Where do you want to go before you die?

Travel by Chris Guillebeau

If we live truly, we shall see truly.– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not everyone wants to travel the world, but most people can identify at least one place in the world they’d like to visit before they die. Where is that place for you, and what will you do to make sure you get there?

(Author: Chris Guillebeau)

I always said I wanted to go to every country in the world. It was a throwaway answer, something I said because I do love to travel and it sounded cool and it was impossible anyway so, why not? Then I started reading Chris’s blog. (Yes, the Chris who wrote today’s prompt. I HIGHLY recommend that you check it out)

After only a few months I had to quit saying that I wanted to visit every country because here was a man who was doing it.

By the age of 35.

It was no longer just something to be said with a knowledge that it was impossible. Suddenly it WAS possible, if it was a priority. Which it’s not.

I do enjoy traveling. I do quite a bit of it. I’d like to see a lengthy list of countries, cities, and sites. However, while travel itself is a priority in my life (and I plan on keeping it as one even once I have a family) I don’t really want to go to every single country in the world. I do, however, have the goal of going to every continent at least once.

Still, this is a hard prompt because I can, with absolutely no hesitation, name off 25 places I’m dying to visit. I finally narrowed it down by imagining someone offering me $10,000 to go any place I want, as long as I left right then. My gut answer?

-The U.K.

I spent 23 hours in London and loved every second of it. I have every intention of returning someday and spending a longer amount of time in that amazing city. And Scotland is on my top 5 list. Especially Northern Scotland, up where it’s still quite wild and barren. Such a breath-taking, beautiful country.

The 2nd part of that question is difficult for me to answer. I know I should have a plan for getting there, setting aside money and such. But I’m already planning a different trip for next summer- Southeast Asia. My goal is to hit 2-4 countries while I’m there. So I really can’t think about going to the U.K. anytime soon. But I will. And that’s not an idle comment, I’ve proven that I can and will go exploring.

I understand the point of that question is that so very many people talk and dream and talk about going places but they never actually go. It’s a shame. And it drives me nuts. Either shut up and go, or admit, out loud and publicly, that you are not going and never intended to do so. Don’t keep saying you are but never taking steps to make it happen.

But please go. Believe me, it’s so worth it. When you go overseas 3 things will happen. Well, far more than 3 but this is my blog and these are the ones I’m focusing on.

1-You will appreciate America more. It’s not a perfect country but it’s a damn good country and I have a far greater appreciation for it now.

2-You will have a greater sympathy for tourists, visitors, and immigrants. Even the simplest of tasks are frightening and exhausting when you can’t understand the language or behavior of the people around you. Going to a grocery store can take hours while reducing you to tears and a numbing weariness, and then you still might not have anything edible to eat at the end of it.

3-You will be changed. You will have experiences that others have not had, and they will mark you. I remember standing on a mountain in WY and realizing that of all the billions of people who have ever existed I was in an almost immeasurably small group who had seen the sight stretched out before me. It was humbling and empowering at the same time. I’ve had similar moments, I now call them “movie moments” because they seem like something straight from Hollywood, both here and overseas.

Getting sprayed by chilly water when a whale clapped her 40 foot flippers together an intimidatingly close distance from the bow of the boot I was on.

Eating ribs on a Korean beach at sunset while an International film festival kicked off behind me, the sound of 1000’s of screaming fans drowning out the gulls.

Standing on London Bridge one freezing cold February morning and watching the sky turn gold before the sun finally rose over the Thames, surrounded by millions of people and yet completely alone and quiet.

I’d love to know, where do you want to go?

When is that going to happen?

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