How much of the world do you need to see?

A coach full of people on Grand Tour passing Talyllyn Lake in Wales, circa 1907. Photo: Public Domain

A coach full of people on Grand Tour passing Talyllyn Lake in Wales, circa 1907. Photo: Public Domain

OK, travel types. You’ve heard of the grand tour, a historic custom for the upper class, and the current custom of taking a gap year. Taken to the extreme, there’s this from the CBC:

Like many other adventurous young people, Ottawa’s Mike Bown set out to see the world when he was 21 years old.

“At the start I was just travelling because I wanted to to find more wilderness areas and experience different animals and nature,” he said.

“Then I realized that people are equally interesting, if not moreso, (sic) so I guess I just got hooked onto travel and once I got into Asia I couldn’t stop. I had to see the whole planet.”

Twenty-three years and 195 countries later, Bown is back in Canada with journals full of stories and the same backpack he left with.

Pictures from that odyssey are at the article link. Bown plans to write a book about his experiences as well.

My wish list is full of places I have yet to see, and others I would love to visit again. But I feel no need to see the whole world.

What do you think? Did Bown go for too much of a good thing? Or is he a lucky guy to be envied?

Here’s a summary of the top 5 travel destinations Canadians researched on line in 2013.  It’s not terribly adventurous.

And where are Americans thinking of visiting? Well, according an article of top search travel destinations for a broader swath of countries in 2012, and I found it surprising:

Toronto, Canada topped the United States’ list of most searched international travel destinations followed by Paris and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The rest of the list includes Cancun, Vancouver, Rome, Montreal, Tokyo, St. Thomas Island and San Jose del Cabo.

The United States was No. 1 on Norway’s most searched destinations.

Young people are often advised to travel before family life and work responsibilities tie them down. For many the spirit is willing but the bank account is weak.

I lacked money and confidence in my youth, making me unwilling to just go and earn my keep on the road. Saving what I could, I did visit portions of the U.S. west coast and British Columbia in my early 20s. I quite liked what I saw of Canada: lovely country – amazingly clean – with very nice people. At the time, I had no plans to leave Hawaii and could not imagine moving to another country, as happened later. Meanwhile, while I attended school and went to work in urban Honolulu, my home island of Maui grew by leaps and bounds with people who came on vacation, loved it and stayed. (Or moved back later.) So travel is far more than mere entertainment. Sometimes it portends your future.

Given the whole globe to choose from, and assuming you had the means to travel, how would you select what places you want to see most?

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One Response to “How much of the world do you need to see?”

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  1. Pete Klein says:

    I wouldn’t bother to spend either the time or the money.
    Simply seeing is vastly over rated.
    You really don’t know a place until you spend time living and working there.