It was, of course, interesting to see which places received the most acclaim. But it was equally interesting, in some ways more so, to see the idiosyncratic attractions, the out-of-the-way places that hold a singular allure. Hayward Allen, an author of travel books specializing in Native American subjects, chose New Mexico's Chaco Culture Historical Park. A remote place 6,200 feet above sea level and 60 miles from the nearest town, it is rich with ruins dating back to 900 AD. "It's possibly the most dramatic of Native American ancestral sites," he wrote. "Visiting Chaco is almost as difficult as Machu Picchu, but no less exciting and inspiring."

Other off-the-beaten-track choices included the bleachers at Wrigley Field (note: not just Wrigley, but the bleachers at Wrigley); St. Catherine's Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai; Ephesus, Turkey; The Baths, Virgin Gorda; Pokhara, Nepal, at the foot of Mount Everest; Hubbard Glacier, Alaska;
and Zanzibar.

While taken with the breadth of recommendations, I was surprised that a few well-known places were not
better represented: New Orleans, Disney World, Stonehenge, Rome, and the Sphinx in Egypt received only one vote each.

As I read the responses, something occurred to me that I already knew, but it was a knowledge that one takes for granted and is, then, worth knowing again: People travel for every conceivable reason. They travel to marvel at beauty. They travel to seek thrills. They are drawn to quiet. They love excitement. They go for fun, for history, for relaxation, for energy, for deep contemplation, for mindless escapism. In recommending a destination they've been, they're not just naming a place, they're also naming an experience.

That is why, while lists are fun, they are also irrelevant. Travel isn't, or shouldn't be, a contest. It's an exploration, as internal as it is external. What matters isn't what everybody thinks you should do. What matters is what matters to you.