Sometimes I wish I could be one of those people who are happy going to the same place for vacation every year. It would make things so much easier sometimes. Instead I’m constantly battling between someplace new and someplace I’ve already been to before and loved. Even with our new flexibility, there’s still only so much traveling we can do each year. I’ve ended up feeling like there’s not enough time for all the travel I want to do.
I want new places
Travel isn’t about checking places off a list. And yet, I do still enjoy the novelty of visiting a new country. Every year since 2008, I have traveled to at least one new country per year, most years many more than that. My list of countries I have no interest in visiting is much shorter than the list of countries I’d like to go to someday. So each time Andy and I talk about where we want to go next, my instinct is to mention countries I haven’t yet been to. Hungary, Romania, Iceland, Tunisia, Tanzania, almost any country in Latin America, Slovenia, Serbia, Japan… Like I said, too many to name.
But I want the repeats too
At the same time though, I’ve been to some amazing countries I’d love to return to. I loved Lisbon, so I want to go back and see more of the city and the areas surrounding it. I’d love to see more of Portugal. Our two weeks in Turkey were wonderful, but there are so many parts of the country we just didn’t have time for. Poznan really surprised me, and now I want to see more of Poland. I always want to explore more of Italy, Spain, and Greece. I only spent one day in Dubrovnik, so seeing more of Croatia interests me. Since I cut my time in Vietnam short, I really want to go back and see what I didn’t get to. This list goes on and on too.
>>Do you know what the smallest countries in Europe are?
The speedy side effect
This feeling of not having enough time is what spurs me on to travel quicker. Even though I know I enjoy slow travel so much better. And it always seems like such a reasonable argument. I want to see as much as possible and, even though I know better, it seems like the way to do that is to pick up the pace. It’s how I ended up going to Malta (another place I want to return to) for a friend’s wedding several years ago and tacking on a day in Dubrovnik, all in a six day time frame. It’s how, four years ago, I ended up going to Hong Kong, Macau, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Perth, Uluru, Cairns, and Sydney all on a two week trip. (I’m exhausted all over again just thinking about that one.) (That reminds me, I want to go back to Australia too. And Hong Kong.)
>>Hey look! We did go back to Hong Kong and Macau!
I realize my view on all of this is a bit warped. I’ll be 34 in June, so I do still have plenty of years to travel and see the places I want to see. Even if I don’t make it to all of them, it’s ok. My life won’t be any worse off if I never make it to Costa Rica or Namibia or Estonia. When I start thinking there’s not enough time, I have to just remind myself that there’s more time than I think, and what matters is enjoying exploring the world, not racing through it.
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