Imagine all your favourite stories on a world map. The places are all there: the hidden corner where you gave your first kiss, the backcountry little town and its inhabitants as your grandmother told you about, the cities in which you passed your best sleepless nights. You can leaf through them, watch pictures, (soon) videos and taste a bit of the place’s atmosphere thanks to the words of those who were there for real. Because, as it’s written in their project’s Homepage, Maptia‘s creators “are collecting stories from all over the world. From every country, every culture, and every background”.
What’s Maptia? A platform through which you can share contents on a map, in the form of stories. And, very important, it’s made by travelers for travellers (and readers). I found it wandering on the web, looking for new travel blogs to add to my reader. It intrigued me from the first moment, and graphic and photos did the rest.
One of the first phrases I read, while I browse the official blog, is a quote by Wade Davis:
“In the end, I think it’s pretty obvious at least to all of all us who’ve travelled in these remote reaches of the planet, to realize that they’re not remote at all. They’re homelands of somebody“.
It reminds me of the first time I’ve been in Northern Ireland at Stephen’s house. How many times I heard talking about the beautiful, green, magic Ireland before? So many I can’t tell. It seemed to me a far land, different, strange. Then, arriving there with someone who can call it home, the perspective changed completely. Maybe it’s the difference between tourists and travellers; maybe, even more, between travellers and stateless explorers. Anyway, a place is a lot closer if you think about it with in mind what Davis too says.
One of Maptia’s goals seems to be this one: to make closer places and cultures through the stories of the ones who live or lived them. In other words, those of the co-founder Jonny Miller that in a beautiful post on the official blog tells us about the cultural thinker Roman Krznaric, Maptia wants to create Empathy: to let us see the world with others’ eyes.
The site, in its first version, it’s made of stories, set in a place on the map, and of posts, contents that make the stories. For now it’s possible to post images and texts, but Maptia’s creatores assure that in a future version they will add videos and sounds to make the experience even more touching.
At the moment you have to wait for an invitation to join the community or to send them a text and some photos to be considered: this factor, plus the scrupulous Guide to Storytelling are putting hopes in a platform with contents well cured and of a certain substance.
I’ll try to send them something? Maybe. For now I’ll wait as everyone else 😉
And maybe I’ll become part of the Travel Manifesto printing my declaration of traveller because
“I want to see the world. Follow a map to its edges, and keep going. Forgot the plans. Trust my instincts. Let curiosity be my guide. I want to change hemispheres. Sleep with unfamiliar stars and let the journey unfold before me.