Playing Favourites

28mm by 7mm - Mosaic gold in sterling silver
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Probably the most commonly asked question I get regarding my travel is "What's your favourite (country, food, city, etc)?"

That's a really complicated question. After 50 countries, some have which have changed so much since I first started travelling, I don't think picking a favourite is possible. Don't get me wrong, there are places I love and return to time and time again (looking at you, Santorini), but that doesn't necessarily make them a favourite.

I guess I'm just not good at, nor see the point of ranking things like this. For example, I loved all five of the Balkan countries I recently visited, all for different reasons. I deliberately didn't see everything so I now have a good excuse to return. Some places I simultaneously love and hate (Bangkok). Sometimes why I like a place has nothing to do with the place itself, but the people I met there or an experience I had (Volterra—though it IS great of its own accord). Ultimately every person's experience of a place is different as it's seen through their own filter.

More often than not, to pick a favourite is like comparing the proverbial apples and oranges. I LOVE Italian food and Thai food, just as I love sushi and mac and cheese. I don't necessarily love any above the others. Likewise, each country has its own charms and offerings, and those offerings that align more with my personality become places I return to over and over.

Often, my view of a place is changed by my emotional, mental, or physical state. If my back has gone out, and I'm tired and in pain, I'm going to like a place less automatically, especially if it's hard to navigate or get around. If I was tired and then get a great meal and fabulous service at a restaurant, that's going to endear me to a place as a whole.

So, nope, I don't have favourites; it simply wouldn't be fair. There are lots of magical places in this world, and lots of magical moments to be had, and somehow, having to put them in order would tarnish their luster.