I often get asked why I want to visit a place. When someone hears that I’ve booked another trip, usually the first questions is, “Why do you want to go there?” It’s not meant in a judgmental way, but genuine curiosity. I’m never sure how to answer the question, so I usually end up giving a response that has become almost robotic to me, “I’ll go anywhere”. And that’s true. I will go anywhere. Anywhere. But that answer doesn’t really explain the deeper reasoning behind these decisions.
I suspect these people are, unintentionally, waiting for me to tell them why I will like this place. For instance, my upcoming trip to China. I had a really interesting discussion with a friend the other day where they expressed that they don’t think they would like China. That’s fair, no judgement. That statement, which I’ve heard time and time again, for some reason resonated with me on this occasion. And I realized the answer to this oh-so repeated question, “Why do you want to go there?”
To find out if I like it.
It was so simple and in some way I believe I always knew this was the goal, the motivation. I book trips not because I know I will like this place or that place. Where is the excitement and the unpredictability in that? No, I book the trip because I don’t know. I want to check it out. Let’s see what this place is about. Sure, one country will draw me in more than another at one time and that results in a trip being booked. For example, the pull to South America is just not that strong for me right now; I will still visit those countries someday, later on. It’s not because I don’t think I will like them. I’ve never ever thought of travel in that way, and I’ve only just realized. I’ve never not wanted to visit a place. I want to, need to visit everywhere in order to discover how I like it. And that’s usually concluded by what kind of connection I feel to a place.
Contemplating this had reminded me of my favourite movie, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and one particularly important quote from the film (and perhaps my favourite quote of all time)…
Now the real question is…am I capable of disliking a place? I’ll have to travel more to find out.
Why do you travel? Share your insights with me!