A lot of people brag about the number of countries they have been to. I see people mentioning the number on Instagram bio or Facebook as a medal of honour. However, my opinion on this subject is different. I believe a count of countries is a wrong metric as far as travel is concerned. I have listed down the reasons for my opinion below.
1. A country count doesn’t necessarily mean that you have properly travelled to that country.
While the count may reflect that you have visited a country, it does not mean that you have actually travelled to that country. Yes, you may have used the public transport system, dined at the restaurants or shopped in the country but that should not qualify as a travel. Travelling is more about learning about the place, the culture, the people and creating memories.
Would you consider a long layover at an airport as a travel to a particular country? I would assume, No. Then what is different in a one or two night stay in a country where you have just unpacked your bags and may be went for a pub hopping spree?
2. It is not a competition!
In our social media fuelled world, travelling to exotic locations has become a status symbol. Rather than interacting with the local people and understanding the local culture, people prefer to click exotic locations. Nothing wrong with that, after all the landscapes of a place are also a part of the experience. But it is not the only part. Travelling should be to open your mind not a desire for prestige.
What to do when you travel?
- First of all, don’t try to cover as many countries as you can in the vacation days you have. We all have been guilty of it, including myself, where we try to fit 3 countries in 7 days. Trust me, the experience you would have by spending those 7 days at one place is far richer.
- Connect with the locals. One of the key factors I use to determine if a location I visited is among my favourite or not is my interaction with the locals. List of my top countries is heavily influenced by the warmth I have experienced from the locals, be it Iceland or Croatia.
- Talk about the experience. When people travel the world, they often talk about the places they have been to. Next time, when the topic of discussion is travel, don’t talk about the number of countries you have been to, rather talk about the memories you have made. A lot of people ask me how many countries have you been to? My reply to that typically is : many, but the best experience I had was in …
Everything listed above is my opinion about travel. It might be different from yours, would love to hear your thoughts in comments below.