“What is your favorite country?”
This is the question that we are probably asked more than any other. If you are like most Travelers’ Century Club members it is a difficult question to answer as you probably do not have a favorite country and have enjoyed, or at least come to appreciate in various ways, every place you have visited. As your travels have taken you around the world to a great variety of places, calling a place a favorite might need to be based on some limiting criteria to narrow the choice; nature or diversity of nature in the country, culture, history, food. Or the criteria might be the place you would most like to revisit or live in. It may depend on whether you like ease of travel or the exotic place that takes you out of your comfort zone. Maybe it was positive personal experiences with those met during travel that moved a country to the top of the list.
Many members reported that they don’t know how to answer this question, or even hate getting the question. Only one, our very positive Atlanta Coordinator Kelly Thomas, said she loved the question especially when answered with “Wherever my next trip takes me!” Indiana Chapter Coordinator, Frank Basile said, “Don’t ask me to name my favorite destination because we’re not through traveling.”Most of us are reluctant to name a favorite because we do not have one or have so many! When pressed though by the question many have an answer to share, even if it is qualified with a “for food” this country,“for nature”this country or these are my favorites followed by listing several.
Keeping in mind that we are all TCC members so sometimes our definition of country is just shorthand for “countries and territories” or even just regions, your fellow club members named Afghanistan, Andamans, Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, Bhutan, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, China, Croatia, Cuba, Easter Island, Egypt, England, France, French Polynesia, Galapagos, Greece, Greenland, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Lithuania, Mali, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Spain, United States. Several named the continent of Africa, often mentioning the safari experiences they had had there. The favorites listed were as diverse as our world and what a great reflection on our membership to have this variety in responses. Only a few of all those countries were named by more than one member. Our favorites vary considerably, but our reluctance to name a favorite does not.
Like most members I do not have a favorite country, but the question is there, so knowing it will be asked again and again I’ve come up with an answer that is less about being a favorite country and more about being the country almost everyone seems to want to hear more about – North Korea. Interestingly no one has ever asked why this would be the favorite, although I sometimes volunteer it is because there is no other place I’ve been that is quite like it. Rather conversation quickly shifts to wanting to know more about it from a first-hand perspective. Even my limited four-day experience always seems to result in about ten times more questions than any other place I have ever named.
For a true favorite, right now I’d probably go with Greenland. Philadelphia Chapter Coordinator, Jane Berryman and I spent two weeks there last year and I left in awe of Greenland’s natural beauty and enjoyed some nice culinary surprises as well.
Most people did not have, or in some cases did not want to be on record saying, what their least favorite country was. But in more cases than not, the reason for a country being designated least favorite had to do with a personal bad experience there. The most common thing was to be robbed or cheated which can certainly make for bad memories of a place. Generally though we find kind and helpful people everywhere who are good ambassadors for their country. I know this has been my experience and I hope it has been yours as well. Part of having a love of travel is looking for those interesting things and experiences that exist in every place. Our UK Chapter Coordinator expressed what many others also have said. “I have learnt that there is something interesting about all destinations. I have also learnt that countries with difficult reputations can often have hidden positives that are very different to conventional opinion. I have found something to like in even the most challenging destinations.”
Do you have a favorite country or is it “the next one”? Maybe your fellow club member responses will give you some ideas on how to respond the next time you are asked, “What is your favorite country?
Safe travels everyone!