It's a lot of bother to look these places up, to decide where to spend some time — away from comfy chairs and our internet connection, I mean, miles from snacks and menus and predictable life in Idaho. You see where I'm going with this, don't you? The point being that stretching is good for the body and the soul ...
Not because the places are fantastical (being affixed to some bucket list featuring the secretly-discovered, intact True Cross), so much as because historical events that happened there touch who we all are now. Those hillsides, valleys, rivers, seasides, rocky tors where the ancients kept watch, valleys where they broke up the soil and planted precious seeds, estuaries where communities began to flourish. They touch us. Or should.
Which brings up a critical issue to be puzzled out, I think ... what is the mode/mood/point of the adventure? If to carve mental notches in one's experience-belt, marking stupendous places visited, well, that is what motivates perhaps most Americans to travel: to be able to say, "I did the Louvre today, and tomorrow the Eiffel Tower! Great trip." Yawn.
But if on the other hand the sojourn is mainly about touching the foreign-ness of a place and tasting and savoring all the levels of it, then that's something else entirely. Clearly that's my bias, but it's a decision I have made deliberately.
A fresh setting from which to view life upon that inevitable return home.
And to have something interesting to share with friends who may also be curious about such stuff.
Because I still can, I think, do it. And it's satisfying to prove that now and then, to self and friends.
Also because it's fun