Today’s post comes based on something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. Some friends/acquaintances have posted pictures on social media about going to Paris/France and Italy, among others, and it got me thinking about why people go to these destinations. Don’t get me wrong, as I’m not trashing their choice of destinations by any means, as lord knows I would like to go to these places some day. However, I just feel that, at least based on a highly informal (aka based on what I see on social media) survey, a select few countries (France, Italy, the UK, and even Germany) gain the brunt of travelers to the point where the notion of traveling to them seems like a cop-out choice. Yes, I understand that they rightfully have a lot to do and see, but personally, I feel that it’s too easy. Hence, the title of this post-I want to go to places off the proverbially beaten road. Before I continue with this, I want to put the disclaimer that I’ve only been to a mere 22 (soon to be 23) countries, and that other experienced travelers are free to counter the assertions I will make here.
Understandably, there is a comfort in having the comforts of home readily available in other countries; after surviving some hostels, I have come away with a better appreciation for privacy and higher quality lodgings. However, travel is something that is meant to broaden your horizons, so why not go out on a limb? Paris and London will always be there for you, but it’s just nice to literally and figuratively take the roads less traveled. If anything, I would argue that going to these places makes you appreciate the cosmopolitan glamour once you return.
For me, I personally want to experience a trip where I see different things. Not just ones that fall on the “oh, this is a little bit different than back home” spectrum, but I’m talking about things that take me out of my comfort zone, make me mature, make me learn. For example, when I was in Bosnia, I got to experience a country that was still trying to pull itself together 20 years after a horrifyingly devastating war. On the taxi ride from the airport to the center of Sarajevo, I spotted burned out buildings left behind during the longest siege in modern history. In the Czech Republic, I traveled by train through the rolling hills of Bohemia and the plains of Moravia. I fought through language barriers while enduring a cavalcade of travel mishaps. Looking back on it, I’m happy I got to experience these moments, as I doubt I would’ve had these things happen if I stayed in, say, England or France. Again, I may be coming off as elitist here, and apologies if I rub anybody the wrong way. It’s just that I feel strongly about the notion that there are much more things to see, people to meet, and lifelong memories to be made outside of the big destinations.
So, what do you think? Is there a sense of elitism in opting not to follow the well traveled path?