Please forgive me for this contemptible rant, but I’ve developed an almost debilitating pet hate in the time that I have been travelling. It’s petty, it’s insignificant and it’s MY problem, not yours. But every time I hear someone say they have “done” a country or “done” a city or “done” a continent it makes me ball my fists up in a futile attempt to diffuse the inner rage that seems to be constantly lurking beneath the surface of late.
I want to bite my own tongue off, scratch my eyeballs out and stuff them in my ears to preclude any further sensory contact with the person stood in front of me. Why does this tiny turn of phrase, that seemingly every traveller uses, make me so irrationally angry? I’ll try to explain.
I’m a bit of a stickler for grammar. Now before you start pointing out glaring spelling mistakes, errant apostrophes and incorrect usages of semi colons from previous posts, I recognise that sometimes I get it wrong too. But whilst you may have done a trek, or done a bike ride, to say that you have “done” a place is simply incorrect.
It suggests that it’s been completed, there’s a finality to it which in my mind it implies you have exhausted every possibility that place has to offer. No matter how many months you spent working as a llama herder in rural Bolivia Mr traveller, or how many years you went swanning around Europe eating crepes and drinking Bavarian beer Miss adventurer, you have not “done” it. You probably haven’t scraped the surface.
One of the things that I find strangely comforting about leaving a place that just I’ve fallen in love with, is the knowledge that there are so many reasons for me to one day go back. I’m excited at the prospect of visiting the icecaps in Patagonia when we return to Argentina, experiencing the Amazon in Brazil and discovering the Pacific coastline of Colombia. Whilst I’ve spent time in all of these countries, by no means do I feel I have I “done” them.
Another reason the term confounds me is that places change, develop and evolve, for better or for worse, like living organisms. There’s always something new to discover. And that’s part of the beauty of travelling. Even if you have been to every continent, country and city on the earth, by the time you next visit, something will have changed.
To any of you who recognise yourselves as someone who uses this term, I apologise. If you’re currently travelling or have previously travelled then the likelihood is that you use it to describe the places you’ve visited, pretty much every traveller does. Please don’t feel the need to watch your words around me.
Do you use this term? What travel phrases get on your nerves?
Travel lover, professional writer and football (soccer) obsessive, James loves nothing more than getting outside and exploring little known corners of the globe. He’s also very partial to a drop of Guinness.