When you travel to a place, you develop a connection with that place and the people who call that place home. Regardless of whether or not one’s personal experiences in a place are positive or negative, a connection is still made, and its often the case that the more random the place and the more unique the experience, the more powerful the connection. Personally, I feel all of these connections are positive, even the negative ones, because they are all learning experiences; it might just take a while for the dust to settle in order for one to find the good in something that was bad. As one continues to travel and continues to make more and more connections, it can become difficult to watch or read the news. The news is often focused on the negative; wars, natural disasters, politics, etc., so when a headline flashes across the television or scrolls across the computer screen and the location of that headline is a place with which you have made a connection, it can be emotional and frustrating and depending on how far away you are from that place you have connected with, can make you feel quite helpless.
An age old dilemma among travelers is trying to strike a balance between following a route that has been well established and passes through heavily trafficked tourist areas versus a desire to stay off the beaten path. Obviously there are pros and cons to both. Heavily trafficked tourist areas are usually there for a reason; historic sites, beautiful vistas, and well preserved landscapes. But sometimes the lure of these popular attractions can be drowned out by the hum of thousands of people snapping photos on autopilot and the commands of tour guides using bull horns to herd their groups in and out of UNESCO sites. On the other hand, off the beaten places might appeal to those looking for more silence and solitude and they can be just as magnificent, but you have to get there, and getting there might not be that easy or fit within the time frame of your travels. Travelers always seem to be comparing travel stories with one another and a common bragging point, as if it somehow validates how hard core a traveler one really is, has always been how far off the “beaten path” one has been. But what is the beaten path? Seems pretty subjective. Well, now there is some data to show exactly where the beaten and not so beaten paths around the world actually are.