To Be Excited About The Unknowns

The only person I’ve told about our around the world trip asked: So, which countries are you excited about the most?
Me: I don’t know. Georgia, I guess… and maybe Kyrgystan.
Her: Wait, I thought you’ve always wanted to go to Egypt…

I guess I was kind of surprised myself…

What do I know about Georgia? Or Kyrgystan?

-- by Ahmed Rabea

Confirmation vs Discovery

There are certain landmarks or places that feel so familiar, it takes a split second to remember that I’ve never actually been there. Certain places that are world-known and have ‘suffered’ from over exposures and half-assumptions from countless movies and travel photos.

I mean, everyone has seen what the Colosseum or the Leaning Tower of Pisa look like. Maybe not in person, but definitely from movies, brochures, or your friends’ Facebook photos… When I finally got to see them in person, don’t get me wrong it was still impressive.

But I couldn’t help but thinking…
“Yeah, looks just like the pictures… “

Every angle seems familiar… too familiar.
It was more like a confirmation rather than a discovery.

“Yup, still leaning…”

There’s definitely something comforting in that, and it’ll be silly to avoid these must-see places just because everyone else has been there and done that; we’ll be the first in line to see the Pyramids and the Great Wall and taking thousands of pictures of them just like everyone else.

And sometimes, even the most superlative descriptions found in guidebooks and countless pics still do not do them justice (e.g. Michelangelo’s David)

I just think it’s interesting to learn that places that spurred us to start this journey are not the ones we’re necessarily feeling all all tingly and excited about.

Excited about I-don’t-know-what

3 months ago I didn’t even know that Georgia exists. Vaguely I’m aware that there’s a state in the US with the same name, and even that I’m not so sure of (click here to see a tongue-in-cheek look on how Californians see the rest of the US). I still don’t think I pronounce Kyrgyzstan correctly. They ended up on our list of countries as the results of our “gut feeling” approach when determining our itinerary.

What do I know about these countries?

Other than finding out how to get there (or where they are), not much. I have resisted the urge to study these places up on Google Images like I usually do. I have never seen any National Geographic documentaries about these countries, or pictures of their famous landmarks, or even know what their landmarks are.

So it’s hard to explain what makes them so…exciting to just think about.

I’d like to think it’s the unknown quality about them. And my own personal yearning not to simply confirm what I’ve already suspected, but to discover what it’s like to be pleasantly surprised once again.

And with any unknowns, I’m running the risk of being disappointed. But I have this theory that when you do actually ‘discover’ something, as opposed to simply confirm what you already see/read, the element of surprise of it will make the risk worth it.

Whether or not it will happen, I guess we’ll find out when we get there. Now, isn’t THAT exciting!


Have you ever traveled to a place without doing much research? Were you pleasantly surprised or disappointed?