completing a checklist as “the universal smug thrill of crossing something off a to-do list, and finishing a checklist is even better, you recognize things in their entirety. If you can say you’ve got one hundred percent of something in your background, you don’t have to worry that you missed out on something.” (Jennings, 158) While Jennings is talking to Charles Veley, the world’s most travelled man, he points out that it’s not only going to the places that makes it great, it’s also meeting all the local people at each location that makes it worthwhile. Of course, money is a trouble with visiting many countries, but Chris Guillebeau, an average American citizen, found out that he could visit 100 countries for $30,000, which is far less than the over one million dollars estimate that Veley spent on his travels. Guillebeau also believes people racking up countries to make an official list or those who rely on an external reward need to reconsider their motivation, because there isn’t any external reward, the only reward is what you get from yourself.

I chose to cover chapter 8 not because I can relate to it (since I’ve never travelled) but because being able to travel whenever and wherever I want is a goal of mine. I also want to live out of this country or study abroad to experience other cultures. Personally, I love the idea of the Travelers’ Century Club, because people who all enjoy excessive travelling can share their experiences and ideas with like-minded people. But I think the people who want to visit all of the Starbucks and McDonald’s ideas’ are a bit far-fetched and a tad unnecessary, because what grand experiences do you get from going to McDonald’s all over the country? I also agree with the author in that if you travel more, you’ll be more geographically aware of the world if you actually go see it.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this book as I’ve always been a fan of maps and geography, and this book heightened my perspective, and allowed me to think beyond maps, but also to the stories behind maps and what they meant then compared to now and how they can be applied to any situation.

Travelers Century Club Pic



5 thoughts on “Maphead Chapter 8- Meander- Review by Raychel Johnson

  1. I really liked your post and you made a lot of good points. I completely agree that there is no reason to visit every Starbucks/ McDonalds. People should travel to experience new things, not visit the same thing in a thousand different places. I was wondering if you believed in creating a list and visiting all the places on the list since you mentioned you wanted to travel a lot when you got older? Or do you, like Guillebeau, feel it ruins the experience?


  2. Wow, Texas your entire life…that’s too bad little J. If you join MUN, you can come to Vienna this summer. That’s really impressive that you’re considering study abroad! What interests you in England, though? Anyways, your post was excellent! You really captured the essence of this chapter, which was one of my favorites. You highlighted the most essential aspects of the narrative, and compared and contrasted differences in the types of travellers with very original insight. I’m glad Maphead opened up ideas and perspectives for you. Rock on Raychel.


  3. Raychel, I cannot believe you haven’t travelled out of Texas before! I think it’s great that you wish to study abroad or live out of the country, I too hope to do these things. Your post is brilliant, and you obviously understood and connected to the chapter. I’m glad you now have a higher level of understanding about maps and their significance due to this chapter. Great job on this review Raychel!


  4. I really enjoyed reading your post Raychel, because my sister also wants to go to college in London at Regents. Also you did a very good job at summarizing this chapter and i agree with you that it is a tad bit excessive to visit all the Starbucks and McDonalds chain resturants. Good job and good luck.


  5. Raychel, I think your blog was really well written and I enjoyed reading it. I completely agree about the “Starbucks and McDonald’s lists” are a little bit too overboard. Having cousins that go to school in England, I think it is a great idea that you want to travel abroad. For my question to you I would have to ask if you could make a “club” (ex. Highpointers Club, Travelers Century Club, etc.) what would it be?


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