Do you ever feel that some people travel because it’s the current trend? Just to tick off a box on a list they made? Just to visit as many countries as possible, as if they’ll get some kind of reward if they actually do? Do you also feel that some others travel only to show off rather than because they truly enjoy it?
If you do, I feel you!!
Long before I started blogging, I got bit by the travel bug. I went on my first parent-free trip at 16 and my first overseas trip at 22! Since then, I haven’t stopped, except for one year, when I fell into a mild depression. That’s when I decided that travel would be my priority and that I wouldn’t mind where I went as long as I got to see or experience something new: a mountainous Serbian village, a hidden beach in Greece or a city I’ve never been to before. It didn’t necessarily have to be a new country.
But this post isn’t about me. It’s about this annoying trend I’m encountering on my news feed daily.
“80 countries and counting” – “3 continents, 45 countries, 13 villages, 2 lakes and a well.”
Get out of here!!
But wait. Before you go, I have a question: What do you actually mean by “80 countries and counting”??
Let me help you understand what I’m trying to say. I am Greek and I’ve lived in Greece most of my life. Yet… I haven’t managed to explore everything. I can proudly say that I have seen a fair amount of Greece. I’ve visited many of our islands but I’m still missing some important places – plans already made to visit in the near future 😉 So does that mean I get to tick Greece off my imaginary list?
I have been to Italy 7 times. I have seen Rome, Milan, Celle Ligure, Genoa, Venice, Trieste, Treviso, Cesena, Naples and Turin. Can I say that I have seen Italy? Can I now tick Italy off my imaginary list and never look back? HELL NO. I can go 20 more times and still won’t be able to say “I’ve seen everything”, nor tick it off my list.
Isn’t it degrading to all of us real travelers when someone goes to a capital city for a few days and then says “seen France (aka I strolled around Paris for 2 days), next stop Athens”? No. Just no! It’s wrong to devalue a whole country like that. A real traveler would never do that. A real traveler knows she can return to the same country, the same city even, plenty of times, and always experience something new. A real traveler knows how to fall in love with the same country over and over again. Your goal shouldn’t be to just visit as many capital cities in the world as possible and take selfies with their national monuments. That’s being a tourist. If you want to be called a traveler, your goal should be to actually experience a country. You need to experience their culture. To see its lakes and rivers, its islands and mountains, its cities and the countryside, its important landmarks and cultural heritage. Imagine being able to navigate a foreign city, or two or three, easily, almost as well as a local.
Now how many countries have you visited?
In order to do that, it takes years. You can’t claim you’ve done that for as many as 81 or 99 countries and you’re only 26. It doesn’t add up.
Ignore those trashy competitions without a prize and freely visit the same country as many times as you wish and I am positive that you will always find something new. Your life will be more enriched if you experience 100% of 3 countries than if you experience 5% of 50. As with many aspects of life, quality is more important than quantity.
So just to reply to a nasty comment saying that the countries I’ve seen are not enough for me to be called a traveller… I’m more than you’ll ever be!
Oh, and I almost forgot! The cities I enjoy returning to the most are London & Budapest. The country I book a trip to at any given chance is Italy. You’ll be seeing a lot of that on my blog!
Do you have a destination you love to return to?
Leave a comment below!