What does maps over coffee mean?
Welcome to Maps over Coffee! Thank you for taking the time to visit.
You may be wondering where the name comes from. I think it best describes who we are.
We are Steve and Lillian. And we have been finding our way around the world one road trip at a time. While we have been at it for a while now, we are brand new to telling about it.
We think of Maps Over Coffee as a description of every great trip. From planning, traveling, to remembering it all starts with these 2 things: Sitting down with a warm cup of coffee and watching the sunrise. With map in hand, the possibilities are endless.
Maps are an indispensable part of planning a trip. There is an elemental difference between a dream and a goal. Simply put, a goal is a dream in writing. Isn’t that an apt description of a map? All of these possible little dreams laid out before us. The opportunities are as optimistic as the fresh day and the steam rising from your cup.
But this image can be as much about dreaming as it is about nostalgia. You see, while maps are an exciting part of planning, they are also a constant companion on the trip.
What starts as a clean, fresh map of potentialities is slowly converted to a journal of realities. With all of the creases from being taken in and out of a backpack or glove box. With all of the highlights and jotted notes. With every coffee or wine stain the stories unfold along all of those paths we crossed. They become our constant sidekick and often times are better storytellers than we are. They are an inseparable part of each journey we have taken.
At times it is nice to pull these out. To smile as with an old traveling companion. As much to remember the past as to spark a new dream.
We started Maps over Coffee in hopes of finding kindred spirits. While we like the idea of the nomadic lifestyle so many traveling blogs endorse, we do not have those circumstances as of yet.
We do not travel full time. Daily obligations and being with people we love are a large part of what keeps us tethered to home right now.
Don’t get me wrong, we travel a lot. And we love every last trip we have taken. But what we have had to learn to do is to make the most out of limited resources. Obviously because traveling takes two things: Time and money. When we budget our money well enough, we may spend more time discovering new places. That does not mean we always save money. It’s a matter of making frugal choices on some things so that we can splurge on others. Our motto: Conserve and splurge!
conserve and splurge!
For example, when planning a trip to Iguazu falls in Argentina (link) we saved money on transportation by taking a double decker bus. Which was a cool way to see the Paraguayan countryside without the need to drive ourselves nor take a short flight. We split the accommodation costs with some amazing friends and stayed at these incredible cabinas!
Although we were on a shoestring budget, we had the experience of a lifetime. We had luxury accommodations, were able to pay for the boat ride up into the falls, and to finish off the evening – a late Argentinian steak dinner and Malbec wine. We never look back and wish we had spent more on transportation or cheap souvenirs. But we are so glad we didn’t pass up these ubiquitous experiences.
Or when traveling around Iceland the first time, we conserved our food budget but splurged on some amazing places to stay. And once again, we had the best traveling companions anyone could ask for. By splitting the accommodation costs, we were able to comfortably enjoy two weeks in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Or the second time we went to Iceland. We saved money on accommodations by camping around the entire country. By doing so, we saw a different side of Iceland and it’s landscape. We had enough to splurge on a whale watching excursion in Husavik. And we were able to have a guided truck take us to the interior where we camped beneath 5 volcanoes. Do not miss this opportunity. Here is the tour company we went with.
HAVE I DIGRESSED?
Please forgive the divergence. The point is that all of these experiences have led up to this blog. We could waste time saving up enough money to do everything on a trip. Or worse, not taking the trip at all because we don’t think we have the budget!
But instead we have learned some great ways to see the world on a very small budget. In fact, I would have to say that the less money we have had to spend, the more we have gotten out of each trip.
We want to help others to pull off their own adventures. To get past whatever roadblocks there are. To pull out the map and see the possibilities. Because with every highway designed for the masses, there are countless side roads that lead to the same place. And often, in a much more scenic way.
It is our endeavor to inspire you with some of our past trips and share our future plans as well. We want to be a resource for inspiration, motivation, and even some help getting geared up. All the while showing some little hacks to keep it all within budget.
Road trips and soundtracks
One of our favorite things about travel are road trips! What started out as an exploration on domestic soil has now become our modus operandi internationally (we like to call it our “motor operandi”).(Actually I just made that up).(And my wife hates it).
Since I was young, my family took cross-country treks on a regular basis. I saw so much of the American west from the back of a Volkswagen Rabbit. The mountains, the deserts. The rest stops and gas stations. The jackrabbits and antelope.
For a kid, I learned early on the correlation between the journey and the destination. How there is so much to miss if you only focus on the end of the trip.
Road trips are the epitome of adventure. This is where a map can truly be in it’s element. The dots become cities, the green spaces become immense forests that seem to quiet the road. Each dotted lines becomes a dirt road begging to be taken. And at any point you are free to stop and explore.
And every road trip needs to have it’s own soundtrack. Because traveling is a story. And good stories are able to transfer you to the moment. The sights, smells, and sounds are so integrated into the same feeling.
No doubt, flipping through pictures and looking at old maps are able to bring back great memories. But when you listen to a song or an album you were discovering a new place with, it will always bring you back.
And everyone has their own taste in music. So this is highly subjective. But we will attempt to explain the memory associated with each song or album. And while you may not appreciate it in the same way, it will serve as a reminder that you need tunes for any road trip. They are and will be your long time friends that love to reminisce with you. An audio map of past adventures.
We want to provide inspiration and technical advice on trip planning. Ideas of where to go and when. What to pack and what to leave behind. And hope to make planning a part of the journey at large.
From the classic road trip to far flung corners of the earth, adventure is calling us. Pour a cup of coffee. And pull out that old map. We got a trip to plan!
Adventure is Out There
Most of us can’t travel full time. So we have to make the most out of the limited time and resources that we do have. That is why we are here. To pass some helpful tips for planning your next adventure while sharing some of ours.
Not only do we want to discuss where to go and how to get there, but we also want to cover essential gear for your travels. From fashion to function. Logistical to technical we want to keep you up to speed. All without breaking the bank.