Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Travel List Challenge

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.

  1. Alamo San Antonio, Texas, USA
  2. Alhambra Granada, Spain
  3. Andros Island, Bahamas
  4. Angel Falls, Venezuela
  5. Angkor Wat, Angkor, Cambodia
  6. Atlantic City Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
  7. Ayers Rock, Australia
  8. Big Ben, London, England
  9. Bora Bora, Polynesia
  10. British Museum London, England
  11. Canals of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  12. Cathedral of Seville, Seville, Spain
  13. Cave of Crystals, Mexico
  14. Christ the Redeemer, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
  15. Cinque Terre National Park, Italy
  16. Colloseum Rome, Italy
  17. Crater Lake National Park Oregon, USA
  18. Dead Sea, Israel/Jordan
  19. Death Valley National Park, California, USA
  20. Devil's Tower, Wyoming, USA
  21. Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel
  22. Easter Island Statues, Polynesia (Chilean)
  23. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland
  24. Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
  25. Empire State Building, New York City, New York, USA
  26. Forbidden City, Beijing, China
  27. French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
  28. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
  29. Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
  30. Gettysburg Battlefield, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA
  31. Glacier Bay Basin, Alaska, USA
  32. Glacier National Park, Montana, USA
  33. Glowworm Cave, New Zealand
  34. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, USA
  35. Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
  36. Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA
  37. Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia
  38. Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
  39. Great Mosque of Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain
  40. Great Wall of China, China
  41. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
  42. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii, USA
  43. Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, Califonia, USA
  44. Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil
  45. Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto, Japan
  46. Kremlin, Moscow, Russia
  47. Lake Titicaca, Peru
  48. Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain
  49. Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada
  50. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
  51. Louvre Museum, Paris, France
  52. Macchu Picchu, Peru
  53. Matterhorn, Switzerland
  54. Mayan Pyramids of Chichen, Itza Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
  55. Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City, New York, USA
  56. Mount Everest, Nepal
  57. Mount Fuji, Japan
  58. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
  59. Mount Rushmore Keystone, South Dakota, USA
  60. Napa Valley, California, USA
  61. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
  62. Niagara Falls, New York, USA
  63. Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France
  64. Pacific Rim National Park, British Columbia, Canada
  65. Pebble Beaches of Nice, Nice, France
  66. Petra, Jordan
  67. Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  68. Portland Head Lighthouse, Portland, Maine, USA
  69. Puerta Del Sol, Madrid, Spain
  70. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
  71. Redwood National Park, California, USA
  72. Rock of Gibraltar, Gibraltar
  73. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA
  74. Ruins of Athens, Athens, Greece
  75. Ruins of Pompeii, Pompei, Italy
  76. Sagrada Famila, Barcelona, Spain
  77. Sears Tower Chicago, Illlinois, USA
  78. Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic
  79. Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, Italy
  80. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., USA
  81. Space Needle Seattle, Washington, USA
  82. St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Italy
  83. Statue of Liberty, New York City, New York, USA
  84. Stonehenge Wiltshire County, England
  85. Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
  86. Taj Mahal, Agra, India
  87. Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoto, Japan
  88. Teotihuacan, Mexico
  89. Tian Tan Buddha, Hong Kong, China
  90. Times Square New York City, New York, USA
  91. Varanasi Uttar, Pradesh, India
  92. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  93. Wailing Wall, Jerusalem, Israel
  94. Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida, USA
  95. Washington Monument, Washington, D.C., USA
  96. White Cliffs of Dover, Dover, England
  97. White House, Washington, D.C., USA
  98. Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, England
  99. Yosemite National Park, California, USA
  100. 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.

1 comment:

  1. Have you tried the local challenge?