Travel lists have effectively ruined the entire travel experience.

Who comes up with them anyway?

It’s ridiculous, the entire thing. Endless articles written by I-don’t-even-want-to-know-who with titles such as “Top ten spots you must see”, “100 destinations you must visit before you die”, “50 places you must see in this planet” and other wonky, egotistically titled junk are prowling the Internet of late. What’s worse is people are buying them like it’s gold. I get it. The titles are catchy as hell – you are bound to click it once you have seen this one-hit wonders that seem to draw you in with their garden of eden appeal. But that’s about it; they are one-hit wonders. And for good reasons.

If you are a seasoned traveler, you will know that these articles are bullshit. Your travel itinerary shouldn’t be predetermined by a list of must sees before you die. That’s just ridiculous. Imagine racing through one corner of a city to the other corner just to take a look at these must-sees, a list created probably for marketing purposes where pictures have been taken by professional photographers and wholly edited to have an equivalent look of that delectable piece of cake in a five-star hotel – I mean seriously, why would you let yourself be coerced into following these published lists of must-sees? Have you no originality or creativity at all?

Granted, I totally get it. The pictures look out-of-the-world. They are so realistically beautiful and mind-blowing that well, clearly your mind has literally been blown away too. That cavity in your head now is just filled with air.They are edited, duh which means they are specious. I am not saying that these places are not beautiful to begin with. They probably are; edits can only go so far after all. What I am saying is, are these places really your ideal traveling place? You haven’t even heard of them before you decided to browse through the said article! Instead of printing them out and telling yourself you must indeed go to those places, why can’t you just create your own itinerary and truly, unequivocally travel to your own contentment?

Those lists are not legit. They seek to entice. They persuade. At the end of the day, they are nothing but lists. If you really do have the wanderlust in your veins, these lists will be the bane of your life. You don’t need no step-by-step guide to destinations. Hell, you would have stumbled across them while exploring the place anyways. Traveling is all about creating your own experience and discovering secrets about a place that would relate to you. This means that everyone’s experience would be different. My greatest experience in Paris was devouring a huge bowl of Vietnamese pho – the best meal, even better than escargots – in a shop located in Chinatown. Some of you would scoff and say I am missing out on the genuine Parisian cuisine, but honestly, I would like you to fuck off, for a lack of better words. If I am not even entitled to my own experiences and personal discoveries, I don’t see why I travel at all then.

Traveling is supposed to be a personal experience. It is a keepsake for yourself – you form certain habits and identities from those travels. Some of the experiences made are so worthwhile that they forever remain freshly carved into the back of your brain. You can share them with others of course. But they remain as that, your experiences and your opinions – which means they are subjective. Everyone will have a different side to tell about the same exact place. That’s the beauty of traveling.

To have a list – or countless lists- ruin this experience, is sacrilegious. I will never understand why you would  want to objectify your travel into a piece of paper. After all, it’s not like you should prove to social-networking sites that you have indeed traversed continents to those elusive 100 sites – people might wow and envy you for it, but at the end of the day, if you are travelling just to get the envy-stares from others, you are just not doing it right at all, buddy.

(Pictures taken from http://www.china.org.cn,  www.architectureartdesigns,com, http://www.supr10.com and moztravel.org)

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