Some time ago, somebody asked me why young people like me travel as much – and as far as we do – even though there are so many beautiful destinations nearby. At that time, I was planning a journey to Australia. I could not come up with an answer. I did not understand the criticism that was implied in the question. But somehow, the man had touched a nerve.
It is remarkable that younger people travel farther – and that for some, the farthest is not far enough. The answer to why we do that is as simple as this: We do it because we can. Which was not always the case. But to us it is self-explanatory. There are a lot of great destinations right next to my home – even in my own country. But just as a lot of young people, I tend to ignore them in my travel plans.
Thinking about it, I would love to go on a road trip through Germany, drive across the country, and see where the road takes me. But there are a couple of reasons that keep me from doing so at the moment. Yes, I am relatively young. I am young enough to say that I do not mind crossing several time zones and getting accustomed to a completely different climate after a long distance flight. Jetlag usually does not bother me, and as of yet, I am not molested by varicose veins. I do not know if I still want to take the strains of traveling to Australia or South America in 30 years. Still, I want to visit Australia, South America, and a lot of other faraway places. Better do it today than tomorrow.
Additionally to that, I love to feel like a foreigner. The joys of traveling are closely connected to delving deeply into another culture. No matter how I look at it – Germany just is not exotic to me. I do not know every place – but in a way I know them all. I do not get a stamp in my passport and do not have to exchange any money. I can understand everyone and everyone understands me. I could probably run into a language barrier in Bavaria. But still, a holiday in Germany is a holiday in a familiar surrounding. That is – more or less – true for holidays in the European Union as well.
I like Germany. I really do. Berlin is a great place. Munich is a great place. There are a lot of great places. What I don’t like for example is the unforeseeable weather. The chance of rain also keeps me from going on a holiday in my own country. If I was planning a beach holiday, I would not necessarily opt for a holiday at the North Sea – for who knows if it actually is warm enough to go to the beach once you are there. Hamburg is a wonderful city which I have visited many times – in the rain. Last but not least, Germany is quite expensive. The price you pay for a holiday here or in Western Europe is not comparable to the price you pay in Southeast Asia or South America for example.
I have decided to travel the world before I get to see my home as a tourist. If I do not do it know, then when? How would you decide?
Photo of Hamburg Speicherstadt by Heidas.