When some people hear that we fly half-way around the world for two weeks, I get comments like: "why would you bother" or "that's too far for a short trip".
Sure it's far, but I want to go!
Why travel, particularly long distances, with only a limited amount of time? I'm under no illusion that traveling this way is like long-term or perpetual traveling, and I definitely feel like we are missing out on things. But think of all you can see and experience, even in just a few days or a week!
Here are just some of the reasons why I think you should still travel wherever you damn well please, even if you have just a short period of time to spend there.
Wildlife. Many of the world's most interesting creatures are not in North America. Yes, I do realize that some people actually don't like animals, but if you do like animals, you'll probably understand the draw. Trust me, seeing a cheetah in a zoo–no matter how nice the zoo–is never the same after you have seen a cheetah in the wild. If you love animals, and have the ability and the opportunity to go see them in their natural habitat for even a single day, do it.
Natural Wonders. Some don't require a long visit, but are located a very long way away. For example, the Serengeti. Table Mountain. The Great Barrier Reef. Mount Everest. Iguazu Falls. The list just goes on and on. Many natural wonders can be seen in just a few days, if that's what you have! Three days can enable you to see some of the coolest things on the planet. I totally think that this is worth a long flight.
Perspective. Getting away from home sweet/safe home is important, even if its just for a few days or weeks. A destination that is totally foreign in culture, in language, in food, and in history can provide you with a new or added perspective. After even a few days probably realize that your favorite latte isn't that important, and are also be able to return to work and home with added appreciation or interest in the challenges that others face in their day-to-day lives.
Food. I don't think this requires much explanation! Food is one of the easiest things to experience in a short trip. While we live within walking distance of nearly any type of food you could imagine, we all know that the Americanized version isn't what you will probably get abroad. While food may not be the only reason you visit a location (or it may be…depending on your foodie interest), it is still a great one!
History. You may not be able to fully grasp the complexities of a country's or a population's past, but you can certainly learn an incredible amount in a short period of time. Additionally, there are so many fantastic museums around the world that can easily be visited in a few hours or a day. While we all can google (well, not all of us, as I learned), I think history is still something that is best learned in the place where it occurred. And well, sometimes this isn't close to home.
Ditching the Comfort Zone. Traveling for a few days or a two weeks is still likely to push you out of your comfort zone. Whether it's being nervous about the total lack of English signage, the weird foods you may eat, or awkward cultural interactions, travel is a great avenue for pushing us all out of our comfort zone. I think saying something is "too far" often means "eh, I don't want to leave my comfort zone" more than anything else.
Adventure. So much can happen in two weeks. While your experiences will certainly depend on your travel style in a new country, adventures are a great reason to fly for 24 hours to visit somewhere new. Whether this is skiing in the Andes, visiting Everest Base Camp, taking the Trans-Siberian railway, or scuba-diving in the Maldives, even shorter trips can be filled with so much adventure.
Cultural Exposure/Experiences. Sure, you can have cultural experiences at home–but it's a bit different having these experiences when you are actually in another country. Again, your immersion will depend on you, but you can still have wonderful cultural interactions during shorter trips. With a good attitude and some effort, you can learn a great deal about cultures different from your own.
Let's call a spade a spade: "too far" is an excuse. That's the excuse you use when you don't want to go see family more frequently. It's the excuse you use when you are too lazy to walk and instead take a cab. It's what you say when you order takeout instead of going to get groceries.
Ninety percent of the time, it's only "too far" or "too short a time" to travel when you don't really want to travel.