Long Weekend Map Project

8 years, 6 months ago 28


I’ve been feeling a little bit worn out, uninspired and travel-sick lately, so this long weekend I took time off dolls to draw another map of my recent travels in Europe. It was either that, or vegging out on the couch and feeling sorry for myself. At least I did something productive. I believe these maps are a side effect of my obsessive-compulsive tendencies towards sorting, organizing and compartmentalizing my experiences, memories, feelings, goals and possessions. And since I’m a visual and a sentimental person, this tendency sometimes manifests in maps. (click for larger images)


Charting out travels is somewhat cathartic, but it doesn’t cure my wander-lust, only makes it worse. So much of the world still needs to be seen! And I intend to keep adding new routes and journeys to this map until there isn’t any blank space left to draw on.


These are my mementos of distance. They are fragments of rocks and flora, collected from different places in the world which I’ve visited and brought home with me. Like the rest of my world, they are neatly compartmentalized and labeled. I open one vial, inhale the scent of volcanic pebbles and remember being atop Mt. Vesuvius and the sensation of my earrings swinging against my neck in the strong wind as I look down in wonder at the sprawl of Naples below; I open another, and smell the salty surf breaking on the rocky beach of the Pacific coastline of Vancouver Island; I open a third one, and get transported to a tree-shaded park in Prague, where Chad and I fell sleep one hot summer afternoon while counting clouds…These little bottles are time capsules and I’m a time traveler.


I also keep this old Flammarion engraving framed where I can always see it, because I find it to be a deeply profound visual representation of human curiosity and our relentless search for new experiences and knowledge about our world and beyond. It shows us needing and reaching for something larger than ourselves and our immediate surroundings. This simple and brilliant drawing deeply resonates with my own longings and inspires me every day.

There is a blank scroll at the bottom of the drawing where I want to insert a quote by R.L Steventson, which says: “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign”.

28 Responses

  1. sailor_orbit says:

    ah i wish i had your freedom to travel like that

  2. Marina says:

    I’m not that free…
    I’ve got my own commitments, deadlines, shows budgets. It’s never as simple as packing a suitcase and leaving on the first flight to any destination. There is always that work thing in the way…

  3. Jeanette says:

    How I wish I could also see the world and its treasures…

    I simply adore your little bottles of memories, Marina!

  4. hannah says:

    Where did you get the bottles? Now I’m mad for not bottling up the rocks and flora from the visits of the national parks I went to…..this is going to bug me forever now, cause even if I go back it just wont be the same!!!!! I’m stressed! :(

  5. Dawn says:

    Dear Marina,
    Thank you! Very enjoyable reading and lovely presentation:) I love your bottled places idea, I could almost smell them.
    I never would have guessed that you were a cartographer. Your map is beautiful. I like the look of the sea monster.
    I hope you have many more travels.

  6. MissLK says:

    I am too infested with wanderlust :) I tried different ways to capture my experiences and one being sending myself a postcard full of little notes and sketches while I was traveling. When I receive the postcards long after the trip ended, it’s like re-living the time or getting a love letter from a secret admirer :)

    The good thing is cleansing effect of a travel is not limited to bold adventures to exotic foreign lands… Sometimes I find even just changing my own mindset or the type of coffee beans in the morning brew already help.

  7. Marina says:

    Umm, postcards…. that’s an interesting idea. I’m trying that from my next destination! Thanks!

  8. Signe says:

    Love the falling star and the octopus. The stamps in russia are a nice detail too! I recognise the sun from the Flammarion print! I get the travelbug now and then, but lately it is mostly manifesting in going on horserides. Last year I went to Gent (Belgium) though. Wonderful medieval place! You would enjoy it too! Googlemaps is great too. I revisit some places and the memories come flooding back! The bottles are a great idea to capture the smells!!

  9. I don’t mean to come across as pedantic, but the spelling is “vial” – it just seems unfair to call those lovely little things “vile”!
    I also travel much and have my own collection of memos from faraway places, in a special closet I call my “treasure closet” that also hosts all my travel diaries. It’s a little museum in and of itself :)

  10. Marina says:

    Damn that auto spell check!

