The Whole World in her Hands –

The whole world in her hands

By Colleen Kinder,

updated 8:02 AM EST, Thu December 8, 2011

( — Her Passion: The world looks different in the company of Kim Soerensen — specifically, it’s mounted on a pedestal, in an array of colors, sizes, and materials. Over nine years, Soerensen has acquired thousands of unique globes. Some have textured mountains; some illustrate ocean currents in fine detail. Some are faded with age–and many depict national borders long since dissolved. 20 Books for the armchair traveler

“Each one is a tiny piece of history,” says Soerensen, whose collection includes delicate glass orbs, toy tin balls, retro black spheres, Soviet-made moon globes, and even an upside-down globe with Australia on top.

Her Start: The first globe to catch Soerensen’s eye, in 2002, cost $5 at Goodwill. It looked old, but Soerensen couldn’t be sure how old. So she did some digging — and traced its origins to turn-of-the-century Germany. An obsession was born. 10 marvels of our world

In 2005, when Soerensen unearthed proof prints for the first complete moon globe, she offered them to the Austrian National Library, which houses the world’s most respected globe museum. Impressed by her knowledge, they asked Soerensen to become their globe scout in the United States. She’s been finding antique models for European museums ever since. Genius idea: Traveling with a suitcase full of good

Her Empire: The day she counted 150 globes in her home, Soerensen knew it was time to upgrade her space. She opened Omniterrum, a store where people can marvel at — and purchase — her spectacular spheres. (Prices start at around $25, but she once sold a 17th-century Italian globe for $150,000.) Be your own boss: 4 must-haves before starting a business

Soerensen also maintains an online business and delights in giving tours of her worldly wares–because even if you’re not planning to do any globetrotting, she believes there is plenty of pleasure to be found in, as she calls it, “traveling with your fingertips.” Great gifts for world travelers

Jake Moore