Why I opt not to travel to popular places

This post has been in the works for some time, especially as I alluded to it in my Festivus post. Hopefully, this clears up some things, as I felt it’s more than high time to express my feelings on this.

First of all, no, I don’t want to be a hipster traveler, if you can call it that. I just think the world is an amazing place and by going to relatively unknown places, you experience more of it. I absolutely understand that France, the UK, Germany, etc. are tried and true places to spend your hard earned dollars/euros/pounds on, but still. I also understand that sometimes, you just want to have fun and not have to think too much when relaxing-that’s fine. We’ve all been there. Just, for me, travel should be something that challenges you. While the argument can me made that the places I listed could challenge you, I think that in the grand scheme, it wouldn’t have as big of an effect. In my humble (and slightly curmudgeonly) opinion, the notion of your comfort zone being expanded should be the biggest priority. For that very same reason, I feel irrationally annoyed at some of the bigger travel bloggers more or less avoiding the road less traveled; the corollary to that is I’m saying that as someone who doesn’t exactly travel an excess amount a year, though.Although, I will admit that I make this point for some less than altruistic logic-I just want to be the guy who has first dibs. I kid…kinda. At any rate, I just want to rebel against the notion that the world is comprised of what feels to be about 20 countries. Someone’s gotta explore the other 175, and that’s what I hope to do!

Another point I’m trying to highlight is that there are some destinations which could frankly use the boost in (responsible) tourism. I’m confident that tourism to the UK won’t implode if you skip your planned trip there, whereas places like Bosnia (as I’ve been singing its praises, it’s underrated and amazing) absolutely could use your money. Plus, seeing the melting pot of Islam, Catholicism, and Orthodox Christianity is something you don’t see every day, compared to, well, most of the world.Places like those come alive when you’re there, breathing in that history. I just wish more people were there to experience this magic.

The last point is that within reason, it is a humbling experience to have to experience a rapid immersion when abroad. I mean that in the sense of having to find impromptu and somewhat dodgy ways of communication.Sure, it’ll be rough and possibly put a damper on your entire trip, but at least it’s authentic. You don’t have that safety net of being understood and/or people switching to English when they hear your optimistic yet hilariously crummy attempts at saying a few words in the local language. Using my own personal experience, all those times were humbling, but man I learned a lot about others and even myself; it’s why I want to push on with learning as many languages as I can!

In the end, what is it that broadens your horizons the most? For me, it’s forging my own paths on the roads less traveled. But hey, at least there’s more space on the map to chart.


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