When it comes to travel, I think being easily suggestible is actually a good thing. I was thinking about the silly things that make me want to see a new place. Some of them have been surprisingly minor, to the point of absurdity.
For instance, I wanted to go to Italy because I kept reading about how Venice was sinking so I became convinced I had to see it as soon as possible before it did. Visiting other cities in Italy was just a byproduct of visiting Venice. Funny enough, I liked Rome and Florence more than Venice.
I wanted to go to Morocco because in grad school, I dated a guy from Morocco. He liked to cook me traditional foods and tell me all about his country. One detail always stuck out in my head, that at certain times of the year, you could see snow on the Atlas Mountains over the desert. And when I went to Morocco, it was, in fact, snowing in the Atlas Mountains.
I’ve never admitted this to anyone, but I had always wanted to go to Copenhagen because of the show Weeds. In one of the show’s worst seasons, a few of the characters moved there to live happier lives. They talked about it so much that it totally incepted me. Plus, I like how the Copenhagen sounds. Yeah, I’m that suggestible.
I went to Iceland because I read an article about how it was one of the most affordable destinations for spring in 2013. (It wasn’t. Iceland is super expensive.) But it ended up being maybe my favorite trip ever.
I wanted to go to Switzerland almost entirely because of the mountains. I love snowy mountains, and I had it in my head that there would be nothing more beautiful than the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps. More specifically, I wanted to sleep in an igloo village. I didn’t, because I went too early in the year and the village wasn’t built yet. But I was right about the Matterhorn. Never seen a more majestic mountain since.
And one of the places at the top of my list to visit now is Bali. And that’s entirely because of all the pictures I see on Pinterest of the Pura Lempuyang temple, known as the Gateway to Heaven. That’s it. That’s all it takes. I just want to see that gate in person.
For me, at least, picking a place to travel to is a completely arbitrary process based entirely on tiny bits of influential information I happen to see or hear about a place. Likewise, there are some places that I had absolutely no interest in visiting for equally ridiculous reasons.
For instance, I only went to Belgium because my best friend got obsessed with the idea of going there (also because a one-way flight to Brussels was $300). But I couldn’t help but think, “Meh. What does Belgium have that the rest of Europe doesn’t have except waffles?” A whole lot, actually. And the waffles alone are a pretty good reason in and of itself to go there. And so is the beer.
Most recently, I went to Portugal at the insistence of a friend who had been interested in going there for years (ironically, she didn’t make it on the trip with me). And the most honest reason why I think I’ve never wanted to go there is because I find the Portuguese language really annoying. But I’m glad I gave it a chance. Porto ended up being one of my favorite places I’ve visited in the past year. And I barely even noticed the language.
A similar thing happened to me when I went to Zagreb. I had no interest in Zagreb, only in the coastal cities of Croatia. But staying there would split a nasty 12-hour bus ride from Bratislava to Split. And I ended up loving it. I wouldn’t recommend anyone missing Zagreb if you’re visiting Croatia.
So maybe it’s good to be suggestible. Most places have more to offer than the one tiny thing you’re really interested in seeing or experiencing. And more importantly, it’s good to be open to places that you’re not interested in at all. They may end up being your favorite.
So humor my curiosity… what’s the silliest thing that has made you want to visit a particular destination?