Spin the Globe
In every elementary class room I spent time in growing up there was always a globe. I remember them as being pretty large. Some were on floor stands that came to up to our chests, others were table top versions. Regardless of size, they were typically tucked in the corner of the room, never holding a place of prominence, yet always present.
Strangely, I never once remember a teacher using one of these globes to teach. We used maps here and there — the world map that she would pull down over the chalkboard or the United States map in our text book, but never did she refer to the globe, point out countries we were discussing, or even use it as a scientific or astronomical tool.
Despite the globe’s dusty, lonely existence in my childhood classrooms, I somehow developed over the years a healthy love for them. My obsession with maps and wanderlust undoubtedly play a large role in my globe passion, but I can also equate the love because of a game I used to play during those formative years.
I don’t know who started the game or why, but one day that unused globe became our mystical device we would use to determine our future — specifically our honeymoon destination. Yes, honeymoon. Not the next place we would visit or where we would one day live, Spin the Globe was always a game that determined where on earth we would spend our honeymoon with our future partner.
Looking back I find this rather odd as I was not the girl to pine over boys, dream of a princess wedding, or even contemplate married life in general. I have to believe this game had little to do with my future nuptials, but was just one of the early indicators that I would undoubtedly become inflicted with a severe case of wanderlust my whole life.
How the Game Was Played
Although I’m positive I played the game on my own, I vividly remember playing it with friends more often. We would gather around the large orb and one of us would have a turn. With our pointer finger prepped, and eyes closed we would spin the globe several times with the other hand. Our vigor in making the globe really spin often required someone to hold the stand in place for fear of the globe flying off the counter or toppling over. A slight turn of the globe was not acceptable. It had to revolve several times for you to truly get an accurate honeymoon destination reading.
There were also rules in the game as cheating was often a problem. I mean, the stakes were high! If you didn’t spin correctly, took a peek to get a preferred location or positioned your index finger unfairly your destination would definitely not be random. When the outcomes were unusually skewed to Tahiti, Hawaii and/or other favorable honeymoon locations, the players would immediately call foul. Even by second grade we knew enough about statistics that the constant tropical leanings were not probable!
With a grand gesture, I’d make the spin. The globe would wobble unsteadily as I prepped my pointer finger ready to pierce the globe and reveal my fate. Occasionally there would be a slight finger injury depending on how fast the globe was spinning, like putting your feet down on the road to stop your banana seat bike’s propulsion versus using the back pedal brakes. After a little sliding and a slight burn on my finger pad, the globe would stop.
“The middle of the Atlantic Ocean!” the chorus would chime.
Landing in the ocean was an automatic redo and spin #2 would immediately commence with hopes that a land-based destination would be revealed.
“You’re going to Yemen!”
I won’t lie. When a less than appealing destination manifested, there was an occasional squabble or a sly spin without others noticing to get a more favorable spot. There may also be profuse claims of globe-spinning malfunctions that required a do-over. Depending on the day, how much time was left at recess, or just plain how you ranked in the clique that month, the audience was either adamantly staunch or merciful to your romantic future.
Once the revel was over, and the recess bell rang, I’d spend a little time pondering my honeymoon in Yemen. With my lack of travel knowledge I’d think, ‘What on earth will we do in Yemen?’ Ironically, today, this pre-determined destination would fill me with curiosity!
Spin the Globe 40 Years Later
Fast forward to today and I can honestly say I still play this game. I don’t use it to determine my honeymoon, as that trip occurred many moons ago (and for those who are curious, Tahiti did make the cut as well as Thailand,) but I have actually spun a globe to consider a vacation destination. I have also spent many hours (yes, hours) thumbing through a Google world map contemplating ‘where could we go’ and ‘what if I went’ questions. If this isn’t a sign of being inflicted with wanderlust, I don’t know what is.
With 7 different globes in my house, including a globe of the moon (a gift for my daughter from her Christmas list one year), there is no shortage of opportunity for me to play Spin the Globe on any given day. It’s weirdly one of the most satisfying ways I keep my wanderlust alive and well!