You may have noticed all the hype in the news lately about the 27 year old woman who will be the first and fastest to travel to every country in the world. She strives to promote sustainability and peace through her travels.
She has reached the goal of traveling all over the world in only 18 months.
I am in no way jealous of her. In fact, I suppose I pity her. She spent only two to five days in each country. She may have been the fastest, but she loses when it comes to really seeing and engaging with new cultures, learning and living like a local, and taking the time to be present in each and every country. Do I want to travel fast? No. I want to travel slowly and productively.
Traveling is not a competition. Maybe this woman was only competing against herself when she said she wanted to be the fastest in terms of traveling to every country. It’s a cool record to break, for sure. But hopefully, for her own sake, she decides to go back to each country and really savor each trip. In two days, you can get a taste of a country, or a city of that country.
Have you actually been to a country if you’ve hardly seen any of it?
In the last 18 months, I’ve been in Australia and New Zealand (with a quick visit home to the USA). In 24 months, I expect I still will have only been in these three countries. Why? Because, I prefer to travel in a way that allows me to experience as much as I can about a country.
I am lucky enough to have obtained a work and holiday visa for these countries, and each visa stands for one year. In one year, I can see a good amount of country, I can work, I can meet locals, make discoveries, and I still will not have seen everything I wanted to. However; I still saw more than I ever could have in two days.
Here’s my advice: Stop competing. Stop thinking faster is better. Slow down and take the time to enjoy the experience in front of you before you think about the next one. The best world travelers are those who immerse themselves into the local cultures without a deadline, and without a world record goal.
We can’t help everyone. But, if you spend some time in just one place and learn from those people and experiences, we can live in a much better world.
I don’t aspire to get to every country in the world. If I do, great. But I will take my time, and maybe it will take a lifetime to travel everywhere. I know I will feel fulfilled and never have the need to rush. Life is short, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy where you are and take time for discovering and processing. There’s so much to see right in front of your eyes. However; to each their own. She wants to travel a certain way, just as I do. But I will always encourage slower and more meaningful travel to anyone I meet.
What’s your travel style? Leave a comment!