I think that it’s happened at one time or another to almost everyone. Someone will tell you a story about a place and you suddenly realize you have never heard of that country and could not find it on a map if your life depended upon it.
Fortunately, very few of us are confronted with life or death geography decisions on a regular basis. But it is embarrassing to be a well-read grown up who can be stumped by Djibouti or Myanmar or the ‘Stans (as I like to call Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan).
So where do you go when the nightly news fails to inform you that “You are here”? Here are a few of my favorite resources.
CIA World Factbook I feel like a secret agent when I access this site, but it’s actually a very helpful tool.
Peace Corps Once a Peace Corps Volunteer, always a Peace Corps Volunteer. I like to check the site occasionally to see what new countries the Peace Corps has added.
U.S. Department of State This is a great tool because it also give travel advisories (or warnings) about which country are not deemed safe enough for Americans.
United Nations The UN site has improved a lot over the years. I like the maps, in particular.
If you’ve got others, share them!