Let me be the first to say that I never do these lists. However, after seeing them pop up on Facebook enough times, I figured I'd look it over. The food list seemed pretty extensive, so I figured I'd try out the travel one.
"How well traveled are you?"
See if you notice anything weird with this list.
- Alamo San Antonio, Texas, USA
- Alhambra Granada, Spain
- Andros Island, Bahamas
- Angel Falls, Venezuela
- Angkor Wat, Angkor, Cambodia
- Atlantic City Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
- Ayers Rock, Australia
- Big Ben, London, England
- Bora Bora, Polynesia
- British Museum London, England
- Canals of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Cathedral of Seville, Seville, Spain
- Cave of Crystals, Mexico
- Christ the Redeemer, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
- Cinque Terre National Park, Italy
- Colloseum Rome, Italy
- Crater Lake National Park Oregon, USA
- Dead Sea, Israel/Jordan
- Death Valley National Park, California, USA
- Devil's Tower, Wyoming, USA
- Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel
- Easter Island Statues, Polynesia (Chilean)
- Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland
- Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
- Empire State Building, New York City, New York, USA
- Forbidden City, Beijing, China
- French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
- Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
- Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
- Gettysburg Battlefield, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA
- Glacier Bay Basin, Alaska, USA
- Glacier National Park, Montana, USA
- Glowworm Cave, New Zealand
- Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, USA
- Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
- Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA
- Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia
- Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
- Great Mosque of Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain
- Great Wall of China, China
- Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii, USA
- Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, Califonia, USA
- Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil
- Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto, Japan
- Kremlin, Moscow, Russia
- Lake Titicaca, Peru
- Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain
- Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada
- Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
- Louvre Museum, Paris, France
- Macchu Picchu, Peru
- Matterhorn, Switzerland
- Mayan Pyramids of Chichen, Itza Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
- Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City, New York, USA
- Mount Everest, Nepal
- Mount Fuji, Japan
- Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
- Mount Rushmore Keystone, South Dakota, USA
- Napa Valley, California, USA
- Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
- Niagara Falls, New York, USA
- Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France
- Pacific Rim National Park, British Columbia, Canada
- Pebble Beaches of Nice, Nice, France
- Petra, Jordan
- Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Portland Head Lighthouse, Portland, Maine, USA
- Puerta Del Sol, Madrid, Spain
- Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
- Redwood National Park, California, USA
- Rock of Gibraltar, Gibraltar
- Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA
- Ruins of Athens, Athens, Greece
- Ruins of Pompeii, Pompei, Italy
- Sagrada Famila, Barcelona, Spain
- Sears Tower Chicago, Illlinois, USA
- Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic
- Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, Italy
- Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., USA
- Space Needle Seattle, Washington, USA
- St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Italy
- Statue of Liberty, New York City, New York, USA
- Stonehenge Wiltshire County, England
- Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
- Taj Mahal, Agra, India
- Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoto, Japan
- Teotihuacan, Mexico
- Tian Tan Buddha, Hong Kong, China
- Times Square New York City, New York, USA
- Varanasi Uttar, Pradesh, India
- Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Wailing Wall, Jerusalem, Israel
- Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida, USA
- Washington Monument, Washington, D.C., USA
- White Cliffs of Dover, Dover, England
- White House, Washington, D.C., USA
- Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, England
- Yosemite National Park, California, USA
- Zion National Park, Utah, USA
Did you notice it? 33 are in the United States. 33! Really? Since when does well traveled mean traveling to the United States? 3 places in Washington D.C. alone? And places like Gettysburg? Or Mt. Rushmore? How is that relevant to anyone not into American History, the Civil War, or the defacement of a once sacred Native American mountain?
There are 27 in Western Europe (being generous too, not using Europe as a whole by taking out The Czech Republic, Russia, Turkey, Gibraltar, Jordan, and Israel). So between the US and Western Europe, "How well traveled?" are you?
60%. This challenge gives you 60% for just Western Europe and the US.
Let's break down this list even further. "Well-traveled" should mean places as well as objects, right? But is it well traveled if you went to Notre Dame, and then "traveled" all the way to the Eiffel Tower? It's a freaking metro away for crying out loud. And there's the Louvre on this list too? The Louvre? How is that well traveled? It should list, "Visited Paris." You get 3 for Paris alone.
Want an easy 6? Visit Spain (2 for Barcelona). 1 more for Gibraltar but don't worry about Portugal. 7 for Italy! But Germany? Nothing of interest there.
How is Asia represented? Japan? There are 2 for Kyoto. Basically, you can visit Kiyomizu Temple, spend the morning there, take the bus across town to the Golden Pavilion. Done. 2 checks. Next door Nara or Osaka? Too far for this list. With Mt. Fuji, you get 3 for Japan. But nearby countries? Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand... you get the idea. Nothing there more important than the Washington Monument. Grand total for Asia (including Pacific Islands, and even Easter Island)--12.
Don't get me wrong--this challenge is a good start. For people who have never owned a passport or even left their home state or county, there are a lot of good trip ideas on here.
But you're not well-traveled if you've been to all 100 places on this this. Yes, you've seen a lot. You are not well-traveled if you have 14 from the East Coast (of the US), and 3 from your study abroad in Paris.
I know I'm not well-traveled. The thing is, the more places you visit, the less you've seen. You realize that the world is a much bigger place than you could have even imagined. Each time you meet a fellow traveler and hear new stories, places get added to your own, personal list, until your list gets out of control, and you realize: there is simply too much. Too many places, too many people, too many experiences to be had. Because you realize that traveling with different people, interacting with different locals, visiting at different times, everything factors into your trip. You can visit the same place 100 times and each experience will be different. It no longer matters to check off your bucket list because you know the best experiences and the best stories come from the times you didn't plan. The places you never heard of or read about in a book.
Maybe that's what it means to be well-traveled--well-lived.
Or maybe I'm just bitter that I've only been to 30.