We did this list writing thing last week. It was one of those ice-breaker type activities, although, as everybody knew everybody, not quite. Whatever.
The first exercise was to write down a list of countries that you would like to visit (money no object) for:
- A day
- A weekend
- A week
- A month
- A year
I always struggle with these sorts of things as my instinct is to want to go away, think about it and come back with a considered response.
In practice, especially, for the shorter periods, I thought about cities rather than countries – you can’t really visit a country in a day (unless it’s a very small one like Luxembourg or Andorra, but they never really sound that interesting).
My list, as I remember it was something like this:
A day – Ireland (Dublin)
A weekend – The Netherlands (Amsterdam)
A week – USA (New York)
A month was a bit better – you could do something with a month – I thought about somewhere like Norway or New Zealand.
A year is a horse of a different colour – would it be an extended road trip or immersion in another culture? I thought about swapping my week in New York for a year touring the United States – or perhaps I could explore Australia – all those coral reefs and breathtaking deserts. In the end (and I’m quite pleased with this), I plumped for Antarctica.
Interestingly, there was a lot of overlap in people’s choices and, apart from a couple of people who opted for Morocco and one person who wanted to spend a year travelling through India (frustrated hippy?), our choices were remarkably unimaginative – Europe or countries in the English-speaking world.
Would we have come up with more imaginative and interesting choices if we’d been given more time to think about it? China? Mongolia? Peru? And would we have come up with plans that were less constrained by a mindset that optimised consumption (as much culture, as many places, as many miles as possible)?
I was quite pleased with my choice. I liked the idea of being in a single place for a year and observing it in detail – it didn’t have to be Antarctica – it could have been a coral island or Tierra del Fuego or the Grand Canyon or the inside of a volcano or the Atacama Desert or a table in the corner of St Mark’s Square in Venice. Or the Moon (well, they did say, no expense spared).
Where would you go?
Photo credit: Kenneth Lu via Flikr