It seems as if travelling these days has become a race, we’re more concerned about trying to go to as many countries as we can rather than taking our time to really enjoy the country, culture and people. So the real question one might ask, has travelling become a race?
Being in the travel community, I hear far too often people comparing the number of countries they have been to, I too am guilty of this and have even created a blog called Twenty-six and Counting that was named after the many countries I’ve travelled to and today that seems to be everyone’s goal. A goal of crossing off as many countries on their bucket list and adding it to their number (no, not that kind of number).
Don’t get me wrong! The number of countries you’ve been to does sound exciting and impressive, but if you’re just trying to add another country to your list, are you really experiencing it?
Have you seen the show The Amazing Race? Alright, let me fill you in. Teams compete against one another for a million dollars by performing challenges, and while they do these challenges, they go to a new country each time, but if they are the last one to finish the challenge they lose. It’s almost like travelling, it feels like The Amazing Race.
These days travelling has become too centred around how many countries we’ve been to and how long we’ve travelled as opposed to the experience.
Experiencing different cultures takes time and often needs more than just a few days in a particular place, immersing yourself in the sights, smells, sounds, faces, and language is what travelling is meant to do. Yet, I feel most times, travelling is a means to an end in order to say that you’ve been where everyone else has been before.
In July 2015, Cassie De Pecol left Connecticut to visit every country in the world. She did this in 18 months and was named the fastest women to see the world. There seems to be a “travel race mentality” that makes me wonder why as travellers do we have to be the first or fastest person to get somewhere.
What about exploring local travel? It never gets as much praise because nowadays travelling is only seen as going outside of your country, but what about the little trips that you take with friends or the new places ten minutes down the road that you haven’t explored?
Before travelling think about why you want to go to that particular place. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to be a full-time traveller, I want to travel with a purpose of why I’m in that country or city not just to say I’ve been there, grab a photo, and leave. Every journey is unique and has its own story. One of my favourite quotes from Charles De Lint says “Don’t forget, no one sees the world like the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.”
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