Night time in Shanghai with Flat Ben

The Backstory

It all started with an email (which, for some reason, I can’t find) back in 2005. The email was from my brother-in-law’s sister. She was putting together a birthday present for our mutual nephew, Ben. The idea was kind of like the Flat Stanley Project, but with our nephew instead of Stanley - and so Flat Ben was born. Having recently moved to Korea, the plan was for me to take photos of Flat Ben around the different places I visited in the year before his birthday. Little did I know that Flat Ben would become my little paper companion for the next six years.

Next month, (nephew) Ben will be starting his third year of university, so I thought it was time to finally give these photos a proper home[1]. I sincerely hope that not only Ben, but my six other nieces & nephews, as well as my own kids will draw some inspiration from this and get out of their comfort zone to explore the world.

The Map

The Highlights

In case you don’t feel like exploring the map, here are a handful of highlights from Flat Ben’s travels.

Outside the Korean National Assembly, Seoul: This was the first Flat Ben photo; seen here with Fat Uncle John
Coffee Shop in Amsterdam: Flat Ben enjoying the local Dutch delicacies
Nordkapp, Norway: The most northern point of mainland Europe
Ushuaia, Argentina: The southern tip of South America
Mt. Kumgang, North Korea: Flat Ben's head fell off somewhere in the mountains of the DPRK! No joke, I thought they were going to find it and put me in a prison camp for littering.
The Laguna Cejar, Chile: At a large, yet shallow salt water sink hole lake in the driest place on Earth
Stonehenge, England: Every year, on the Summer Solstice, people are allowed to touch the stones at Stonehenge. Flat Ben touched the stones in 2009.
Norway: Flat Ben popping into Hell (Norway) for a few minutes
Blue Lagoon, Iceland: Relaxing in the thermal pools of Iceland
New York, USA: Visiting One World Trade Center when it was under construction
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Watching Argentina trounce Spain 2 months after Spain won the World Cup

The Footnotes

[1] I’ll admit that a secondary motivation behind this page is the classic “look where I’ve been” traveller one-upmanship. For any other travel jerks out there, this map doesn’t encompass all the places I’ve travelled, just the ones where I remembered to bring Flat Ben 😜