I have a problem. Well, it’s not really a problem. Ok, it’s a bit of a problem. The thing is, I’ve been travelling for a while. But even when I started travelling, the problem raised its ugly head. Allow me to explain.
I was in Australia, with my travelling buddy at the time. We had spent a few weeks on the road. We had seen some pretty amazing things. We were delighted with ourselves, and wanted to share how happy we were with our trip so far with each other.
Our conversations would therefore be peppered with happy adjectives, along the lines of “that tree was amazing!” or “did you see that 90 mile beach? Amazing!”.
After a few weeks of this, we started to get a bit concerned. What if the “amazing” tag wore off? How would we be able to differentiate between say, Uluru (amazing) and an experience camping under the stars in the outback, with no people within at least 100km of us (also amazing). What if amazing just became, well, the norm?
It was clearly time for a system to be put into place, a system with rules. Rules we would have to stick to. Some form of classification system that would allow us to differentiate the every day amazing from the truly amazing amazing. And so was the awesomometer born.
We decided that a scale was necessary. At the bottom of the scale was amazing. A lot of Australia is amazing, and so a lot of stuff fell into this category. This is by no means a bad category. Just because it happens to be at the bottom of the scale does not mean it fails to pass muster. This is a scale that starts at amazing, and can only go up.
After amazing came awesome. Awesome had to be something really quite special. Special beyond amazing. To be awesome, somewhere had to not only be a staggeringly awesome place, but to provide some sort of experience that we were left in awe by. I know, this sounds tricky. Luckily, Australia provided awesome in spades too.
The final category (I know what you are thinking, a three tier scale? That is barely enough! We realised this later too, and added descriptors such as “really amazing” or “quite awesome” as mini markers to keep ourselves on the straight and narrow) was Legendary. (We had possible watched too much of a certain TV series at this point).
Legendary required an experience to be entirely mind blowing. A once in a lifetime experience, never to be forgotten. Something that burnt itself indelibly into the mind. I classified one experience as legendary on the entire trip, (although the whole trip could be classed as legendary) and that involved a week long outback hippie festival, mud, and fairly liberal doses of nudity..
So a scale was born. Generally I was happy. But of late, I have started to feel that perhaps it isn’t the right approach. I may get a bit philosophical here. Bear with me.
The thing is, judging things against other things is a practice that is entirely common. Some people create top ten lists of say, their favourite cities in the world. Others become vexed that not everything we see can be truly awesome, and that as writers we must be sparing with our words. Praise should be doled out carefully, to places and experiences that are truly worthy.
And I’m not so good at that I am starting to realise. I find myself genuinely amazed and thrilled by so many of the things I see, that I must use words that match my delight. I urge you to do the same. Do not be afraid to share your enthusiasm for your experiences. Don’t worry if the tenth waterfall you see happens to be the tenth amazing waterfall, with nine other amazing waterfalls right behind it. Be delighted at the new and fresh thrill of every discovery.
Every waterfall, place you visit and experience you have is its own unique object, unique to itself, incomparable to anything else, and unique to you and how you experience it.
It can sometimes be a challenge to find the words to get that out, but I’m sure you’ll rise to that challenge. And if words don’t do, I find photographs to be a handy substitute. Thanks for reading.