Why haven’t I been to Portugal yet?

Nick, a loyal MR reader, asks:

Well, Portugal is one place I’ve never visited – and I
believe you’ve never been there; why is that? As a gormand &
traveller it appears to have everything – influencing the world’s
cuisine (from Japan to Brazil & back) & with a beautiful,
unique (if rather mournful) musical cannon… Is there a reason you’ve
never been to Portugal? 

The first reason is intertemporal substitution, namely that I often wait for people to pay me to go places.  In general this factor leads small countries, especially with Romance languages, or in geographic corners, to be visited late.  The small country has a bigger place in your mind’s eye than it does on the conference and lecture circuit.  The American Midwest ends up being overvisited, as does New Orleans, and Nova Scotia ends up being undervisited (I want very much to go there). 

If you are invited to a lot of talks and conferences, your non-work travel should avoid centrally located hub cities and focus on poor corners, such as Albania and Yemen.  You’ll get to Paris and London anyway.

That said, I have an invitation to Portugal for this April and I will be going.  Since I’m not sure I need to go twice, I am glad I waited.


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