Somehow, it became an undisputed fact that the amount of travelling you do is directly proportional to how exciting and interesting of a person you are, and the more you travel, the richer inner world you must be possessing. I know from personal observations that this is far from always being true. I have met enough people who travelled the world, and who sound so devoid of any substance or anything meaningful to share besides their Indiana Jones stories. I also met quite a few people who didn’t travel much – not because they didn’t want to but because they couldn’t afford to or didn’t have time – who struck me as having quite a bit of depth.
I enjoy traveling and discoverying new places and cultures as much as anyone else, and yet I don’t think that traveling alone is going to have a meaningful impact on who you are as a person, especially if you travel too much. Yes, there is such a thing as too much traveling in my book. If you find yourself running away from your problems and roaming around unfamiliar streets of remote cities or villages across the ocean for months, chances are you are running away from something – something that you can’t really run away from. Looking at another building and eating at yet another cafe off the beaten path is not going to solve your problems at home, and it’s not going to transform your pesonality. Extended stay in a foreign country might make you more grateful for what you have at home when you eventually return, and it might make you somewhat more openminded, if you are coming from some backwards town in the middle America, but that alone will not make you a fundamentally wiser or more interesting person.
The other day I was asked if I had a lot of stamps in my passport. To me, that question is as superficial or even more superficial than “What do you drive?”, because your stamps really don’t say all that much about who you are. Of course, telling people about how much you travel, along with posting dozens of photos from exotic destinations on Facebook is the standard part of chest beating and attention whoring, which is so San Francisco.
I hope that the next time I hear someone refer to themselves or someone else as “well travelled” I am not going to bust out laughing, or roll my eyes, or both. Or… maybe I should hope that it does happen.