Travel Truths 03 – Exoticness proportional to travel distance? or “Would Hawaii be equally exotic to Europeans if it were in the Med?”

Let us take a test.

Let’s ask 100 Europeans what their 3 most exquisite travel destinations are. What we will most probably get is Hawaii, Bora-Bora, Chile, Rio, Canada, Japan. Fair enough! As a European I fully sympathise with them.

Now, let us take the same test with 100 North Americans. What they would probably come up is China, Middle East, South Africa, Peru, London etc.

Then let us take the same test with 100 South Americans. Well, for a funny reason South American destinations are omitted from their travel list. They will most probably say New York, Athens, Beijing, Sydney, Dubai, Madrid.

I will not bore you more, but let us just finish up with the same test being taken with 100 Asians. They will most probably say Cape Town, Peru, Canada, Sydney, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Paris.

But let us take a closer look to those answers.

Apparently, and for a funny reason, everybody tends to avoid places in his/her continent (not even his/her country) and tends to pick destinations the furthest away from him/her. Did you ever hear a Londoner wishing to visit the Lake District or Scotland? Did you ever hear a Peruvian wishing to visit Machu Picchu? Did you ever listen to an Italian guy wishing to visit Milano? So, … what is wrong with destinations close to ones place of residence?

… and what does this really mean?

Does this mean that … there is not a single place on earth that objectively could be the best to visit? So, is exoticness and greatness proportional to distance? And if this is the case, why is that? Do we get excited for a wrong reason? Usually people are angered with long haul flights, airports etc but if we are asked we most probably pick destinations the furthest away from us. Have we gone utterly bonkers?

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The truth of the matter is that places far away from us usually are our first priorities because they tend to mathematically have the tiniest probability to be visited by us. Places far away from us

… tend to be more tiresome and difficult to be reached with a single flight

… tend to be more expensive

… tend to be more time-consuming to be reached

…  tend to require much more time to be visited.

… tend to require the most planning

But what does this really have to do with the actual destination attributes – atmosphere, people, food?

Of course somebody would argue that places far away from us tend to have “statistically” people much more different from us hence be more interesting to visit. But if this were the case then all of the people of the world would wish to visit tribes in central Africa! And this is not the case.

So, coming back to our previous question.

Is the best travel proportional to the distance of the destination to our place of residence?

As I usually say, “Would Hawaii be equally exotic to Europeans if it were … placed somewhere in the Mediterranean?”

The truth of the matter is that in travel we need some rationalisation. We do not need to travel the furthest to have an awesome experience. Let’s try to look for the true essence of travel and the true essence of travel destinations. Places equally “exotic” to … atolls in the Pacific can be found in our … backyard!

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