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Travel rant: ‘Doing’ a country

Travel rant: ‘Doing’ a country

“I’ve done South America, China and India. Where have you done?’


It’s just a tiny four-letter verb. It’s just a word. It’s inoffensive and means so little so why does it wind me up so much? ‘Done’ can’t offend anyone but when it’s used in this context it makes me cringe.

How the hell can you do a country?

You can do a crossword, for example, because once you’re finished it’s done, it’s completed, you’ve accomplished something and it’s unlikely you’ll do it again. You can do a marathon for similar reasons; once it’s done, it’s done. Finished (and hopefully never done again!)

I can almost understand if a person visits a country, spends some time there and didn’t enjoy it and then says they’re ‘done with it’. Fair enough; you won’t like every place you visit in the world and may decide you never want to go back.

I don’t know about you but when I visit a country that I love, the last thing I feel like it that I’ve ‘done’ it. This would imply I’ve seen every sight, heard every sound, visited every restaurant, spoken to every local, taken photographs of every historic monument and tried every local delicacy there is. I spent 18 months constantly travelling around Australia and even now I feel like there are things I’d like to go back for.

After spending a few weeks in a country I usually feel the exact opposite and the more I see, the more I realise there is to see. By this point you will have covered all the usual tourist hot spots and you’ll want to see more. A conversation with one local will open up a whole new world of possibilities and you’ll have even more tips and advice on what to see and do.

This will inevitably lead to another chance encounter with a backpacker, an expat, a local shop owner, a taxi driver or a tourist and before you know it you’ve got a list as long as your leg of must-see sights and it could take you a lifetime to ‘do’ them all.

Does anyone else feel like their to-do list or bucket list just gets longer and longer with every country they visit? I really wish I could cross places off as I visit them but I find myself drawn back to them again and again while discovering new places that make me want to explore every inch of the globe.

Ok, rant over. I’m done. 

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Vytas @ Places Happen

Monday 25th of May 2020

Exactly my feeling! I saw in the news that someone named Cassandra traveled to every country in the fastest time possible. What the hell is the point (other than self promotion) to go somewhere, get off the plane to eat in the restaurant near the airport and go somewhere else??

It's like you said, the more you explore any country, the more you realize that you haven't seen enough of it :)


Sunday 14th of December 2014

Have you started vlogging? A rant like this would be perfect for your video channel!

Speaking of, I just spent an hour going through your list of fave travel vloggers. Great list so thank you!


Sunday 14th of December 2014

No problem Sheena, I'm glad you enjoyed them. This topic would make a good vlog, definitely something I need to do soon!


Tuesday 12th of August 2014

Hilarious, Monica! So glad I'm not the only one bothered by this (judging from the comments above, seems like we're in good company). I'd boil much of it down to maturity and whether you feel that travel is just something you do for bragging rights or something that fulfills at a deeper level. That's the whole problem with Contiki-type tours in my opinion: it encourages people to treat travel as some kind of game to merely collect passport stamps while barely even scratching the surface of any one place. I try to keep an open mind about people having different travel styles, but for me, the whole idea of "doing" a country really commoditizes travel and strips it of its depth. Thanks for sharing, Monica!

Miranda Farley

Thursday 8th of May 2014

We always want adventure and challenges when travelling especially if it is to another country. My to-do list depends on the place I am visiting. We always feel like going back coz there's still more that a place could give.


Sunday 2nd of February 2014

Totally agree!