One of the issues that I think a lot of people don’t like about travel is that it can be hard to go to a place where people haven’t already amassed, and when you get there, people tell you that another place is better.
As Talia and I continue inland in Vietnam, we were thinking and discussing how in every place you go there are people who have been to another place which surpasses the place you are in in every way, which can get a little frustrating.
Everywhere there are other travelers who have seen bigger, better, faster, older, purer renditions of what you are currently looking at. For Talia and me this doesn’t take away from the uniqueness of whatever we are looking at, as I suppose is the intention of the naysayers, but we take it all at face value, a lesson we have learned from our travels.
Hardly a day goes by when we don’t overhear a traveler, for example on a bus, saying how their souvenir is more authentic and unique because an old lady made it in her hut or whatever.
Understandably everyone takes away from an experience whatever they put into it and if something is special to you for one reason or another then good for you. But the necessity to always work in superlatives is adolescent at best. I have come to learn that I have not explored a fraction of the world and its wonders nor met enough people to really know what the ultimate experience is, so the search goes on.
We met one young French guy in Laos who was intent on being the “real” traveler, while everyone else (as he told them to their faces, including ours) was merely a tourist with a big Nikon.
But ask yourself, how many superlatives can you REALLY adhere to? I mean, there are factual superlatives and opinionated superlatives and learning the difference can matter! Just earlier today we heard a girl proclaim how the guys who drive Cruiser motorbikes and do one-on-one tours are so incredibly nicer and, I quote, “better” than the usual motorbike taxi drivers who shout at you as they drive past (though just today I would say we got more “HEY YOU”s from the cruiser riding riders).
Granted she was only speaking in the comparative, but the notion remains the same. How can one be any different to another when the only difference, the ONLY difference is one drives a smaller bike than the other?!
I’m sure we all do it from time to time (I was known as “The Topper” in my job in China) but this is my public service announcement to the people of the 2feetoutthedoor world, as a person who speaks from experience, and annoyance:
Better and best are only comparative terms based on contextual personal preference, therefore making them in themselves null and void outside of the realm of your opinion until proven otherwise by fact.
Even if yours is bigger, just shut your loud mouth about it.