How well traveled are you in your home country?

In what country are you the most well traveled?

Are you well traveled in your home country?

Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand
Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand

My answer for the first question is New Zealand. We’ve traveled nearly end to end, and have experienced its beauty in many different ways. We also had challenging experiences, like the horrible storm and flood of 2010, being eaten alive by its fierce sandflies, and I even had fallen into its omnipresent sheep poop.

New Zealand is the country we are best traveled in, and we love the country to pieces. Now that we’re back in Canada to celebrate the holiday season with Ryan’s side of the family, a friend of mine asked, how come I haven’t traveled a lot here in Canada? Do I know my own country like I know New Zealand? My answer is regrettably, no.

Snowman and Christmas light on snow covered Victoria Park, London, Canada
Snowman and Christmas lights in snow covered Victoria Park, London, Canada

Are the countries we come from not worthy of travel? No, they are very traveling worthy! Both Ryan and I came from gorgeous countries with so much to offer. So, how come we haven’t traveled a lot there yet? Let me bring you to a little of our background.

I was born in Surabaya, Indonesia. You probably haven’t heard of it, but it’s Indonesia’s second largest city after the capital Jakarta, and it’s located on Java Island in the east. If you don’t know Java, it’s the long island west of world famous Bali. I was not a very adventurous girl when I was small, and as a kid I had only traveled around Java and Bali. At that time, you could find me easier at home doing my school work or reading some novels, at local malls, or at those places you do extra curricular activities. Even in holidays.

SCUBA diving at Bunaken's underwater paradise
SCUBA diving at Bunaken’s underwater paradise, Indonesia

One exception was when we went to Manado in a family trip after I moved to Canada. We went back for visiting my family in Surabaya, and together we went to Manado and surrounding, including the Bunaken Island, a heaven for SCUBA diving. In the same trip, we went to Central Jawa around Borobudur temple, enjoying the famous Suharti Chicken and witnessing the giant mud spurt in Bledug Kuwu. The best holiday I’ve ever had in Indonesia! However, other than that, I haven’t been around much at all. Indonesia is a very large, diverse country, with hundreds of cultures and thousands of islands to explore, and I’ve only really seen a few of them.

When we lived in  Ryan’s home country of Canada, instead of traveling in Canada itself, most of the time we ended up traveling in the USA. Everything in Canada is far away and flights are not very cheap among Canadian destinations. It’s easier and cheaper for us to cross the border to the USA, only 2 hours away from home, and from there either taking cheaper flights among USA destinations or taking a road trip. The only time we spent more than a week for traveling in Canada was when we explored the breathtaking Canadian Rockies in Alberta.

Valley of the Ten Peaks - Canadian Rockies
Canadian Rockies

When we finally decided to be a long term backpackers, our imagination went wild! We were thinking about faraway places. Places that we didn’t imagine we will get to know closely and thoroughly before. Far-flung places like Europe, South East Asia, Down Under, Africa, South America, Pacific and Atlantic islands, even Antarctica. And somehow in our excitement we forgot to include our own countries in the picture! I guess they’re just so close to us, we felt as if we knew a lot about them already. Even though in reality, we knew those places just from books, TV and internet, rather than actually experiencing it ourselves.

Indonesia is a very diverse country. There are approximately 18,000 islands, where only less than 1,000 being permanently inhabited, and over 300 ethnic groups, which some of them still live traditionally. Many different cultures, architectures, arts, foods and social lives to explore. There are untouched beautiful beaches, wild and active volcanoes, deep and wild forests with exotic animals and plants. Several world famous (or infamous) giant corpse plants that I’m dying to see are growing wild only in the deepest forest of Sumatra.

Prambanan Temple in Java, Indonesia
Prambanan Temple in Java, Indonesia

I’ve overlooked these things, and I thought I knew about Indonesia just because I was there for 22 years, in which I received education and heard news about those places. But now, as I traveled around the world, comparing what I know about New Zealand and Indonesian exotic places, I don’t know much at all. I read many travel articles from non-Indonesian backpackers that delve deeply into Indonesia, and I feel a bit ashamed  to realize how much these people experienced, and how little I experienced, about my own country.

Same deal with Canada. There are a lot of Canadian things that we haven’t experienced, that other backpackers that have explored Canada are more familiar with. Exploring the French side of Canada, checking out the tundra and forest of the northern wilderness, traveling the coast of British Columbia, learning and getting close with the Inuit and Native American culture, exploring the fishing villages of the Maritimes, trying adog-sled-ride with the Siberian huskies, witnessing the aurora borealis, and the list can keep growing forever.

Parliament House in Ottawa, Canada
Parliament House in Ottawa, Canada

So now we’ve put backpacking through Indonesia and Canada on our agenda. We still don’t know when, (it’s a very long to-do list), and we don’t usually carefully schedule where we go, just go where the wind blows us. But we are quite sure that one day we’ll be able to proudly say, we have explored our own countries.

So… tell us… In what country are you the most well traveled?

Are you well traveled in your home country? If not, why?

Monkeying around in Bali
Monkeying around in Bali

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57 Responses to “How well traveled are you in your home country?”

