In Instagram-bio’s and on travel blog about-pages, you often see a number of countries the person has visited. Sometimes even with the flag emoji’s accompanying the statement. I think that’s an unhealthy way to look at traveling. Here’s why!
First of all, I hope this blog post doesn’t come off as too ranty. It’s not meant to be a rant, it’s just meant to share my opinion on the matter. Also, it’s an opinion and not facts. So keep that in mind. 😉
It does not make you a good traveler
My first issue with the country collecting rage is that it does not say anything at all. Visiting a lot of countries doesn’t make you a great traveler. It makes you a consumer of ways of transportation and hospitality services. Traveling is not about pumping up your numbers. It’s about learning about a place and culture, creating memories with people you like, and meeting new people and ideas.
What counts as a visit?
A second issue is, when does your visit count. You have people that go to a country for a long period, you also have people that do a quick stop for a layover. People arriving in the morning by airplane, doing a quick stop in the city center, and fly out again in the night. Does that count as an actual visit?
What’s long enough to get to know a country? Or even just a city? I have been to cities multiple times without seeing things twice. What I am trying to say, is being there the same as visiting? Or what is the actual definition of a visit?
It feels like a competition
Counting countries and boasting them online makes it feel like it’s a competition. Travel, in my opinion, is not a competition. As I stated before, traveling is about new experiences and knowledge. It’s almost like going to school.
Gaining those experiences cannot be counted by a number of places you’ve been. Some people visit the same country, over and over again. They really get a feel about the country, the people, and the culture. Others go to a different place every time, but make sure to take their time to go around the country.
I don’t judge my fellow travelers by the number of countries they have visited. Yes, I do judge the people around me, everyone does. I observe them, look at how they react in certain situations that might come up, how they organize themselves, and how they go about exploring a new place or activity.
It alludes there is an endgame
As if you are finished traveling when you have visited them all, and can start a new ‘challenge’. I don’t think anyone will ever be able to complete traveling as if it’s a game. Even going to the same place multiple times, will give you a different experience.
One time it might suck because of bad weather, the next time you meet up with the loviest people, then again you are going to a newly openend museum. It’s always different!
So, what does make a good traveler?
Well, according to me at least.
- Someone that keeps an open mind to places and activities. Even if he/she has done it before.
- Someone that can find new things to do in old places.
- Someone that takes his time for exploration.
- Someone that doesn’t brag about the number of countries, but about the memories.
- Someone that tries to connect with new people.
What makes a good traveler according to you? Let me know in the comments!
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