Let’s take a trip backward in time to elementary and middle school when every subject was new and a learning experience. Remember when you learned that “x = 4” in one problem and “x = 9” in another? I still haven’t figured out why “x” shouldn’t be the same all the time. But, math was never my best subject. But geography – that’s another subject and one I really liked.
As Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve grew, we began shipping to countries all over this wide, wide world and geography became a relevant subject. At last count, we have shipped our all natural and organic products to over eighty countries.
We have a world map in our shop with push-pins on each country to which we ship. I get so excited each time I place a new pin on the map, but more importantly, the map has been a fascinating study in geography.
Although most of us have a simple version of a world map stored in our brain, just how accurate is that map? If someone asked, “where is Europe relative to the United States?” most people would respond that Europe lies directly east of the U.S.
Since the climate of the Eastern U.S. is very similar to the climate of Western Europe, thanks to the Gulf Stream, it seems logical that they are a similar distance from the Equator. But the majority of Europe is directly east of Canada. Warm and sunny Cannes, on the southern Mediterranean coast of France, is about 10 miles farther north than Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Here are a few interesting observations I noticed while sticking pins in the Chagrin Valley wall map. Get out your globe and be amazed. (The answers are at the end of this post.)
1. Draw a vertical line (longitude line) north from the westernmost edge of South America, where does the line pass in the United States?
2. Draw a horizontal line (latitude line) west from the southernmost shore of England, where does it pass when it hits North America?
3. Which country is closer to Russia? The United States or Germany?
4. What is the westernmost state in the United States?
5. Which city is farther west, Reno Nevada or Los Angeles California?
6. Which is farther north, Portland Oregon or Toronto Canada?
7. Draw a horizontal line (latitude line) west from Rome, through which major Midwestern American city will it pass?
If you peeked at the answers, I’ll bet you were surprised. I certainly was!
What I find even more amazing is that people from all over the world have found our little company and placed orders. Just a few short years ago, our international “footprint” did not exist. Our wide, wide world is becoming smaller. In the words made famous by Disney . . .
"There is just one moon and one golden sun
And a smile means friendship to everyone.
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It's a small small world."
It may be a Wide, Wide World, but always keep in mind the words of Canadian novelist Margaret Laurence, “Know that although in the eternal scheme of things you are small, you are also unique and irreplaceable, as are all your fellow humans everywhere in the world.”
- Orlando, Florida and Cleveland, Ohio
- Nova Scotia
- The USA, only 54 miles from the Aleutian Islands of Alaska
- Alaska – Cape Wrangell, Alaska (Attu Island)
- Reno is about 80 miles closer to the International Dateline than is LA.
- Portland Oregon, where it rarely snows, is about 130 miles farther north than Toronto, and over 200 miles farther north than Boston.