For those that haven’t heard of top trumps: Wikipedia Top Trumps
So why has travel become a game of top trumps lately? It seems everyone is in a hurry to visit as many counties as they can, just to say they’ve been there and brag to their friends. The pictures are on facebook before they’ve even boarded the plane home. Travel, it would seem, is the new Louis Vuitton handbag. A must have.
I was sat next to a couple on a short plane flight a few weeks back, on my way back home. They were “place droppers” and mentioned New York, I said “Oh yes I like New York, too.” They then wanted to show off and name somewhere they didn’t think I would have been and they mentioned Chicago. To which I commented “I wish I’d had more than a few days there.” They seemed insistent to want to shake me off and mentioned LA. Yes you’ve guessed it I came back with “I loved Santa Monica and Venice Beach.”
Oh no I’d started to play their game! How did I get sucked in? Then I asked “have you ever travelled along route 66?” I told them “It’s great to see a cross section of the country, see the changing scenery, changing accents and change in culture.” They looked at me blankly and didn’t really understand but hey I’d just won: Top Trumps!
The following should come as no surprise: I love travelling. I love meeting new people. I love experiencing new cultures. I love how each country teaches me something new.
I don’t travel to a new country, just to say I’ve been there, nor to add to my count of countries I’ve visited. The picture above was from Puerto Rico, and a couple of years ago this was not an easy place to get to from the UK; it took me 15 hours and 3 flights to get home, and as it’s a US territory neither can I add to my count of countries I’ve visited. (That is if I were keeping count.) This is not a location for those wanting easy ‘travel points’.
Some friends consider me the most travelled person they know. I know better. Sure I’ve visited a few places, but as far as I’m concerned I’ve not even started yet. Some friends consider me a holiday maker and not a traveller because I’ve not spent 6 months in hostels with a rucksack attached to my back. I don’t think I’m either, I’m just someone who wants to experience a new culture, place, climate ,amongst other things. Throughout the array of travel bloggers on the internet I know I’m a rookie at seeing the world.
I paused writing this, not sure why I was telling this story or indeed why the travel top trumps game was bothering me. I read this article This is why I won’t stop travelling and then it all made sense. I was bothered because I was getting sucked into the game. I was starting to play. I’d love to spend months travelling, and maybe one day I can make it happen. It’s been two and half years since I’ve been anywhere outside of Europe, and I’m ready for my views on the world to be changed. I’m ready to see somewhere I could never imagine. I’m indeed ready for my two week holiday/safari/travel (delete as applicable) in Botswana and Zimbabwe. I wonder how my views on life, universe and everything will change.
I don’t care that this trip will give me new cards to play, I won’t use them. Next time I end up in a game of travel top trumps I’ll tell them the furthest I’ve been is Costa del Sol.