Jun 212015
 

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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.)

  8 Responses to “Why Would I Go There?”

  1. That would really be interesting…to board a plane think you are off to one place, only to discover yourself in another:) Provided you weren’t in a wedding party that you now couldn’t make! But your key point…and I love it… is the Confucius quote… “Wherever you go, go with your heart.”

    • Jacquie, when I boarded a plane that had two side-by-side gates boarding at the same time, I liked to double-check I’d gotten on the right one. Wherever you go, go with your heart!

  2. Great point! I love the 2nd quote. I would even add be present wherever you go.

  3. Hm, I like your arguments. I don’t travel a lot, but I usually go places where 1) I know people I want to visit or 2) it’s not too far from home (so we can drive instead of taking a plane). Maybe at some point when my husband retires, we will do more extensive travel, but I doubt it will be a lot.

  4. Great post! I loved your phrase “traveling mindset” and your explanation of it as an enthisiasm for new experiences as well as “new connections.” As for Winnipeg – those who dismiss it haven’t read some of the posts you’ve done about the city. I’d love to visit! Anita

  5. Leora, part of my point is that you don’t need to travel far or even a lot to discover things of interest and worth seeing. We often forget the treasures to be found in our home towns. Hope you enjoy wherever you go or just staying close to home.

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