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We all have our own travel philosophies and most of us are fairly certain that we’ve figured out what it is we want to get out of our time on the road. Some of us like to go to the beach, some of us like the mountains, and some of us don’t like to leave the country at all.
I’m not here to tell you that your annual trip to the cabin or the shore that you return to every summer is not rewarding - we all have our happy places - but in my humble opinion, you should make sure that you aren’t missing out on seeing or experiencing something even more spectacular.
I made the decision a few years ago, as I began to approach my 30’s, that I wanted to make sure I had seen all the places that I always wanted to see before I settled down and became responsible for someone(s) other than myself. So I made a list of all the areas I’d ever desired to set foot in and decided to shrug off any trepidation I’d ever felt and just do it.
The list included off-the-beaten-track destinations such as North Korea, India, Kyrgyzstan, Xinjiang, Mongolia, Iraq (Kurdistan), among others. I’m happy to say that so far I’ve checked all but the last two off my list, and will be ticking off Mongolia after October Holiday. But the problem is: the list keeps growing. I thought Kyrgyzstan last year would be my first and last venture into “the crazy” or "the random", but it seems that the old adage of being “bitten by the travel bug” rings true to me. The experiences gained on each trip, before and since, have been well worth the risk of an uninteresting or unrewarding venture. I made the decision to go see some of these unorthodox places because I feel like my time to see them is finite, and it turns out the positive experiences gained from seeing them is an investment well worth the time and the money.
I am sure that some of you will skim this piece and shrug it off, and those who think that a relaxing destination is the only place to spend their valuable vacation time, and more power to all of you for knowing what makes you happy. This message is primarily directed at the rest of you, the travelers who have always been curious about the strange and unknown: try something different! You won’t regret it one bit.