In life (in the western world anyway), there are certain universal experiences that everyone goes through. We are all born to two parents, have brothers and sisters, grow up, go to school, attend university, move out of home, get a job, get married, have kids and start a life of our own.
However, not everyone has siblings, the opportunities of higher education or wants to get married and have kids. In fact, if you believe the research, Gen Y is never going to move out of home, probably because they will never be able to afford the ridiculous property prices in Sydney.
And so, as much as we all have universal experiences that help us relate to other people, life is also intensely personal; and we are all individuals who react to certain situations differently.
The same goes for travel. When all my friends were taking the universal route of going to university and I thought I was going on a personal track of backpacking around Europe; I discovered that this traveling was actually another one of those universal experiences called a gap year and there were loads of other Aussies and people from other countries doing exactly the same thing.
We all followed the same general route, went to the same places listed in the guidebook and had similar experiences. We shared our take on places with new arrivals to the hostel and generally there was a consensus about the best places to go. But of course, as individuals, we were all into some bizarrely different things and our experience of even a very well known place was individual.
That’s why, even though the internet can tell you the universal experience of travelling to a place and I can tell you my personal observations, the best thing to do is go and see for yourself.
Not everyone likes the Eiffel Tower in Paris, wants to go bungee jumping in New Zealand or drink soju in South Korea. Your individual experience may be completely different to mine or anybody else’s, and wouldn’t you have hated to miss seeing a place you fall in love with just because everyone else told you it wasn’t worth the effort?