We've both wanted to track his travels somehow, and I finally came up with something.
I started by purchasing a 24"x36" bulletin board at Walmart for $9.97. There were different frame colors, and I chose one with a black frame.
Then I found a map I liked on AllPosters.com. I chose one that's 24"x36" and has time zones on the top and country flags on the bottom.
Click here for the exact map I bought. The map was $8.99 and I found a discount code for 20% off (I just searched Google and found a good code on RetailMeNot.com). I had to pay shipping, so the map total was around $12.
Now, you might think that since the cork board was 24"x36" and the map was 24"x36" that they would fit together perfectly. Nope. Not the case.
I had to cut off the strip of flags from the bottom, which I wasn't too happy about.
Then I was able to fit the map over the cork board, sliding the edges under the black frame. I put blue map pins in the corners to hold the map in place.
I bought a package of map pins from Staples (I already had the light blue ones on hand but didn't have enough total for this project). They were about $5, which I thought was a bit much.
When I got home, I realized these pins are too long for my project. They would stick out too far from the map, and I was afraid they would get bumped off the map by passersby or little hands. So I searched and searched and searched.
Then I found the perfect thing at Office Depot.
These pins are shorter, and I only needed 3 colors anyway. Click here for these exact map pins.
*Discount alert: These exact packages of map pins are $1.99 on OfficeDepot.com, but in store they are a whopping $3.69! I had printed out the description/picture of them from the website so I could find the right item, so I showed the clerk the price on my printout. She price matched them for me! I needed two packages, so I got them both for only slightly more than what one would have cost in store. She said they'll always price match with competitors or with their own website.
We decided to use red pins for places we've been together, white pins for places Jared has been, and black pins for places Jared only briefly visited.
Jared went through his passport and old travel documents and created a list of places he's been. He made a table with columns labeled Continent, Country, City, and Help Locating.
The places highlighted in yellow are locations where Jared briefly stopped but didn't stay.
The last step was just locating each place on Jared's list and pinning it on our map. This was a great geography refresher for me! I had to Google a few places to figure out where they were.
I couldn't fit all the pins in the UK area because we've been to several different places there, and the pins are too close together.
For the U.S. we decided to only mark places we've been together since he's been all over America for work, and it would be hard to fit pins in all those places on this little map.
For now, we hung up the map in the boys' room. Nora loves to touch the pins but insists that she won't move them. :)
It feels good to complete one of my long-term dream projects!