I haven’t been everywhere and I like it that way

I was scrolling through old posts on my WordPress dashboard, and noticed that one of them was marked private. I often start post ideas or write personal notes to myself in this way, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary, but the title intrigued me. It had been privately published in September, but I must have forgotten about it. Curious, I clicked on it and found the following. It’s strange, because I remember thinking about this for a good week, but hardly remember writing it. Reading it now, I still whole heartedly agree, so I decided to re-publish it.

You are probably familiar with the Susan Sontag quote:

I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.

Well, how’s this one for you?

I haven’t been everywhere, and I like it that way.

Everyone has their “list”, and hey–so do I. However, I don’t want to go everywhere.

I like that there is still a little mystery left in the world. Once you travel to a given location, it’s no longer part of the unknown, it becomes familiar. With each country you visit, that list starts to become smaller and smaller. If you check off every item, what’s left?

When I was younger, places like Iceland, Turkey, Australia and the Finland seemed like faraway magical lands that I could only ever dream about. Now? Now Iceland is that place that I climbed the basalt columns to get to the puffins, Turkey is that place that I broke three pairs of sandals in two days, Australia is that place that I fell off the surfboard ten times in a row, and Finland is that place that I slept in the glass igloo. It’s familiar.

Now, places like India, Mongolia, Antarctica and Papua New Guinea are the locations that captivate me. They still appear mysterious and alluring, because I have not yet been there. But, what happens when I do travel there? Because I will, one day. The mystery will vanish, and nothing will be left.

This is the reason that I DON’T want to travel everywhere in the world. Without imagination, curiosity and wonder… what else is there?

 —

I have countless other notes like this hidden away in my unpublished WordPress folder, but I thought I would share this one with you.

Do you want to go everywhere?

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30 Responses to “I haven’t been everywhere and I like it that way”

  1. Lizzie
    January 16, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    Yes, yes, yes! I completely agree. If we don’t have places that are mysterious and alluring in some way then there would be no reason to travel. What’s left if there’s nothing to look forward to, right?
    Lizzie recently posted..Overlooked Destinations: The Great British Countryside

    • Seattle
      January 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

      Exactly! It’s a good thing the world is so big, there will always be something and somewhere to look forward to :]

  2. Helena
    January 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    i totally agree with the main idea, we all need curiosity in our lives, and limits left to cross and places left to explore. But i also think that there’s always MORE to the places we’ve already been. I mean, for example, i know that you’ve been to Barcelona (yeah, i follow Seattle’s travels from the very begining 😛 ) but you can’t cross Spain off your list just because of that. i’m from right across the country and it’s completely different, and that happens everywhere. Even with the places you’ve already visited, they still have spots you’ve missed or things that have changed.
    So what i’m trying to say is don’t worry, you can always keeo curious if you really want to 🙂

    • Seattle
      January 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

      Ah yes, you make a good point. I definitely want to visit Spain, and many of the other places I’ve already been, again. I often return to places that I’ve already been, and always find new things. Also, thanks for reading for so long, hehe 😀

  3. Ghada
    January 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    No, of course since its pretty much impossible.
    But traveling and going everywhere I want is what I wanna do. And even if the list becomes smaller, there are more things to do in a country we visited that we didn’t do. For example, going to Switzerland mountains in summer is a totally different experience when you go in winter!

    • Seattle
      January 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

      Agreed. Revisiting previous destinations is always a good way to cure wanderlust without spoiling every mystery of the world.

  4. Nicole
    January 16, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

    Great post, Seattle!

    Countries aren’t like Pokemon – you don’t have to catch ’em all. 🙂
    (Though I’d like to see the whole world… eventually. Walking stick and knitting needles (wow, that would imply I take up knitting…) in tow!)
    Nicole recently posted..Next Stop? Off to Visit Malaysia!

    • Seattle
      January 16, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

      Hahaaaa! That may be the best thing I’ve heard in awhile 😀

  5. Amanda
    January 17, 2013 at 1:04 am #

    You know, I agree with you Seattle!

    Part of the fun of being a traveler is the fact that I have so many options – there SO MUCH out there to see. If I visited every place possible, where would the excitement lie? Like you said, there has to be a little mystery left.
    Amanda recently posted..What the Fook is a Loony Dook?

    • Seattle
      January 17, 2013 at 1:34 am #

      Exactly! I know it’s impossible to actually visit every place, but it would be a strange, sad day if that happened.

  6. Arne
    January 17, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    I found that it was the exact opposite once I had visited places like Patagonia, Yosemite etc. I just became even more intrigued, but I know there are places that I will probably never get to but that does not stop me planning the trips in my mind, researching them etc. I do wish I could go everywhere though.

    • Seattle
      January 17, 2013 at 1:37 am #

      Yeah, I certainly don’t get bored of the places that I have been. In fact, I’m already planning returns for two trips from last year, haha. But, nothing is ever quite the same the second time around. Like I said, it becomes.. familiar.

