“Number of countries visited: +45. Coming up: Vanuatu”. We all know these posts on social media. But is travelling really about high numbers and the most exotic places? I’m boring when it comes to travelling – but I’m still a traveller! Thoughts on what makes a traveller.
I’ve been a traveller for 25 years. More actually since – as a kid – I spend almost every summer holiday roaming around Europe in the back of my parent’s old Opel.
I see a lot of posts on social medias where people list the countries they visited. Especially the NUMBER of countries seems to be important. +40 countries next → Timbuktu.
I get that. Numbers ARE impressive. Just like when you’re a runner – which I am. Numbers matter. How many miles. How fast. How many marathons. That’s cool. Our comparison to others help us define who we are. And I DO get impressed. Number ARE cool.
Counting countries just isn’t my thing. Of course I like to see new places as well but what I really like is to back to places I’ve visited a number of times – and dig deeper. I love to roam around a place I’ve visited before and therefore know quite well. The familiarity allows me to relax and watch everyday life passing by in a totally different manner than if I’m ticking lists of things to see and “must do’s”.
Perhaps it also has to do with the fact that I’m a quite sensitive person. I get overwhelmed quite easily. Perhaps the familiarity calms me.
I can’t help but thinking that I must seem quite boring to all those adventurous types out there. Or perhaps I’m just jealous that my “numbers” aren’t that impressive 😉 And sometimes I also feel the urge to stir things up a bit – and then I will. The good thing is that I’ll never run out of countries because in between two new countries I’ll always go back to a (for me) well-known country.
We all travel in different ways and get different experiences out of it. And that’s my point. Perhaps it doesn’t really matter how many countries you’ve visited or how often you travel. As long as you open your eyes and embrace what’s coming to you – you’re a traveller. In life.