What impressions do you have about destinations you’ve not visited?
What shapes your decisions about what you deem worthy to visit?
A few years ago, there was a Fountain Tire ad on Canadian television featuring a smiling, bald man in shorts with a camera around his neck. He had a seat on an airplane between two businessmen working on laptops. While talking to these two men, he learns the plane is not going to Hawaii. They are “going to Winnipeg”.
Winnipeg, Manitoba is the city I have lived in for over 40 years. I think it has a lot to offer both residents and visitors, but the city has often been dismissed by other parts of Canada (and perhaps the rest of the world) as a destination not worthy of visiting. There are many locations throughout the world which receive the same dismissive response, often by people who have never been there. I am dismayed when I hear people, particularly those who profess a love of travel and a desire to explore, scorn and bypass locations and sites they know next to nothing about.
People have different likes and interests. That diversity is one of the things that makes life and people interesting. Someone bored with art will not enjoy time in an art gallery. A non-skier who hates snow will likely feel uncomfortable at a ski resort. I understand choices based on interests. And I understand that people need to prioritize travel plans because there is a lot to see and discover in the world and, for most of us, limited time and money. What I have a harder time getting my head around is an eagerness to brand an unfamiliar place as unworthy, belittling other people’s travel choices or a refusal to consider the offerings of a place one winds up in by circumstance.
A travelling mindset means an openness to new experiences and new connections, a desire to explore and discover. While it is a great experience to be able to visit the well-known tourist meccas and exotic “flavour of the day” locations, there are also wonderful things to be found in lesser-known and sometimes dismissed locales. If we open our heart, ears and eyes, we may discover hidden gems. A secret garden, funky art, talking statues, unusual history, awesome nature or an exquisite restaurant. Every person and every place has a story.
Sometimes circumstances take us to one of the top tourist destinations. Other times we wind up somewhere else, either by choice or accident. We can discover delights in either situation.
I hope you find something to discover and savour wherever you wind up – one of the great cities of the world, a popular exotic location, a small outpost few have heard of, your own hometown or “going to Winnipeg”.
To know ahead of time what you’re looking for means you’re then only photographing your own preconceptions, which is very limiting, and often false. ∼Dorothea Lange
Wherever you go, go with all your heart. ∼Confucius
We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. ∼Jawaharial Nehru
(Note: if you are interested in the Fountain Tire commercial, you can find it here.)