Whenever I tell people I love to travel, there is one inevitable question that always pops up: “What’s your favourite place you’ve ever travelled to?” Right then I have two options: to be honest about it or to save my energy and give the short answer and get over it.
I will be honest right now and tell you that I hate that question. Yes, it’s seems something natural to talk about when you find a passionate traveller, but it drives me crazy. I feel misunderstood and sad when I hear that question.
I’m not gonna tell you to stop asking that. I’m just saying it’s nonsense. I mean, most people who ask that I’m not even sure they get the question. Because they wouldn’t be asking it if they would. Ok, now I sound like a crazy woman. I tend to overreact. That’s me. I get like that about things I’m passionate about.
“What’s your favourite place you’ve ever travelled to?”
I wish you could see my face when I hear this. I’m first staring at you, then I look away, trying hard to stop myself from looking completely bored and uninterested.
So, this can go two ways. The nice and polite way or the being myself way.
The polite way to answer “What’s your favourite place you’ve ever travelled to?”
I answer something like there are many places, but I haven’t been all over the world, so I cannot decide.
Some people insist, and I hate it. Then I need to be true to myself and still be polite so I just go on picking some places randomly, whatever comes to my mind first. I think it depends on the day. I do have better memories from some places, so I tell about those.
And then I try to carry on the conversation and ask them the same thing. Hoping I will find something else in the conversation to connect to. If not, then it was a waste. And a reminder most people don’t get the question.
The honest answer to “What’s your favourite place you’ve ever travelled to?”
I am an honest person, and it comes really hard for me to hide things or personal ideas. But sometimes I realise there is no point in trying to expose it in some conversations.
Nevertheless, I love doing it, in honest conversation, with conversation partners willing to discuss, accept, respect and express their own ideas.
That being said, my answer is a long one. That’s why I don’t put in the effort to answer it each time, and probably that’s why I will make it public, once more. (I do preach it each chance I get, probably much too subtle.)
I cannot decide or even make a list of my favourite places.
Firstly, I haven’t been everywhere.
Secondly, because it would be my choice, based on a lot of the things that make me… me. I would choose the experiences I’ve lived there, the people I’ve met and the steps I’ve taken.
We are all different, and that’s basically because we have different needs. Based on those needs we make choices every day. And our travel destinations are also decisions based on our needs. My needs are different from yours.
And I find it offensive to you to talk about my choice. Which by the way, is not understood properly. Because we don’t know that person. We don’t know what needs are behind that decision. (Sone need to be left alone, meditate, stare at the sky, while others are in need of human connection, friends.)
And I don’t expect you to understand. But we can talk about it and hopefully come to a common ground and realise why that place and not any other.
As you see, it’s not so much about what happens on the outside, but more about what happens within us.
I tend to perceive this question as a demand to compare different concepts and experiences, and that’s just inconceivable for me.
If someone wants to get to know me, then the entire perspective changes. Because then, I know for sure that the question was understood and we are on the same topic. But unfortunately, most times I don’t feel it happens.
Ask me about my favourite experience. But only if you are truly interested. And if you want to listen. Probably I will choose one that will fit into our conversation.
That’s why I talk all the time about experiences and discovering myself. That is my faith, my purpose and my dream. To inspire you to know yourself, to find that one thing that drives you. And travelling helped me and it can help you too.
Experiment, experience yourself, get lost and then come back.