georgia, mapped by esther k.
Georgia is where I learned to smile at strangers and take for granted miles of green and lazy purple skies. This is a map of Georgia, as it is on my mind, scaled by memories rather than distance
made by Andrew Arnold, after a year on the Fulbright scholarship in Korea
check out his documentary on little Korean monks here
Seoul is a massive metropolitan city, but for a year I got to call this little corner cafe district my home. The Hapjeong-Hongdae-Sangsu triangle is located in western side of town, sitting just above the Han River. It houses Hongdae University, known for its outstanding art program, and a maze of side streets lined with cafés, hip clothing boutiques, restaurants and bars. The area is busy 24/7 - during the day, cafés offer quiet places to study, and at night the bars become loud boisterous places for mingling. Luckily my friend and I lived in a neighborhood just outside of the triangle called Seogyo-dong. Our apartment, including the surrounding neighborhood, was stuck in Korea circa 1980, and it's side roads are lined with bundles of tangled telephone wires stretched from building to building.
From the late spring to early fall, I would run from my apartment to the Han river, where there's a paved route alongside the river for cyclists. Jogging along the Han became part of my daily regimen. Not many people jog around the streets of Seoul (perhaps a side effect of watching too many Korean dramas in which the protagonist dies in a car accident) but alongside the river, you can find Seoulites doing all kinds of exercise and recreation; cycling, jogging, swimming, windsurfing, in the fall people fly kites and in the spring people tread along the Han in duck-shaped paddleboats.
I spent my spring semester abroad in Mongolia, based in Ulaanbaatar. At first the city-- with its freezing temperatures, dizzying traffic, post-Soviet buildings, and ger camps-- felt impenetrable. But gradually, my friends and I created a home for ourselves; we took pleasure in each little cafe, buuz restaurant, each wheezing bus route and monument we passed. Eventually, we got around through landmarks, just as the Mongolians do.
This map is dedicated to my fellow explorers, Wendy and Spencer. We were in Hong Kong for two months together during a summer internship program in 2012. We ate our way through weekdays exhausted and adventure-hungry, and weekends we spent hopping through islands, often getting lost in humid wilderness.
mapped by kening, 2013
Notes from Wendy:
what’s hong kong? amazing friends with whom I shared surreal adventures with
favorite adventure? Sai Kung (top right corner) So many things could have gone wrong but they didn’t, and instead it put the EPIC before adventures. Trying to get on the rickety speed boat in dark, turbulent, hip-deep waters was a scary experience! You can feel the panic because everyone was trying to get on at the same time, not noticing that they were actually pushing the boat further away from shore. It felt like a dream because the water was ink black while the sky was lit up with lightning forks in the distance.
advice for future explorers? You can never buy too much MopiDick because the mosquitoes in HK are deadly. Friends are essential to an awesome time!
This is Manhattan as I knew it at the end of my sophomore year at Columbia. I had hosted so, so many friends who were hopping through the city. Each time they asked for recommendations, my head would swirl with places, until eventually, I made this map to show them. Places like Cha-An teahouse, where I had spent many Friday evenings with people dearest to me, and the Strand, where I spent many hours standing and reading.
mapped by kening, 2012
This is the origin of Wandermaps (as mentioned in my letter, back when I went by Connie instead of Kening. The places are unlabeled because Esther was with me on my journey of discovering them. They were magnolia trees, and open fields, and park benches, and nooks over bridges, mulberry bushes. This map made Durham more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.
mapped by esther, 2009