What makes somewhere worth visiting? After leaving, why do you gush about one place and forget another? I’m sure that everyone will answer these questions differently. However, there is an easy way to determine your personal definition of a place. Think about your favorite trip (or the one you dream about.) What first comes to mind? Is it the people, food, the landscape, music or something else? Whatever it is, that is how you define that place (it may be different for different places).
The first few weeks my wife and I spent here in Ireland, we visited the largest cities. Dublin and Cork are fabulous places, full of amazing buildings and historic places. However, we came away less than thrilled. Neither of us are city people, we much prefer the wild places. When we pictured Ireland we both saw a rolling green countryside criss-crossed with stone walls, the fields dotted with sheep all watched over by thatched-roof buildings. The cities, of course, offered none of these things.
Finally, we headed to Galway and spent all of one night there before heading out to The Burren (Irish for Rocky Place). This was the country that we had been picturing; we saw our rolling hills, endless stone walls and sheep. We also visited the Cliffs of Moher. (I got to wave “back home” across the ocean.) The weekend was far too short, and the bus did not stay at any of the stops nearly long enough. We will definitely be returning.
When you go somewhere, be sure and seek out what really interests you. Don’t allow yourself to get caught in the trap of seeing what everyone else recommends! You might have different tastes than they do. Many of our fellow students are most interested in seeking out new pubs with traditional music. While we enjoy the music, we have no interest in visiting the pubs. So we seek out our own adventure.
Our own adventure includes not only the amazing landscapes, but also local foods. We are visiting local eateries in search of traditional foods (and yes, this did include a stop at a pub for a pint… gotta try it out, after all!) Our collection of recipes is growing, so that we can prepare our favorites when we return home. You can see a soup recipe here.
As you can see your definition of a place might not be a single thing, but a combination. My wife and I view Ireland as the places, the food and the people. In the places where we don’t experience all of these things to our satisfaction, we will leave disappointed and they will slip from our minds. Once you know how you define a place, you will know what you need to search out in places you visit, to ensure that you have a fulfilling and warmly remembered experience.