Collector’s Corner — Travel Writer Emily Grosvenor’s Love of Globes

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Collector's Corner — Emily Grosvenor's Love of Globes

Emily Grosvenor’s favorite globe is a Cold War-era turquoise globe given to her by a schoolteacher friend.

Here at Krrb Classifieds we love a good collection, especially one that’s unique. From where the collection began to the most significant item, we want to know the story behind it all. So we’re reaching out to collectors everywhere to find out what they collect and why!

With a never-ending case of wanderlust, travel writer Emily Grosvenor naturally has a love for globes. Spinning them and lazily running a finger as the continents speed by, dreaming about what could be. Emily lives in Oregon with her husband and two sons and proudly displays her collection in her home office where she writes about places far and wide. See how the love affair began.

Hi Emily! First off, why did you start collecting globes?
About seven years ago I saw globes used as decorative objects in the home of an artist in Salem, Oregon. I was blown away – she had a row of them high up near the ceiling on a shelf. I was drawn to how those globes drew my eye up to an area of the room that doesn’t generally get a lot of visual attention. I’ve always adored maps. I can happily spend an hour or two looking at a map, memorizing the contours of landscapes and imagining the places they depict. I think long afternoons spent looking at maps are one reason I became a travel writer. But to me, globes are better. You can’t hug a map! As I have built my collection they have started to mean something else, two contrasting ideas: Our tiny tilting planet (set against the expansiveness of the universe), and the vastness of the world (and me, so small, yet connected to it, still).

Collector's Corner — Emily Grosvenor's Love of Globes

Emily displays four of her globes in the home office where she writes.

What’s the rarest globe you have in your collection?
All of my globes are Cold War-era because they show the geopolitical boundaries of my childhood. I have fond memories of trying to learn how to spell Czechoslovakia, and it’s often comforting to think back to a time when I understood politics in more binaries terms. It’s the same reason I will always watch a Cold War-era thriller but can’t get into stories about terrorism. The threat feels too fresh, the conflicts too topical. I also choose globes based simply on how beautiful they are – I’m always looking to complete my collection with a new color. All of this is to say that I don’t care a lick about whether something is rare or not.

Which globe has the most significance to you and why?
I’m a terrible person to buy gifts for because gift-giving is something of an epic pursuit in my family. Who knows you the best or even better than yourself? So I was thrilled and surprised when my friend Lisa bought me a globe I my favorite color, a light sea foam green. I’m not really even on gift-giving terms with Lisa (not that kind of friendship), so it blew me a way that there was even a globe out there that seemed made for me, that it reminded her of me, and that she thought to acquire for me.

Collector's Corner — Emily Grosvenor's Love of Globes

Emily made her son into a globe for their local Alien Parade.

What do you look for when adding globes to your collection?
I don’t really want any more globes, and I’ve written about why on my blog. I believe strongly in keeping living spaces uncluttered and that I start a collection to process a stage of life I am progressing through. I was drawn to globes after I had my first child, at a time when I felt trapped by immobility and when travel seemed off limits. I had considered myself a world traveler (I worked at a foreign embassy in Washington, D.C. as my first job out of college) and for months all I did was shuffle from our house to the mailbox. Once I identified the psychology behind my collection, I felt no need to acquire any more. I still buy globes for my kids (like a plush globe for my preschooler), and accept globe gifts (like a necklace from a friend), but I’m not actively acquiring them. These days, I channel my acquisitive eye for globes by snapping photos of them when I see cool ones and sharing them on Instagram.

Where do you go to find globes and what’s the most unique way you’ve obtained an item?
Most of my globes were acquire for $9.99 by my husband at the local Goodwill in McMinnville. I see the same globes priced at trendy curated stores in Portland for $75. My favorite place to come across globes in Portland is the Grand Central Marketplace.

Collector's Corner — Emily Grosvenor's Love of Globes

When Emily travels, she always looks for globes. This giant collection (people tend to drop them off here) can be found at the Astoria Coffeehouse in Astoria, Oregon.

Where do you store or display your collection?
Four of my globes (I have five traditional spinning globes) are placed on two built-in bookshelves in the office where I write. I’m not going to say I had bookshelves put in just for my globes…but that might be the back story. The ceilings are high, and just as in the artist’s home where I first saw globes displayed in this way, they draw the eye upward. It pleases me that my office is in the “Travel” area of my home according to the traditional Feng Shui bagua. The baqua is kind of like a map you place over your house’s footprint to understand how energy flows through spaces. I’m not sure if it’s for real, but the principles of feng shui helps me keep things tidy and sane, so it’s fun to play around with. I also have a soft plush globe for my kids (for teaching them to love the world), and a globe necklace (display location: my neck).

Emily Grosvenor is a travel writer based in Oregon who blogs about life as a super-sniffer at Pioneer Perfume. She is writing a memoir about travel and scent. Follow her on Twitter @emilygrosvenor.