Recently, a reader of your blog said on my post. It stopped me in my own tracks:
I really do wonder after so a long time of travel [that] you don’t appear to have been compared to that many places, and I’d need to say also that lots of of your destinations are pretty “safe,” well-trod places.
I told him most of us go where we most desire to go, and my destinations derive from that. This converted into a debate about giving travel advice, why is an authentic traveler, and some other subjects. In another of his last comments, he said:
I’m not saying you aren’t a traveler, nevertheless, you certainly are a boring traveler…and I really do wonder why you make all of this fuss about yourself. And yes, there is more authentic travel, and there is safe, boring, gap-year circuit travel. Do you consider Marco Polo could have been as revered a traveler, if rather than crossing the silk route into China, he instead hung out in backpacker hostels for a long time, hitting on young, impressionable girls and drinking beer in sunlight?
Having now traveled the world for over ten years, I’ve met a whole lot of travelers who disparage the route others take.
I’m likely to be honest: I can’t stand it.
Yes, I’ll offer you my suggestions and tips about what things to see and do in Berlin. I’ll offer you tips about ways to travel cheaply predicated on my experience. I’ll think aloud about the type of travel and my own thoughts on it in an effort to help me hash out my feelings. If you need to learn along and comment, all of the better.
But I’ll never make accusations about where you choose to go.
That’s your own private choice.
I think it is extremely condescending when travelers talk right down to others because of the destination choices. I see this constantly on the backpacker trail. Personally, I don’t believe there’s such a thing as must-see or must-do when you travel.
Because you travel for you personally and I travel for me personally.
I head to destinations predicated on the order where I wish to see them.
I skip some towns and countries since it makes me happy.
I disliked my amount of time in Vietnam. Yet other travelers absolutely loved their time there.
I eat sushi all over the world since it brightens my day. You might hate sushi or prefer to just cook your own meals when you travel.
I don’t head to some countries because I don’t feel just like it. Perhaps you do.
I go out in hostels with other travelers because I love it. Yet other travelers will prefer hotels or resorts or Airbnb.
And yes, even I visit cheesy places of interest sometimes!
Travel is an extremely personal experience.
I don’t care where you go or everything you choose to see or skip.
I don’t care in the event that you went away for a year but never got past your first destination because you just fell deeply in love with it or someone there.
And I couldn’t care less in the event that you boozed it up during Southeast Asia and the closest you have to seeing an area was the guy serving you beer.
It’s not what I’d do, and I might write a post about why I believe you shouldn’t either. But that’s my estimation and if you opt to do it anyway, healthy.
Because by the end of the day, the one thing about travel that counts is that it certainly makes you happy and brings YOU joy.
As Mark Twain is wrongly credited with saying (it’s actually from the book P.S. — I REALLY LIKE You),
Two decades from now you’ll be more disappointed by the items you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Even if that just means spending weekly drinking at a resort in Cancún or getting wasted on the beaches of Ko Phi Phi.
Your journey is your own.