Why I don’t plan to visit every country in the world

Who’s counting? Are you? I am not. I don’t exactly know how many countries I’ve been to but I have great stories of my favourite places. As much as I wanted to collect stamps on my passport, I am more eager in collecting memories. I am more interested in how people cook, live, eat and sleep.

“When are you ever leaving Peru? Why are you still in Peru?” they asked. I know it’s been a long time but Peru has such diversity that most places don’t have. Sure, this country is only known for Machu Picchu but believe me when I say there is more to that.

I just received my Peruvian residency visa a week ago and I am becoming more and more comfortable in living here. I am renting a small apartment in front of the beach, I can wake up anytime I want, I have a job and I am surrounded by people who are so different from me. From what I notice, everyday, I am becoming more and more like a Peruvian and I like how I get to be another version of myself while I am here.

 

How Do I Chose The Countries I Visit?

I don’t. My feet just take me there and Batman will take care of the rest. I don’t sit down and plan these things. As soon as I arrive, I need to get a hold of the place by walking around first — not planning to visit some popular landmark. The first time I felt Brasil was right when I strolled down the busy area of Liberdade in Sao Paulo. Although it’s one of the biggest cities in South America, the madness made me high — busy streets, traffic, trains overloaded with passengers going to work, long lines, etc. At the time, I don’t know why these things made me happy when in fact, most people should hate it by default. I don’t know. Something is right about Sao Paulo.

It didn’t feel right for some places though. As much as I love Peru, I have developed this hate relationship with Lima. Having lived in Paracas for six months now, Lima just made me sick. Imagine traffic, people, high cost of living and awful weather altogether? Hell. F*cking hell.

 

Why Travel Slow?

Traveling at your own time and pace gives you the opportunity to have your own understanding about a certain place. If you’ve been to Paris and only visited the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph and Champs-Élysées, can you really say you know about the French culture, the language and the food? I have no intentions of mocking your way of travel but why do you keep telling me you don’t have enough money to travel long-term when you can visit Paris for 15 days? Did you know that your 15-day Paris budget is already 1.5 months budget for me?

Ahhh, slow travel. It’s beautiful. It’s very beautiful. It will make you naturally educated about certain things. I didn’t know how to choose the right wine (for every meal) during my first weeks living in Milan. I was like, there’s a ‘proper’ wine for every meal? What? The art of opening a wine bottle also surprised me. As time goes by, these simple learnings become a habit — until you are a full citizen of the world, educated by tangible experiences. It’s a virus. It will stick with you forever, anywhere you go.

 

Some Amazing Things I’ve Seen and Done By Traveling Slow

There are a lot, I tell you. But in this list, there are some things that I haven’t really told you the story about because of some confidential matters. But everything will be revealed (in a few years, ssshhhh!) when I write a book about my life.

  • I was robbed in Rio de Janeiro and this one dude invited me to have lunch in his house in the favelas. He’s living with his grandmother. They helped me. They fed me. They welcomed me in their little home and I was penniless.
  • I lived with different host families in Colombia, Ecuador, Brasil and Uruguay. I made sure I stayed with them for a maximum of three months and I learned a lot from living with local families. The experience was so powerful and fundamental.
  • I traveled 7 days straight (by land) from La Paz, Bolivia to Sao Paulo, Brasil for the World Cup. It wasn’t easy — I slept on bus stations to save cash on hostels, skipped a meal for almost 14 hours because the bus didn’t stop for food, met a lot of people traveling from everywhere in Latin America just to reach Brasil for the World Cup. I will never forget nor regret this time in my life!
  • I am fluent in 5 languages just because of traveling. That, I cannot explain. I just love languages and being able to stay in a place for a long time! Want to hear me speaking in different languages? Check out my Facebook videos!

These are just some. The bulk of my experiences is from Volunteering, to be honest. Volunteering made me the person who I am today — simple, not craving for too much material things and of course, being able to LIVE LIFE. I am not just saying it. I can feel it!

I am not rich. I do a lot of things to keep myself on the road and to refrain from going home. I do this so I will be able to explore the worlds I want to explore for as long as I want. I would rather spend time and money on life-changing and significant experiences than to cross out 100+ countries on my list. Besides, I don’t want to prove anything. I don’t want to be labeled a World Traveller. I want to be called a Road Scholar who is rich in experiences, learnings and life lessons.

FUN FACT: “Road Scholar” was one of the blog name ideas I had in mind. It just didn’t fit well in some aspects.

Now, tell me your thoughts. I want to hear from you: do you want to visit every country in the world? Why? Or why not?


When I am high about life, I often write random thoughts on Twitter. Are you okay with weird? With random? With thoughts that you think you understand but after a while, you realise that you do? Then let’s talk on Twitter

 

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

Comments

  • August 15, 2015

    Yes, yes, and yes!!!! Personally, I value quality over quantity. There is so much to learn and explore it seems a waste to rush through everything for the sole purpose of reaching a certain number.

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  • August 15, 2015

    I really love your thoughts about travelling. You wrote my kind(and dream) of travelling. Thanks for not flaunting and flooding me with your travel photos on your social media accounts. ☺️

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  • August 15, 2015

    What! You were robbed in Rio de Janeiro?!!!! Grrrrrrr,,,, come home at once!

