Are You Obsessed?

On 27 July 2010 by Jessica

I’m going to try an experiment here.

I’ve been mulling over something in my head for a few weeks – has it been months? – now, and it’s something I’d like to have a conversation about. Something, at least, that I’d like to hear from others about before I go spouting off on the subject.

I know, right? Kooky.

Anyway, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to ask a question here, and if you’ve got something to contribute to the conversation, let me know. You can leave a comment below, or, if you’d like to send something longer you can send me an email – jessica (at) jessicatravels (dot) com with the subject line “I’m Obsessed.” Why? You’ll see in a minute. And you should also know that any response you leave in the comments or send me via email may well end up in whatever I write. There you are, fair warning.

And now, for my question.

Question:

Have you ever been obsessed with a place for a really long time without actually setting foot in that place? I’m talking ten, 20 years or more? If so, have you finally visited that place after your long obsession? What was it like? Did it live up to expectations or was it disappointing? And if you haven’t visited the place, are you afraid to, just in case it might be disappointing?

I look forward to hearing from you.

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10 Responses to “Are You Obsessed?”

  • I’m obsessed with Australia. When I was 10 years old I got an invitation from the People-to-People program to take a summer trip to Australia. My mom not only wouldn’t let me go, she wouldn’t even consider attending the meeting to even look into it. Ever since I’ve always wanted to go to Australia, but haven’t been able to yet.

  • I read about the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, China, when I was 8 or 9, and was absolutely entranced by idea of an army accompanying the emperor to the afterlife, and the story of how it was buried underground and forgotten for hundreds of years. I finally made it to China when I was 20, and it did not disappoint. The largest site is the most impressive, but even the trenches that are mostly emptied of their statues have enough fragments to suggest the magnificence of their former contents.

    Since then, I’ve taken or sent a few friends there who didn’t think it was that cool. That is always a little disappointing – although I blame the friends more than the warriors!

  • Um, Yes! Years ago I saw a photo of Sa Pa, Vietnam. It was gorgeous. I’ve become obsessed with this place ever since. I search for photos on flickr and read articles. This October I’ll finally travel to Sa Pa. I’m both nervous and excited.

    I’ll let you know if it lived up to my expectations. 😉

  • I was/am obsessed with one country and that is (don’t laugh) Canada. Seems funny to me since I’ve lived in the USA my whole life and Canada is, like, right *there*. But the obsession started when I was very young, and it started because of my obsession with hockey. My first love is/was hockey, so it’s only natural to want to go to Canada then, right? I would BEG my parents to take us somewhere in Canada on our annual summer trip, but we always seemed to end up in Florida. It was on one of those trips to Florida that we visited the World Showcase at EPCOT; one of the featured countries is Canada. I cried the whole time we were “in Canada”, especially during the hockey scene of the Circlevision 360 movie. I finally went to Canada at the age of 15; I thought I’d died and gone to heaven, especially since the trip was hockey-related. I’ve been back a few times since (various places in Ontario, and one trip to Calgary), but I am dying to see more. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that there’s more to Canada than hockey, that it’s a vast, diverse, beautiful land, and that I want to see it all!

  • I don’t know if I’ve been “obsessed” per se, but I have wanted to visit Ireland for as long as I can remember. I can’t wait to go someday. I *hope* it doesn’t disappoint.

  • It’s fair to say I’ve been obsessed with sub-Saharan Africa since about 1981. I could blame the original incarnation of Banana Republic, exotic animals at the National Zoo (I grew up in D.C.), or even this kid in my school whose dad was the ambassador to Madagascar.

    But then I went on to take African History in college. We were watching a documentary on the Zulu War when our teacher turned up the lights and announced that Nelson Mandela had just been released from prison. This still gives me chills.

    I’ve seen movies like “Out of Africa” and “Mountains of the “Moon” more times than it’s healthy to admit. I watched the whole “#1 Ladies Detective Agency” mini-series in two days. I’ve read books by V.S. Naipaul, Frantz Fanon, Kuki Gallman, Nadine Gordimer, John Reader and Barbara Kingsolver, looking for clues. Heck, I even watched some footy just to see images of Johannesburg…

    But I’ve never been there. Good thing I’m going on safaris in Botswana and Tanzania in October to celebrate my 40th birthday. I’ll let you know if it leaves me hungry for more.

  • I’ve been obsessed with Australia and New Zealand since…I don’t know, childhood? Still haven’t been to either.

    I used to be obsessed about Scotland and Italy, but have been to both. Would happily make return visits, of course.

  • I’ll second Russia, specifically the Trans-Siberian Railway. I’ve thought it sounded like the coolest trip ever since I heard about it. Watching youtube videos makes it seem even better.
    I haven’t made it yet, though not exactly sure what has stopped me. Maybe that I really want to spend several months and go through Asia on the other end; or I just get distracted with warmer places.

  • I’ve been obsessed with Melbourne, Australia since I was 14 years old. Everything from Australia captivates me. Several Aussies have told me that Melbourne is the city for me, and so it’s become this pseudo-mecca for me. No matter what happens in life, there’s always the promised land of Melbourne.

    I haven’t yet made the trip there (I live in San Francisco), but anticipate doing something crazy like moving there for a year or taking a big trip sight unseen.

  • Yes, Russia. I was fascinated by it since I was a little girl and finally got to go when I was 18. It did not disappoint. If anything it was ten times better and more interesting than I had imagined. I wish I could’ve stayed longer than the few months I lived there, and would go back in a hot second. 🙂

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