    Vials indeed. I blame being a Russian. English is my second language. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

  11. Joe says:

    What a great and beautiful way to remember your travels and experiences. I love that they are stored in such a wonderful way, I also understand the need to have a visual representation of those experiences. It also kinda negates the need to buy something to remember the trip too.

  12. Glynis says:

    Gorgeous!! They look vaguely medieval,just above the “d” and to the east on United Kingdom,is where in am,Yorkshire. Also known as Gods country!! I too love the little bottles,what a clever idea. I would think you would love Japan Marina,it’s so mysterious in places.

  13. Hazel says:

    It’s amazing that you document your travels with such beautiful things! I have a bit of wanderlust myself, although so far I’ve been limited only to my country. Someday, though, someday…

  14. Amal says:

    Beautiful. Like the distressed edges and the lettering.

    Do you dream in Russian, or English?

  15. Ama says:

    Enjoying the beautiful and magical reflections of a beautiful, positively weird soul ;)

  16. Kate says:

    I highly encourage these “obsessive-compulsive tendencies”, though I wouldn’t classify them so harshly. This kind of detail would be great to include in your next book–I think it would be interesting to know more about how your travels influence your work, or vise-versa. The collection of travels is very pretty in those jars, I like how you’ve found a way to collect momenta that are meaningful and not kitschy.

  17. Sabrina says:

    Is that a beetle encased in glass to the right of the glass jars?

  18. sailor_orbit says:

    haha well i didn’t mean that you had absolute freedom but you are the boss of yourself, so basically can decide or give permission to yourself. but it is hard to have a lot of self discipline. Now that I am not a student anymore and working full time, i am finding it very difficult to travel compared to when i was a student. Have you thought to make prints of your maps in parchment paper? they’re really nice.

  19. Merri says:

    I love your maps, not because of where you have or haven’t been, but just for the sheer visual pleasure they bring. I especially love the little vignettes you add, my favourites being the train, viking ship and hot air balloon!

  20. maria soares says:

    Oh! so funny, i do exactely what you do….i do my maps, and a travel books, with all tge moments , stories, and tickets…ofcourse and the photos.But the moast funny i also have my travel capsules, with rocks, plants, sands….like you have, in the same botles and cork…and the date, name of the place…gosh…now i’m feeling so good, i’m not the only person with the same feelings…if one day you decide to come to Portugal, you will be surprise with it…please let me be your guide…i’ll love it!

  21. Annina says:

    as a former cartographer i say, beautiful map! ♥

  22. jaime says:

    Wonderfull. how beautifull is everything in your life, kisses

  23. Alicia T says:

    Having read through the comment i feel unfortunate to not be able to see your maps, but am greatfull to have found your collection of dolls. Not only do they remind me of childhood but they inspire me to create and want to achieve my dreams. I would like to fancy myself an artist and seamstress but you have put my work to shame. In saying that I know that even the less talented or experianced can still gift us with inspiration, so if u feel inclined feel free to check out my Flikr profile. There are a few drawing on there that I have wanted to use as templates for costumes and sculptures but in your hands I think that they could florish. As for your traveling experiances, charish them to the fullest. Life is like a bushel of strawberries, if we eat them all at once we have an upset stomach. If we let them sit to long they will go bad. In my experiance I learned early and to late this lesson(at least in strawberries,lol). I’ve found that that tends to be the way with those of us with obsessive compulsive tendancies,smiles. I hope this finds you well and refreshed.

  24. Aeroksana says:

    Mermaid …
    Ah, St. Petersburg, only once visited …
    Counting clouds …
    Journey through time and space …
    Deeply resonates …

    How many wonderful treasures grown up your soul!

  25. Cloudy says:

    That map! wow!!

  26. Beth says:

    That map is remarkable. What a multi-talented person you are!

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  28. Agostina says:

    I love the idea of the map you made and how well organised it looks! I have thought a lot about how to display properly places were i been to but so far it seems that painting the place it would lose the name or, if they are too close, i could paint the wrong state, zone or “provincia” (Sorry my awful english its not my main lenguaje) but your photos…! The simple dots and lines, the lines of color and the art of the map itself (That i have to ask if you draw it yourself) its amazing! As well as the different collections of memories <3 ah so well organized!

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