My father has an insatiable desire to see what’s round the next corner. I am without a doubt my father’s son, as I have the exact same desire. That’s why, whenever I travel, I always come away wishing I had seen more. It’s a never-ending journey. That said, I am an advocate of picking targets carefully, when travelling.
For example, I went to Namibia a couple of years ago, for 2 weeks. It was by far the best holiday I have ever had. Part of the reason for this is that I did not overextend myself. I didn’t try to see everything the country has to offer. Instead, I stuck to a cross-country circuit that I knew was doable, starting in Sossusvlei…
and then making my way to Swakopmund…
tracking inland to Damaraland…
and then north to the majestic safari parks of Etosha and Okonjima.
Because Namibia is such a large country with the majority of roads unpaved, you simply cannot see everything there in one holiday.
But that’s the point.
The name of my blog is Too Much To See, precisely because you cannot possibly hope to see everything the world has to offer. You can try, and I certainly will, but that’s where the eternal joy of travelling lies, for me. Not quite seeing what’s over the next hill or round the corner, and thinking: “next time, Paul, next time”. Travelling is a constant tease: a never-ending journey.
Inevitably, people gravitate to places that everyone says are awesome: New York City, Paris, anywhere in Italy, the pacific coast of California…
Those places certainly have earned their reputation for many. But there is so much world out there, that getting off the beaten track carries untold rewards. Think about Costa Rica, for example. Now, if you speak with the hardcore backpacking crowd, some might tell you that it’s no longer a cool place to go because it’s been ‘discovered’ by tourism. To that I say: nonsense, Costa Rica is amazing!
Its variety, despite its small size, means that there is always something interesting to see, whether it’s secret beaches, or beautiful birds, or stunning, high-altitude rainforest.
And yet, even with a small country like Costa Rica, you stand no chance of seeing everything it has to offer in 2 weeks.
The world is like a jigsaw puzzle. A great, unfinishable jigsaw puzzle. Each country is also its own jigsaw puzzle that you might be able to complete if you return multiple times – except for microstates like Andorra or Liechtenstein, which you could probably knock off in one visit!
Even if you visit somewhere and see everything it has to offer, you will never truly get under its skin unless you live there. I have lived in or near London for nearly 12 years, and I feel like I am still getting the measure of the place. And I haven’t even been on the obligatory tour of Buckingham Palace, even though I have seen it from the outside – what a travesty!
It just goes to show that, even if you travel to all corners of the globe, as I have been lucky enough to do, you can easily miss what is right on your doorstep. And there is so much else to visit than the obvious attractions, too.
So, get out there, explore, take your time, and revel in the adventure of discovery. It’s been an absolute joy to travel the world and one that I would not want to trade for anything.
Now, where’s my map?!