    Mom

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  • August 15, 2015

    Such a great perspective – we totally agree. We’ve never made a bucket list and rarely do we plan where we go next (although there are some countries we REALLY want to make it to… eventually). We let ourselves enjoy and explore a new destination slowly and we usually end up in the next place by some twist of fate, some unexpected development or whatever cheap flight we find. Love that you’re on a mission to experience the world, or whatever parts you end up seeing, rather than crossing off items on a list or collecting stamps in your passport!

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  • August 15, 2015

    I could not agree with this more. I am currently in Mexico and like you, staying with someone for 3 months. I feel not bigger or better by hopping from hostel to hostel or going from city to city, country to country. I am not traveling. I am just choosing to be alive somewhere else.

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  • August 15, 2015

    I completely agree – for some reason I have no interest in ticking every country off my list. Mostly because there are plenty of places that just don’t appeal to me for many reasons.
    Slow travel and getting a true, in depth, local experience is much more important to me!

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  • August 15, 2015

    Awesome post! I too travelled to Peru and just found more and more things to do that I just never left the country and now I live here and about to get my residency as well. Zipping through 5 countries in one month sounds awful to me.

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  • August 16, 2015

    Oh yes! Kudos to you for having that attitude- I’ve never understood the joy in turning travel into some kind of rat race consisting of counting countries ‘this is the 50th country I’ve done”, sounds almost crass doesn’t it? I’m the same- I’m not counting, I’m just happy to be traveling as often as I can, slowly so I can get to know one city or town or village better than traipsing through the entire country in a week. Life is not a race. Travel is not a race. How can people not get that, especially when they’ve traveled once?

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  • Jen
    August 16, 2015

    I agree with traveling slowly – you learn so much more about a place rather than checking off destinations on a list. It’s a very different experience.

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  • August 16, 2015

    Hi Trisha – yes travelling slower is so much better. When I started to have time to focus on people rather than places. Don’t people ask you how many countries have you been too? I think I will count mine just to be able to give answer:)

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  • August 16, 2015

    Agree. If you travel all of the countries in the world, you are likely to rush through them and only tick sights off your list. You won’t however experience each country fully. I much prefer living in countries for a longer term, that’s why I am living the life of a serial expat I guess.

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  • August 17, 2015

    Thanks for writing this post, I think so many people are in such a huge rush to “visit every country in the world” that they’re too focused on just stepping foot on the land and snapping a picture or two in front of a landmark than actually spending time to immerse themselves into the culture, as you said, learn the language, and actually interact with locals along the way. Because when people ask you about the countries you’ve visited, the next thing they ask is for stories from your time there, and just checking off a country from a list or saying “I posed in front of the Eiffel Tower” doesn’t make for a story. Slow travel means you’ll have plenty to tell though!!

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  • August 17, 2015

    Trish, I love this post! Agree with so much of what you’ve said about slow travel and quality over quantity. Travel is not about impressing others, but digging into a culture and learning more about the world and yourself along the way. So cool that you can speak five languages! Going to check out your facebook videos now!

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  • August 17, 2015

    You might want to think about becoming a diplomat. 5 languages and counting, you go girl!

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  • August 18, 2015

    You are such an inspiration! Every trip I have ever been on has always been a rush and the experience does get a bit spoiled from rushing around. You are a superstar being fluent in 5 languages, I am very jealous! I have always wanted to learn another language abroad. I am really motivated to do this now 🙂

    Lexie

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  • August 18, 2015

    Travel slow and for months at a time, or travel as a way of life is a very fine idea and you are very lucky to be able to do such. Many aspire but not all can afford to leave behind people or things, or jobs!

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  • August 18, 2015

    Never got on board with the idea of keeping a score when it comes to travel.
    Agree with you all the way.

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  • REJIE CAMINONG
    August 26, 2015

    Reading your blog makes me realize what kind of attitude I need to have to be a better traveler. Yes, I was always in a rush in going to one country to another and just pick the most popular spots not knowing the real culture and interacting with the locals. Now I am more educated and inspired to travel alone with the right intention. Thanks you so much Trish!

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  • September 2, 2015

    I don’t want to visit every country in the world either. Not just that, the thing is I don’t even know in advance which country I would love to visit in the distant future. Every time I travel somewhere it’s almost by a chance – sometimes I meet someone who invites me to visit him/her, or I find some super cheap flight, or I read something truly amazing about some place and then I decide to visit. And it’s changing all the time. I surely won’t visit all the touristic spots, neither am I interested in something which is so commercialized that you even feel a bit silly visiting those places. I remember how truly I wanted to visit the Egyptian Pyramids but somehow, over the years, I’ve lost my desire. And since then I just go with the flow.

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  • September 24, 2015

    Great for you, Trisha! Traveling is not a checklist or race.

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  • Ji
    May 24, 2017

    Whenever I get a vacation leave, it is always 10 days max. Like that is the limit. But I travel slow. My recent trip to Bali was slow, I spent more time talking to locals and learning Bahasa compared to Cambodia and Thailand. The place was so much more beautiful. Too bad I couldn’t stay longer. That would’ve turned me into a Balinese. Lol.

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  • April 22, 2020

    travelling slower is so alot better. When I started to have time to focus on people rather than places. eople always ask you how many countries have you been too?

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