  7. kami
    January 17, 2013 at 6:51 am #

    I second every word you wrote! Also I don’t mind re-visiting some places that I truly enjoyed instead of always going to new destinations. I also know there’s no way I’d enjoy every single places I’m gonna visit. That’s just how it is and we should get used to that
    kami recently posted..strolling down the streets of Bautzen

    • Seattle
      January 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

      Very true! I don’t love every place that I visit either.

  8. Ally
    January 19, 2013 at 2:43 am #

    I’m not sure if anyone could ever visit everywhere anyway ha ha but I do think its good to leave some parts of the world a mystery, especially if its a place you’ve no interest in visiting.
    Ally recently posted..Jumpsuits for Travel

    • Seattle
      January 20, 2013 at 11:46 am #

      Haha, no probably not. Contrarily, I cannot think of one place that I don’t want to visit. I mean, I’d probably greedily take the opportunity to see it all if it were ever presented… but then I’d have that same sad feeling I get after finishing a series of books and there’s nothing left to read :p

      And that really had nothing to do with what you said.. I’m just rambling again lol

  9. Ryan
    January 19, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    Seattle, this is such an amazing find and thanks for choosing to share this. I always have that sense of mystery and I never want it to leave as well. I always viewed traveling as something only the rich could do, or something only done in movies. Once I finally did leave the country and travel through New Zealand, it became so clear to me that anyone can travel. But when it became clear it also lost that mystique. It’s kind of hard to explain, and it’s not a bad thing that the world became more accessible, it’s just a different feeling now. Before it may have seemed like a fantasy, but now it’s more of a desire to see the world. You have traveled way more than myself, so the mystery is still alive in every country for now.

    Rad post!
    Ryan recently posted..1 Month Blogging: Update and What’s to Come!

    • Seattle
      January 20, 2013 at 11:41 am #

      Well said. Although I may have travelled a bit now, I didn’t leave Canada (aside from a few drives to NY) until I was 17, so I totally know what you mean. While most were diaper-clad travellers, I had to work/save up and head out after high school on my own, therefore realizing that accessibility on my own. It’s a very different feeling than having family pay your way.

      But, I’m nowhere near the point of losing that desire or mystery, it was just a passing thought for the far future :]

  10. rob
    January 31, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    I realized, flying home from a trip to Croatia a couple of years ago, that I was never going to be able to “see” everywhere. For a moment I was sad, but then I realized that that’s OK. One has to balance “real life” with exploring. For me that balance means I’ll probably never live for 6 months in Chiang Mai like some of my friends have done. But they’ll never live for 4 years in Sweden as I did. We all see the world differently anyway, so we may as well see different subsets of it too!

    • Seattle Dredge
      August 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

      That’s very true, we will all see it differently. And might I add–totally jealous that you got to live in Sweden for 4 years :p
      Seattle Dredge recently posted..Feeding Sea Turtles in Barbados

      • rob
        August 13, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

        Yeah – I made friends in Sweden that I’ll have till I die. For that matter, their kids are now my friends. Two years ago I was out having beer and conversation with a young man I’d held in my hands when he was 12 hours old. Kind of freaky for a non-parent like me.

        • Seattle Dredge
          August 13, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

          Wow, that is kinda freaky, haha. It’s great to have friends from abroad. About 90% of mine are from out of the country and it’s always just the same each time I see them :]

  11. Liz
    January 31, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    This is wonderful, and a great sentiment. I get annoyed when people go places only so they can check them of their list and brag about them later. To me, this isn’t the point of travel. If that’s your only reason for travel, you need to rething your priorities! It’s nice to be able to romanticize a place in your head.

    • Seattle Dredge
      August 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

      ohhh yesss that is one of the things that bothers me most. I find it quite evident when people who hate cold places travel to Antarctica simply so they can say they’ve been to 7 continents, haha.
      Seattle Dredge recently posted..Feeding Sea Turtles in Barbados

  12. Christine
    January 31, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    On that same note, I’d rather go to fewer places but spend more time in them. When I was in Southeast Asia for three months, I could have easily hopped over to Cambodia and Laos and seen the main tourist sites while I was “in the area.” Instead, I spent more time in Vietnam and got to see more of that country– and don’t regret it a bit!

  13. Shailesh Jangra
    February 20, 2013 at 5:23 am #

    I don’t think so. World is very big and no one can completely explore one place and what is the benefit of that mystery which always sucks your life. I think one should travel atleast those countries which are very different from their hometown. Anyway, views differs from person to person. But beauty always wins. 🙂

    • Seattle Dredge
      August 13, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

      Yes, I definitely prefer to visit places that are very different from home. And, I know I’ll never fully explore everywhere.. there are still places at home I haven’t seen :]
      Seattle Dredge recently posted..Feeding Sea Turtles in Barbados

  14. Luke
    March 15, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

    I concur. Sometimes I wish I could have traveled way back in the late 1800’s because cultures were more diversified and it took more work to get someplace. I think it would be great fun to ride a steamer across the ocean to go to a place they do not even speak English. Then I think about how wonderful it is that I can go so many places in my lifetime.

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