“Some people are stuck with terror at the thought of finding themselves alone and at a loose end in a big city, but we can’t think of no better way to pass the time. It is an opportunity to explore, to get pleasantly disorientated, to rush past familiar sights and dawdle over only the things that you want to see”

I read these words a couple of days ago on Ktinka‘s Instagram stream and I could totally identify with that. For me, even if sharing special travel moments with friends or loved ones is nice, exploring a city or a place on my own is exactly that. Being able to pass by all the regular sights, exploring tiny cafés and walking through small alleyways where nobody else could find a reason to enter. You almost feel like hiding a little secret. This way I feel much closer to a place, even like a local.

After some investigating, I found out that this was actually the back of a map. If this wasn’t good enough they are beautifully designed and have little illustrations and recommendations on the back. Herb Lester Associates are the ones who create those neat guides, categorized into specific themes and aspects of the world’s greatest cities. They are all produced by the Herb Lester team themselves in collaboration with different illustrators for each topic. Clearly, my graphic designer soul had to order some!

These guides make no claim to be comprehensive or accurate, instead intend to introduce you to new places and re-evaluate familiar ones. Even the Berlin map could provide me with things I didn’t know of before. So far, there are maps for cities such as Paris, Berlin, Glasgow, London, New York, Austin and Chicago available. Litho-printed on A2 or A3 recycled paper, folded to A6 the maps fit into every backpack or make a nice Travel Altar extra. Some of the illustrations can even be ordered as a screenprint.

And because we like them so much we are giving away 3 sets of 3 maps to you guys!

The sets are:

Set 1 “United States”
– How to find old New York
– Forty-one reasons why Brooklyn
– Hello Chicago

Set 2 “Europe”

– It’s nice to be alone in Paris
– When we think of Berlin
– A Glasgow companion

Set 3 “London”
– An uncle’s guide to London
– The best places to meet and work in London
– Untamed London – Where nature still runs wild in the big city

To win one simply comment below which set you’d love to have and why. Make sure to enter a valid email address in the required field and we’ll announce the winner by the end of the week.

Good luck!

This post was written by Nina Hüpen-Bestendonk, who has a funny name even for Germans; she is a wicked go-getter and creative freelance designer, photographer and blogger.

She has an eye for beauty and even finds it in ugly apartment blogs. Her weekly photo chronicle “My week in pictures” has already become a classic among urban Berliners. Find out more at smaracuja.de.