Where are the aliens?
You have to first find out if there are any other spacefaring civilizations in our Galaxy.
If the nearest one is a few dozen or so light-years away, fine. We might meet them.
If there are only a few, the nearest neighbor may be thousands of light-years away.
If it's just US, then the nearest neighbor may be in Andromeda, 2 MILLION light-years away.
It's a depressing thought, but even with FTL drives there may not be any other races in this Galaxy with a technological civilization. So WE have to go out and build one....