“43/195”. “Just joined the 7 continents club”. “I traveled to 87 countries!”
These are just some of the metrics I often see on social media, indicating this traveler or that influencer have traveled to this amount of countries, boasting to the world their travel prowess. Indeed, the early 21st century has allowed us to travel to farther places of the world than out parents or grandparents could ever dream of. But does quantity= quality here?
In our metrics-oriented society, I would like to suggest a totally different approach to travel. Telling me how many countries you visited tells me nothing of the experiences you had. A day in London means you “planted your flag” and visited the UK? New York City, Orlando and Vegas = USA?
Countries, and some continents consist of arbitrary lines us humans constructed. True, different cultures evolved in different countries, but really – can you compare a tiny nation like Lichtenstein to Brazil or India, in terms of the breadth of culture, nature and traveler experiences?
Almost 20 years ago I spent close to a month in Ireland. It was an amazing experience of backpacking, hiking, hitching rides, hosteling and camping with my good friend Omer. I remember meeting some American tourists who were seeing 7 European countries in like 21 days, and they had a bus-pass and were driving all the way to Dublin to spend two nights there, then off to the next country. I felt sorry for them, and personally I would rather not travel than do such a whirlwind tour. Ireland was an amazing experience of slow travel, tiny villages, windswept coasts, music and pub stories. I really felt I got a small grasp of what the Emerald Island was all about. Never would have seen any of that with two days in Dublin, hopping around the tourist attractions and spending time in touristy bars.
It was the same thing with the first time I visited Costa Rica as a backpacker – I spent a whole month, and fell in love with the country so much, it became the prime destination of Greener Travel, a place I return to over and over.
I would rather “count” experiences in travel, than countries visited or not. I am just not sure yet how to go about this.
What do you think? How would you communicate to the world your travel experiences in a way other than the number of countries visited?
Director, Greener Travel
In this blog Greener Travel will write about eco-tourism and unique travel experiences!