  1. Josh
    13 January 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    I would agree that New Zealand is the country that I’ve traveled the most in and I was always struck by the similarities between my home state of Oregon (and the rest of the Pacific Northwest) and New Zealand. I’m not as well traveled in my home state as I am in New Zealand, but this is the year that I stay home and see the rest of the Pacific Northwest rather than getting out of the country and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s a trip that is long overdue.

    • Dina
      18 January 2011 at 1:34 am #

      I had several days in Seattle and Portland several years ago, and from a little that I saw, I think I know what you mean by the similarity with new Zealand. The Columbia river gorge near Portland comes into mind. We were hoping to have the time exploring the mountainous area, but our time was too short. I’m happy for you that you will have the chance to explore this region more soon!

  2. Ashley
    14 January 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    Hmmm, I’m definitely the most well-traveled in the US, but only the West Coast…and that’s due to family vacations when I was a kid. If it was up to me, I’d know Japan or Italy more than the US…haha. In the last year I have really started to appreciate local travel and have been spending a lot more time just exploring the Bay Area. 2011 is probably going to be a strictly domestic travel year, but I am hoping to get out to the East Coast (I’ve only been there once!).
    Ashley´s last post…The Golden Gate Bridge is Going High Tech

    • Dina
      18 January 2011 at 1:39 am #

      Haha, maybe your parents were not exposed to manga and anime when you were a little kid! But about Italy, you have visited Italy several times, right? I’m jealous here! I’ve only been there for 2-3 days (without the nights). Visiting Vatican without entering the Sistine Chapel…
      So Japan is your dream destination, eh, so happy to hear that you might go there next year!! Japan is where I met Ryan, so obviously we love that place. We wish to go back there someday! Hmmm…. I miss the food so much…

  3. Chris Walker-bush
    14 January 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    Prior to 2010 I’d have said that Korea had my most experience, but I made a pretty solid effort at exploring Australia last year thanks to my American girlfriend.

    There’s definitely still a lot I need to see though.
    Chris Walker-bush´s last post…Missed Opportunities at Mango Bay

    • Dina
      18 January 2011 at 1:44 am #

      Thanks to your American girlfriend :) Australia is a huge country indeed, it’s its own continent. Huge. We feel it so much when we did the road trip there, and comparing with the distances we did in NZ, to get from a place to another.

      It’s a lot of fun to hear your Korean story in Sydney Travel Tribe, and hey, are you going back to Korea?

  4. Samantha Dermot
    24 January 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    I haven’t explored all the wonderful places here but I’m planning to at least start it this year. I have lots of good places in mind so I hope I could go there as soon as possible.

    • Dina
      28 January 2011 at 11:04 pm #

      Sounds exciting! DO you know where are you going to head first?

  5. Nancie
    6 February 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    I’m pretty well traveled in Canada. I traveled for work, so I a lot in the evening and on weekends, when I was on the road. I haven’t been to Saskatchewan or the territories, but that’s about it. Canada is an expensive country to travel in, and the distances are great. I meet people all the time in my travels who haven’t made it east of Montreal. I’m always thrilled when someone tells me that they have been to Nova Scotia.

    • Dina
      25 March 2011 at 2:51 pm #

      You are so well traveled in Canada! One day we will do that too. I hear Nova Scotia is very beautiful.

  6. Peter Heck
    21 March 2011 at 1:57 am #

    What a beautiful post. I love Canada and especially the mountains. This past summer we spent a couple month exploring our own backyard and loved every minute of it. I can’t wait to get to Indonesia, that photo of the Prambanan temple is amazing!

    • Dina
      25 March 2011 at 2:58 pm #

      Thanks so much, Pete! You were super lucky to live near Canadian rockies, my fav spot in Canada.
      When you reach Java, I will load you with must see information, as a local ;)

  7. Bama
    6 October 2012 at 2:02 am #

    I can totally relate to this. The same like you, when I was a kid my parents didn’t take me to faraway places in Indonesia. The only ‘exotic’ destination that I remember was Jogja. Even it took me 26 years to finally go to Bali. But I’m planning a two or three months trip across Indonesia in a few years’ time with a fellow travel blogger from Hong Kong. I hope after exploring a significant breadth of the country, I can be more confident when talking about Indonesia with foreign travelers. Nice article, Dina!
    Bama´s last post…A Taste of Home

  8. Chrissy
    18 April 2013 at 12:27 am #

    Yes… Indeed, Dina. I am an Indonesian myself and I was somewhere in-between proud and ashamed when my foreign friend was already “done” travelling every corner of Indonesia. Meanwhile, my travel destination these past years were always abroad. Anyways, you gotta follow your heart on where to go right? LOL, so consider I am redeemed for that.

    But for sure, I am on my way to exploring our beautiful Indonesia. Good luck on your journey!

    btw, you are very welcome to visit my blog, too! Cheers~
    Chrissy´s last post…Photo Tale: The Castle Garden

  9. Monnette
    23 September 2013 at 6:46 am #

    I may have traveled more in my home country than in other countries but after just a few years, things have often changed in places where you’ve been before. So, I guess, go where the wind blows.

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