If you ask me, I am yet to be in that league where people have ticked off a whopping number of countries. That is still a dream for me. The only country that I have travelled to other than my own country is Australia. Does that make me a mediocre traveller?
I know so many travellers who have travelled to around 50-95 countries, and that too while they are still quite young. That’s an amazing achievement without an iota of doubt. But, should that daunt me as a traveller?
To be honest, I do feel a little let down by the fact that I haven’t been able to travel as much as I should have been. Of course, there are several factors responsible for it – money, resources, and circumstances. But, should I really feel bad about not have travelled to at least a dozen of countries? Is travel a race?
I am sure that if I were of some other nationality, I would have travelled to a handful of countries by now, but that’s not the case in India. International travel is a big deal here. Indians are slowly adapting to the lifestyle of travel. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is whether travel is about counting countries or is it about counting experiences.
Someone has rightly said that ‘comparison is the thief of happiness’. If you compare your achievements or even abilities with someone else, you are bound to feel daunted or boastful. And, both the emotions are wrong. The good thing would be to run your own race and be your own competitor.
I do aim to travel as much as I can, and as far as I can, but I am not very aggressive about it. I believe in chewing on each travel experience. I’d rather choose quality over quantity. It’s more important to learn and grow with each new place that I travel to. I think I would like to be proud of my experiences on the road – the challenges, the joys, the fears, and the thrills.
It’s the courage to step out of my comfort zone, the openness to mingle into something unfamiliar, and the curiosity for new places that make me a traveller. I don’t care how many years it takes me to travel to my dream countries. I don’t care for any number. Of course, I do have a travel bucket-list. But I don’t believe in talking about it. I want each of my travel experience to be a surprise. I like to be a spontaneous traveller.
I think if you keep your focus on ‘how many cities or countries’, you will lose your focus. As a real traveller, I’d like to aim at making the most of my destinations. Since I am a travel blogger, I do feel the pressure of adding more and more places to my travel portfolio. But I guess, as long as I gather ‘experiences’ to inspire people, there is no need to fret.
By writing this post, I don’t intend to express that counting countries or continents is a wrong practice. I can understand the emotion behind it. But, everybody has different opportunities and resources. Travel is not a competition. A true traveller is defined by his or her level of inquisitiveness for places, landscapes, cultures, traditions, beliefs and people.
So, it’s not ‘how much you travel’ but ‘how well you travel’ that counts.
What do you say? I would love to hear your thoughts!
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