My Most Frequently Asked Question

Posted: September 12, 2010    Categories: Travel

Only 12 human beings have set foot on the Moon...and that is all they've talked about since.

Exactly twelve human beings have walked on the moon.

That’s it.

One dozen representatives of our species have escaped the clutches of the Earth’s gravity and walked upon another celestial body. For a brief period of time, these twelve men experienced something no other humans have experienced before or since.

After their short time on the lunar surface they all returned to Earth to something they had to suffer every single day for the rest of their god damn life: people asking them what it was like to walk on the moon.

A guy like Neil Armstrong exchanged 45 minutes of moon walking for a life time of every single person he’d meet for the rest of his life all asking him about those 45 minutes.

I am nothing close to being an astronaut, but like an astronaut I am well traveled and I have also found that I am being asked the same question almost every single day.

It often starts innocently enough. I’ll be talking to someone and someone will ask an innocent question like “where do you live?” or “what do you do for a living?”. For most people, a question like that is no big deal. For me, it is very difficult to answer. I don’t have a permanent home I usually end up saying that I’ve been traveling around the world for the last three years.

Once they find out I’ve been traveling for over 3 year, I inevitably get “the question”:

What is your favorite place?

I’d guess 99% of the people I meet ask me this question. I get it so often that when someone doesn’t ask me I notice.

I don’t have a problem with people asking me questions. It is a part of the traveling and running a popular blog, so that isn’t the issue. The problem I have with it is that it assumes there can be a single, best place.

I can say in all honestly I have no answer to the question. In fact, I’m not even really sure how I would know how to answer it. Comparing Japan to Italy is like comparing apples to bicycles. Yes, they are both countries, but I like them each for different reasons.

The standard reply I usually give is that asking me what my favorite place is, is like asking a mother what her favorite child is. Peter is good looking, Suzy is an athlete and Timmy is smart. How do you compare them?

Other times I will just give the name of a place that most people have never heard of. Micronesia is a good one. I like Micronesia, but I don’t think I’d call it my favorite. I basically do this because I wont want to go into a long spiel about not having a favorite place, and by saying something exotic it makes me look impressive.

There is no best place. There are certain places I like for their food, some cities I like more than others, some national parks are great, but I am not sure how you compare a city to a park. I like them both for totally different reasons.

I’m not even sure what a place is. A city? A country? A park? A block? How can you say your favorite place is Australia, given how big and diverse the country is?

So there you have it. I do not have a favorite place and I’m not even sure how to go about knowing what a favorite place is. I’m happy to answer almost any other question you might have. As for this question, however, I have nothing.

…and for anyone who asks me that question in the future, you will be getting a link to this URL.

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