So what's with the website?

A friend and I were looking at a map of Europe at a hostel in Budapest. We were in the seventh country of ten on our trip so we'd seen some incredible places and knew that more were to come. Looking at that map, however, we felt we had really been nowhere. Even on Earth's second-smallest continent, we were barely seeing anything. The world is SO BIG.

I was saddened by this but since then I've spoken with many Americans who express envy for that trip. Most called me 'lucky' and said something like, 'I've always wanted to travel more.' According to my research, between 30-45% of Americans have active passports ; less than half, which I think is a real shame. Contrast this to about 60% in Canada and 75% in the United Kingdom. It could be argued that the UK is very close to other countries so many of them having passports makes sense. Americans formerly did not need such documentation to enter Canada or Mexico so not having passports also made sense. But as of 2007, we need passports to enter either country. So what's the excuse now?

And that's where I think the problem rests- excuses. There's always at least one excuse to not travel. Jobs, families, debts, other obligations- these things can certainly get in the way of travel… if you let them. Maybe it's the system. Americans say they're lucky if they get two weeks of vacation time per year, which is two weeks short of the minimum time Europeans get. I'm sure they don't all travel extensively but at least the option is there.

Another thing that prompted me to start this site was people asking why I was going to a certain place then looking confused when I'd say, 'Because I've never been there.' It was like that wasn't a good enough reason. Why go to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania? Why not!? You don't need to plan out a family trip nor wait for your job to send you somewhere to check it out. Hell, there are probably towns near where you live that you haven't explored. Go to a new restaurant or for a walk in a park in one of those towns. Then expand your mileage further and further. Then go to an unfamiliar state, country, wherever. You'll quickly see that other places aren't so different from your comfort zone.

I mentioned passports earlier but traveling doesn't necessarily require one. How many of you Americans have seen the Grand Canyon in person? How many of those who have not would really like to? A plane ride and rental car can fix that right up. Stop making excuses and just go already. You probably have the time and money, even if you think you have neither.

Did that inspire you at all? I hope so.

My goal with this website is to provide people with practical advice about the places I've visited and inspire them to travel themselves. I want people to become familiar with my opinions of places and use them (whether they agree or not) to shape trips of their own rather than scour other sites reading poorly-written reviews based on a person's single experience.

I hesitate to recommend not visiting a place because if it interests you, you should absolutely go. Don't let one or even a thousand bad reviews dissuade you from something you think would be worth it. For example, the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen is rather small and unimpressive but if it's on your list, check it out!

Speaking of a list- make one. Write down the places you'd like to visit. Create tentative itineraries for these trips. Design your dream "mega-trip" even if you think it wouldn't be possible. Then start going places as you can. You'll check things off your list, encounter interesting cultures, and become richer for it. Along the way, you'll probably discover many additional places you'd like to go and that cycle can repeat for your whole life. And drink a bunch of beer while you're at it.

According to surveys of end-of-life nurses, a consistent top regret of those on their way out is that they didn't travel enough. Don't add to that statistic.

 

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