I have many times heard people, usually well-traveled such, claim that I cannot possibly "get" a place until I've physically visited it and "experienced it with my own eyes".
But is this really true?
I have basically never traveled. Some of the reasons for this include: lack of money, fear of flying, fear of the cops/thugs in sketchy countries, the total lack of privacy (especially these days), not enjoying being around people in general, not being social whatsoever, not having anyone to travel with, a general inability to generally "get by" even where I live and grew up (let alone in a completely foreign environment), not having the "peace of mind" to simply "see the world" (which I consider very egotistical), etc.
However, I have seen very high-resolution video/audio footage from all around this planet (assuming that they haven't faked all of it somehow, of course, which seems extremely unlikely). For many years. Both in movies, TV series, documentaries, news reels, online videos of various kinds, and, in recent years, live-streamed video from all kinds of exotic and not-so-exotic places.
Of course, if somebody were to film the place where I grew up (or even allowed me to do it) and then show it to somebody across the world, I wouldn't consider them to have "understood" what it means to me. But then again, I wouldn't expect that even if they had physically come here and seen it in with their own eyes. (And not just because it has been changed/ruined since.)
Maybe people who say this mean that I cannot know how people would treat me just because they treated the person filming/streaming location X well/bad? And of course, there might be many things that aren't shown in the video/stream. For example, maybe somebody considers the local females to be extremely attractive and love foreigners, but won't say that in a documentary. That's an example of information I'd be missing from just watching a video/stream of some place.
Still, overall, I consider myself to have a very good grasp of basically every "commonly known" place on this planet, as in, I get that there are nice and cheap massage places in numerous "poor" countries, and that they have various beautiful locations, but I also know how badly kept their buildings are and how badly the animals are treated, how dangerous it is and how easy it is to get scammed, etc.
While I'm not pretending to be "well traveled", since I'm not, I wonder if my collected understanding of the world from watching so many different videos of various kinds, oftentimes with zero talking/music/cuts, isn't at least "quite enough" for me to determine that it's not worth it for me to put a fortune of my measly savings to travel to some of those places which seem the most appealing to me.
As pathetic as it may sound, in many ways, I'm "content" with having just "been to" these places in my mind, aided by the video/audio footage. In a few cases, when I had a VR headset, I "visited" some places in VR, which was as immersive as technology allows for.
Yes, it could be that, upon arriving in China, all the beautiful Chinese girls flock around me and start attacking me with kisses and hugs, treating me like a famous superstar. I'm sure that's what a lot of male travelers hope for. However, in reality, I'd likely be just another stupid tourist, and the only girls who talk to me are part of a scam gang. Fast-forward an hour and I realize that my wallet is gone and so are those charming young ladies who just wanted to take a photo with the "exotic foreigner".
What I'm trying to say is that, given that I'm an antisocial loser "back home" (here, that is), I strongly doubt that a change of scenery would change anything about that. I frankly have zero interest in walking around with a camera and shopping in stores selling identical items to tourists, and I have many times asked myself what the point is of traveling at all, and how there can be so many people who pay so much money and spend so much time, energy and enthusiasm doing this.
It would be a different matter if I were especially invited by some royalty, or if I were rich with my own super-yacht, or had to go and inspect a factory of mine or something like that. Then there'd be a good reason for me to be there, rather than just desperately hoping for "good things" to happen to me just because I go far away from where my home is.