On March 5, 2007, I wrote a Blog post entitled "You Say Goodbye And I Say Hello." I was on an airplane when I wrote the post, and it was all about how difficult it is to say "goodbye" to those we love when we travel and at the same time, how exciting it is to be headed to a new place. When you volunteer abroad for a few months or teach abroad for a year ... saying goodbye is different than leaving for a 5-day cruise. Imagine my shock the other day to find that since writing that post, 5,893 people have read it. It is the 4th most popular article we ever published, and our Blog is in its 7th year.
A few days ago I was lucky enough to stumble upon a post I really liked. It was on the National Geographic Blog, Travel With Heart. The post I liked is entitled, "Dreaming of the Devil: The Joy Of Going Back". It was posted by Ben Long on January 10, 2014.
Mr. Long begins his piece with, "It’s not true that travelers have a “list” of places to see and, once they’ve checked off every box, hang up their knapsacks. When you’re traveling, you’re constantly adding to your list. Every casual conversation with fellow wayfarers introduces a world of possibility when your life is strapped to your back."
I had just written a post at the end of December about my Travel Patty awards and the dubious things people do with travel. One was "country counting." You know, those people who want to see every country on the planet and the only reason is to say they were there. Maybe just a stop over on their way to somewhere else. But they can honestly count that country.
I take issue with that practice because at the very least, we always want to leave something better than we found it and saying you were in a country for 24 hours really isn't doing that. It's basically telling me how far you can pee, and challenging me to pee further. As I get older, it is crystal clear to me ... it is never about the quantity, it is always about the quality.
So ... there are some places I've been that are places where I want to return (many times). Perhaps I'm interested in how the place has changed. Or I want to see if I can capture the feeling I remember when I was there the first time.
But Mr. Long's article got me to thinking about those "Country Counters" out there and all those people who keep moving forward without taking some real quality time to take a few steps back. Not that everyone should lead their life the way I lead mine ... God forbid. But you can go home ... even if for a very short time. Yes, it's true ... you say goodbye and I say hello!
Here is my top five list of places I want to wander again. If you don't mind, would you use the Comments section below to put a few of the places you want to return to, or have? I'd like to publish a long list of the places where others have said goodbye, but where you want to say hello (again).
- Dingle, Ireland
- Boscastle and Tintagel, England
- Beirut, Lebanon (and while I'm in the area, I'd love to visit Damascus, Syria again)
- Steinach, Austria
- Kyoto, Japan