Why are you going there?

Exploring Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua

Have you every got this question? You’re a traveler or intersted in traveling and are talking to someone about traveling somewhere other than a resort. Or, are just interested in an off-the-beaten-path spot. You will get this question. It’s not this questioners fault. Endless booze, food and beach (while great at times) is their version of travel (though it`s actually a vacation) and that’s ok. Never turn your nose up and gaff at people who only do this or who go on cruises every year. Your needs and ideas are just different.

They cannot understand what drives you to seek out the odd, dive in to the unique or have the best experiences in what they would consider an uninteresting place. You announce your upcoming destination and they respond with a perplexing look. “Why are you going there?” or “What are you going there for”

 the land, near Iqualuit, Nunavut, Canada - Canadian Artic

Your response can be a plethora of answers from sarcastic or cheeky to grandiose and interesting. But really, I don’t think our destinations need justification. I went to Panama because my flight was $320 total. How about, just seeing the world. Going somewhere new or simply, satisfying an urge that life is about more than work and money. The Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

But here is the truth as far as I’m concerned. I don’t always have a reason for going somewhere. Sometimes, I just want to go. The thrill of getting there. The challenge of the unknown. The fun of hearing a totally new language. Purely for seeing a difference landscape and getting to know a new side of mother nature.

The world is a dangerous place. I haven’t spoke to one traveler who agrees with it. To me, that statement is dangerous. And it’s usually the individuals who’ve stayed home their whole lives who say it. It fosters prejudice and closed mindedness. Don’t blame the world.

Here are a couple of responses I use:

Q: What’s in _____ ? (e.g. What’s in Russia?) A: Russians
Q: Why are you going there? A: Because I’ve been here, before.
Q: What are you going there for? A: To join the circus. (+ serious look for greater effect)
Q: Isn’t it dangerous there? A: VERY! Good thing they give tourists weapons for entering the country.
Q: Why don’t you just go to a resort/on a cruise? A: Why would I do that? / I can’t afford it.
Q: Why do you go to all these crazy places? A: Because they`re the only places I fit in!


I guess my angle is a little more on the sarcastic side. However you choose to handle these questions the way you want. Just remember not to take it personally. Even though it is personal, it’s your self directed interests that point your compass in a certain direction. But the people who question your choices simply do not understand. But, when you return, they will be one of the first to ask how it was. Armed with great stories and experiences be sure to watch the expression of envy grow on their face.

hiking in El Ville, near San Carlos, Panama

10 Responses to Why are you going there?

  1. Yep, I know this feeling well. Seeking out unique travel experiences is so much more rewarding than hitting the same beach and cities as everyone else. Now I’ve been to Russia and I think it’s a normal destination – but I went to Far East Russia…the ‘other side’. SO much fun!
    You know you’re going somewhere really cool when the airline lady checking your bags at the airport hasn’t even heard of the place you’re going. Keep exploring the unknown…

    Red Hunt January 21, 2013 at 9:56 pm Reply
    • Awesome red! That is a great sign you’re off to a great place! LoL, the ‘other side’ of Russia.

      Shaun January 22, 2013 at 6:21 am Reply
      • Which reminds me, I need to get to the “Other” side of China one of these days. The far western side where no one looks Chinese. Wild!

        Colleen January 22, 2013 at 9:49 am Reply
        • Oh wow! I haven’t found much info on there either. Just want the map tell me. Now I’m interested!!

          Shaun January 22, 2013 at 5:35 pm Reply
  2. I get this question all the time! And like you, sometimes I want to go somewhere just to go, because the plane ticket was cheap, or because there’s a certain kind of noodle there I’ve never eaten before. That’s all it takes. What do I do when I get there? I hang out people watching, drinking coffee, reading books, buying fruit, and making local friends. Same as I do back home. It’s hard for people to understand, this isn’t a vacation, this is me living my everyday life in a variety of places, just being curious about everything.

    Colleen January 22, 2013 at 9:47 am Reply
    • That last statement is amazing Colleen and I couldn`t agree more! It doesn`t take much, sometimes it’s just the unknown.

      Shaun January 22, 2013 at 5:34 pm Reply
  3. Great responses, Shaun! Most of the time the questions directed at me stem from the fact that people don’t understand my major and how it’s relevant to trying to work in China. It’s a little annoying to repetitively explain but I understand why they would be confused.

    Aryn January 22, 2013 at 2:11 pm Reply
    • It must be! I bet you get “why would you want to leave?” But really glad to see you’re following your heart!

      Shaun January 22, 2013 at 5:28 pm Reply
  4. Great post. We’ve been asked similar questions about our travel itinerary too. People also often ask: ‘how can you afford to travel for so long?’ and ‘what are you going to do when you come home broke and homeless?’ – it does get frustrating!

    Amy January 25, 2013 at 4:05 am Reply
    • LoL! and thank you. Broke and homeless? harsh….And a little narrow minded I think.

      Shaun January 25, 2013 at 10:36 pm Reply

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