If you ask people where they want to go on their adventures, their answer will be ‘travel the world’ but most people don’t really mean it, I know I don’t and you probably don’t either.
In case you haven’t noticed, the world is pretty big. There’s a lot of ground (and sea) to cover and you’re not going to be able to get through it all in your gap year (unless you happen to know Superman or have a time machine). So you pick specific places to go to. Maybe you choose Asia because it’s cheap and an easy route to do or Australia and New Zealand because you get to work and save money. We all have our own reasons for our destinations.
These places offer amazing experiences but you’re not really ‘travelling the world’ are you? You’re not visiting every country within each continent; you’re being selective and it’s totally acceptable to do that.
I went to Asia and I’ve been to Africa but I currently have no desire to go to India (although slightly tempted to head there for Holi Festival), I don’t want to go to the Middle East and I don’t ‘care’ about Eastern Europe. Yeah I know, you’re all gasping in horror, just like I would if you said you weren’t interested in Africa but we’re all different. Sure, I could miss out on ‘blah blah blah’ over in Russia or something amazing somewhere in the Middle East but right now, I just don’t care. It’s not that I’m being arrogant to think that nothing in those countries would interest me, it’s just that for the moment, I have priorities. Just like you do.
Maybe going to India has always been your dream since the day you first saw a documentary about the Taj Mahal or you want to go and explore the depths of Russia – go for it! It’s not my adventure or your friends and families – it’s YOURS. Sure you might get some weird looks if you say you fancy going to Uzbekistan but who cares? You have your reasons for going and that’s all that counts. People are still going to be jealous when you catch that amazing sunset or when a local invites you into their home for lunch.
Maybe when I’m older and my priorities/ideals have changed, something will inspire me to explore a little further out of the ordinary and head a little more into the lesser known parts of the world but for the moment, I’m quite happy to follow in the steps of millions of people before me and head to Asia, Australia and New Zealand; after all, there’s a reason so many people go to there. Besides, it takes some serious money to travel the world. You haven’t just got mainland countries but all the little islands in the middle of nowhere…are you going to visit every single island in Micronesia? How about travelling to the middle of the Pacific Ocean for Pitcairn Island? No, I didn’t think so. But if you want it, go for it!
Likewise, who cares if you set yourself 5 days somewhere and up staying for nearly 3 weeks (I did that in Koh Tao, Thailand) – it’s your journey. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t get somewhere that was on your itinerary; you were obviously having too much fun with your new found friends. What DOES matter if the fact that this is YOUR time to do whatever you want. No one’s going to care if you went to the middle of nowhere in the Middle East or partied it up on Koh Phangan; all their care about is that you had the time of your life and enjoyed yourself.
So instead of telling people you’re going to travel the world, tell them that you’re going to travel YOUR world.