Go Someplace New…

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Every so often – whether during an interview or during casual conversation – someone asks me how many countries I’ve been to. I attribute the query to curiosity, of course, but also to the significant number of social media peeps that are actually keeping track. #notme

Nah.

Nah.

The truth is that I don’t know; I have never counted. It probably isn’t even that many. Call me oppositional if you’d like, but since I tend to be the type to look ahead, I tend to be more focused on the places I want to go than the places I’ve been. #IJS

But in order to prepare for tax time every year (my least favorite annual exercise in stress), I am forced to tally up my travel expenses and take a nice little jaunt down memory lane. Not one to maintain a calendar with any consistency (I know, I know), I sometimes have to scroll through my Facebook Wall for reminders that I have turned my life over to travel, all for business, philanthropy and pleasure. And no, I am not complaining.

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Me and my shadow lost in Sarlat. France, circa 2012.

I am in Paris right now (for pleasure and a little business), have been here many times, and plan to come back many more. But there are tons of places in the City of Light (or France, for that matter) I have never seen before which means that every time I return, I make it a point to go out there and get lost to get found. So for me, the Dalai Lama’s challenge isn’t so much about not returning to a place you love, but about seeking out the new once you go back. And no, you don’t have to use your passport (you have one, right?) or hop a plane either. The city next door, the one you’ve taken for granted and have been promising to get to, will work just fine. And then there’s this really cool idea about becoming a tourist in your own hometown

In 2013, I went many places, but to at least four international destinations (but who’s counting?) I had never visited: A little over three weeks in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil (more here) because I have always wanted to go to Brazil; 10 days in Anguilla, a unique British overseas territory in the northern Caribbean, as press for the Anguilla Literary Festival: A Literary Jollification and a little R&R; and 7 days respectively in Central America’s Belize and Costa Rica, both with respect to The Passport Party Project. (I also used my Epcot passport and had my first (amazing!) Florida Walt Disney World experience at Disney Dreamer’s Academy. And true to form, I can’t count the number of times I’ve been to Disneyland in California either.)

A vintage postcard over a white background.So here’s the challenge: Give it a shot. Do the Dalai Lama-thing and pick a place you’ve never been before, no matter where it is, and go. Go for a day, a week or a month. Shoot, become an expatriate and then re-patriate if you please. But just revel in The New and inhale. It might make you feel a little awkward at first, but in the end, it’ll make you feel brand new. I promise. (And don’t forget to send yourself a postcard. My husband and I do it every trip.)

Have you been anywhere this year you’ve never been before? Traveling minds want to know…

4 thoughts on “Go Someplace New…

  1. I love the idea that you and your husband send yourselves a postcard from your vacations! That’s cool idea. Like you, I don’t really keep up with how many places I’ve been, but I did an informal count because it seemed like people were interested. This year I’ve already visited four new cities. Yaaaaaay!!! I’ll throw in three more before this year is out. That’s seven new cities for this year. But, even if it’s just one new place, it’s enough to get your mind stimulated in a different way (new neuro-pathways are created in the brain every time we do something new). I think this is important in life but especially if you’re the creative type. People shouldn’t let themselves get stagnant! Thanks for sharing this. This was a good read.

    • How lucky you are to be able to visit so many places! And you’re right. The NUMBER of places doesn’t matter although it can make for interesting convo among a grateful crowd. I think there are a number of travel elitists out there “country counting” and making suggestions like “don’t be a tourist” and “go off the beaten path” and I have always found that rather lame, so it’s possible that my refusal to count countries is my own personal way of demonstrating without a picket sign. LOL It’s a blessing to be able to travel ANYWHERE and I think frequent travelers sometimes take for granted that most people aren’t traveling as much as they are.
      Thanks for the comment and for sharing. Let’s see how many new neuro-pathways we can all create, okay? 😉

  2. In 2013, I visited three places I had never been (two were on my “must visit” list). I always wanted to go to Savannah after seeing the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil and after seeing Paula Deen’s artery-clogging dishes on tv. I made it there finally, but not for anything mysterious or fattening, but for a St. Patrick’s Day parade! Apparently, Savannah’s parade is just as big as New York’s. Who knew? All kinds of people in so many shades of green. There was even a Gumby sighting 🙂

    I also went to Niagara Falls, which I always wanted to do. The add-on bonus was driving to Toronto… Only an hour plus drive. It was so easy to get on the highway and explore. Next time, we’ll drive even further into Canada to discover how our Northern neighbors live 🙂

  3. LOL Savannah sounds like fun, Gina! Green Gumby and all. *big smile* I would love to go there too. I have images of sipping mint juleps on a porch while admiring a front yard and neighborhood replete with low hanging trees. Corny, right? *giggle*
    Funny how you went to Niagara from the US side and then went to Toronto. I actually went to Toronto and went to Niagara-on-the-Lake (beautiful!) and Niagara Falls from the Canadian side some years ago and had my first ice wine. Loved it. What’s weird is that I NEVER thought about going to Niagara Falls from Canada. Wasn’t it beautiful, though? (Which is why you’ll never hear me tell someone “not to behave like a tourist.” Why miss all that beauty?) Thanks for sharing…

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