A punk rock vision quest told in the tradition of the anarchist travel story, Off the Map is narrated by two young women as they discard their maps, fears, and anything resembling a plan, and set off on the winds of the world. Without the smug cynicism that seems to permeate most modern radical tales, this story is told with genuine hope, and a voice that never loses its connection with the mysteries of life, even in the midst of everyday tragedies. Wandering across Europe, the dozens of vignettes are the details of the whole—a squatted castle surrounded by tourists on the Spanish coast, a philosophizing businessman on the highways of France, a plaça full of los crustos in Barcelona, a diseased foot in a Belgian train squat, a glow bug on the dew-covered grass of anywhere—a magical, novel-like folktale for the end of the world. 146 pages long with a cover featuring original artwork by Nikki McClure.
Gallery image #01 of Off the Map
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Hib and Kika have actually made the generous leap from journal notes to fluid, intimate prose. A self-avowed text of dreams, these stories are yarns that yearn to be unraveled and reveled in.
— Words to Watch Out For, April 2006
Imagine what your punk-rock male travelogue would read like if it was written by a couple of intelligent, rebellious, freedom-seeking women. One of the best books of this sort I have ever read.
— Microcosm, customer review
That’s what Off the Map is: a love letter on wings. These are the tales, the anecdotes, the astute and epiphanic and damn-near clairvoyant observations, laments, and joys that get chronicled yet never seem to make it farther than the pages of our own imaginations. Yet, our authors, who we know as simply Hib and Kika, have actually made the generous leap from journal notes to fluid, intimate prose. A self-avowed text of dreams, these stories are yarns that yearn to be unraveled and reveled in.
Recording a summer of backpacking through Europe, these stories will be familiar to anyone who has traveled or dreamed of traveling—anyone who has yearned for all sorts of unfettered existences. What makes this book both realistic and fantastic is its honesty—it is as unapologetically real as any journal that we can dig out of our bookshelves. Its unmediated naivete and idealism is beautifully interwoven with insights into and discussions of landscapes urban and rural, real and imaginary, making for some of the most complex and adept prose in zines to date.”
— Words to Watch Out For, April 2006
Imagine what your punk-rock male travelogue would read like if it was written by a couple of intelligent, rebellious, freedom-seeking women. I believe Off the Map is one of the best books/zines of this sort I have ever read. The authors describe all of the breathtaking highs and lows of their multi-month trip though Europe—hitchhiking, squatting, and so on—but the emotional sensitivity of the narrative and the emphasis on the power of female friendship are what really set this book apart. True, some of the observations are naive, wide-eyed and hopeful—but these qualities win out every time over lifestyle-pushing narrowmindedness.The bottom line is, this book is all about welcoming, encouragement, and inclusiveness. Highly recommended for anyone who was put off by the overly ‘male’ tone of Evasion and the like.”
— Microcosm, customer review
Off the Map began its life as 98-page half-size zine, of which 50 copies were made by its two authors in Prague and given out to friends. A few months later, back in Olympia, a couple CrimethInc. agents doing some late-night photocopying at Kinko’s happened to stumble upon one of the authors making a few more copies of Off the Map, and after a pleasant and lively conversation, she gave them a copy. One day and 98 pages later, a frantic search was underway to find the author, lavish her with praise, and get permission to copy and distribute Off the Map. Well, we found each other, and thus began what soon became elemental relationships for CrimethInc. Far East, with both authors becoming actively involved with CrimethInc., and in the two years that followed, we distributed thousands of copies of Off the Map for free to anyone who requested it.
Over time it became clear that as copies of Off the Map made it out into the world, it was having a significant impact on its readers; we were soon receiving more letters and praise about Off the Map than any of our other publications—and also requests for more copies, etc. As more and more requests came in, we began to struggle to make the necessary copies, and the postage-cost of sending them out ($1.29 a pop) began seriously fucking with our financial resources. We made public requests for assistance and this helped out in the short-term, but the problems continued to get worse, and circumstance forced us to make a decision: make Off the Map into a book and sell it to break even (or maybe even lose a few cents), or retire it from our distribution.
Five years ago, we had posted a detailed, 1250-word explanation of our reasons for making Off the Map into a book, but after all this time and the immense success of the book, we feel a short summary will now suffice: it was the only way we could sustain its distribution, was what we saw as the next step towards helping it gain a wider audience, and we just plain love the story and want it to be presented as well as possible. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Table of Contents
- more like spells
- too much glass
- chariot of deliverance
- down like honey
- summer, forever
- all used up
- the making of the map
- nightmares and daydreams
- huck finn revisted
- lunch with the dead
- i do make love
- i say mermaid
- le wagon
- dol de bretagne
- street rat dreamers
- downing the drawbridge
- innate resistance
- accident prone
- as much as i can hold
Each printing of Off the Map has had a different color ink on the inside cover.
- 7th printing, April 4th 2011, Pantone 8702, Metallic Jade
- 6th printing, January 4th 2009, Pantone 512, Eggplant Purple
- 5th printing, August 5th 2007, Pantone 8321, Metallic Sage
- 4th printing, May 16 2006, Pantone 7496, Olive Drab
- 3rd printing, March 7 2005, Pantone 644, Cornflower Blue
- 2nd printing, February 23 2004, Pantone 4515, Pale Taupe
- 1st printing, June 17 2003, Pantone 464, Brown