I haven’t been everywhere, but that isn’t the point

Train around the bend

Like many projects personal or work related, time has its way of running away.

Much like a train that disappears around the bend….I found myself disappearing in the year of 2020. For me, its been over 2 years since my last post in 2019. Right now is when I am meant to be continuing my blog writing and I’ll tell you why. Life happens, we get derailed, then we get back on track as destiny intended. Everything has its time and place. That’s pretty much it. Except in my case, during this time away, a bit of a world health crisis seemed to have happened. A crisis that stopped the world from leisure travel. For some that travel to a local restaurant or coffee house even stopped. What a travesty on so many levels, I will never be able to comprehend.  I have a long list of articles I want to write for my blog and this articles topic was the best start. With or without the health crisis, I’ll always ask myself why I want to travel to a particular place. There are so many places I have NOT been to yet and may never get to visit. Not because of the health crisis, but because of so many other factors. Many travelers have a long list of countries in their bucket list. I used to have a insatiable thirst and desire to see every country on this planet. Over the years this desire changed.  

Years ago, in my early 20’s, I mentioned to a close family member that my plan was to see all the seven continents. That person replied to ask why? What was my motive to see all those places? I quickly replied just because. I had read about them in books, magazines, travel blogs and seen pictures online that were calling out to me. Then this person asked how I would benefit from visiting these countries? To answer that, I had to take a moment to really think about my answer.  

“Well, my friends are traveling there, maybe I should too” “I can’t miss out on seeing that” “Have you seen those Instagram photos! I need to add that place to the bucket list and just go one day.”

Everyday I come across reasons to travel. Don’t we all? The art of getting away from the present to a place we would never usually go is rewarding for our soul and mental health. Without a doubt travel adds a benefit to our lives like nothing else ever will.  So to dive more into why its not important to see everything. I looked back on the places I had visited in the past. Would I have still taken those trips and side trips? YES. I realized I had always been the type of person to travel with a purpose. Without realizing it, my younger self had always subconsciously evaluated a trip’s location even if I was not the primary planner. If I didn’t feel a place was calling out to me for discovery, then it was not worth of my time to visit. Sometimes I would follow the hype to see a place, but very seldom. Unless it was a place that called out to my bliss, then I usually skipped it. 

The following is a list of reasons I often skip visiting a country…

  • The country in present day is committing genocide or mass murder and has not learned from its past mistakes
  • The country is restricting its people from the freedom to travel outside 
  • The country is restricting its people from doing daily activities that bring joy
  • The country is restricting its people from freedom of expression in politics, religion or who a person chooses to love
  • The country has a record of employing individuals to treat like slaves and second class citizens to work in their country 
  • The country has a bad record in how women are treated
  • My list can go on, but these are my top reasons

  Choosing Mindful Travel We all have choices to make on a daily basis. We hear in the news that a company we order clothes from is employing people with sweatshop like conditions. A company might be experimenting on animals in order to make a product. Everyday we make a choice to support a person, business or industry based on what we learn about them and their morals as business owners.  In travel I use the same method to the madness. I believe they call this type of thinking being “Mindful”. It’s not an easy task to be mindful, like they make it out to be in magazines and books. Being mindful when I decide to visit a country is always at the top of my list. Call it being picky about where my tourist dollars get allotted to. Call it being picky about caring what happens to humanity. Call me overly sensitive. 

How can I travel to a place that mistreats its people and I ignore it all, because I want to enjoy a scenery for a kodak moment? 

How can I visit a place where its own people are not allowed to leave, yet I am there enjoying myself?

Think before you travel   In the end, every decision you make doesn’t have to be dissected. However, your choice to travel to a country should be a personal one, and not based only on hype. Ask yourself what it is you truly want to get out of traveling to a new place and how will it feed your soul? How will it impact the country you visit and its people? Will it benefit the country that desperately needs tourist dollars or will it also help support a government that continues to hold its people hostage with restrictions on their freedom? No country is perfect, however as tourists, we have the power collectively to help impact change in so many ways that we never had thought of before. Our ability to be selective on how we spend our money, even when we travel to a country with troubles, can have a great impact on that country. 

 

I often read articles on how people are outraged over human suffering that is happening in certain countries. However, sometimes its the same people who are also traveling and contributing their tourist dollars in support of those same countries. It’s no easy task to be mindful when traveling. However, making the effort to care more in this regard, can slowly help make an impact on humanity. By writing this article, this is my hope for us all.