Friday, October 3, 2008

Going Back to the Start

Are you the kind of traveler who goes back to the same place time and time again? Or does your cardinal rule of travel state that one should never see the same thing twice? My own thoughts on the subject fall somewhere in between these two extremes. I've returned to some places, not returned to others, and have felt the pros and cons that are inevitably tied to both of these choices. It is, therefore, with a mix of excitement and trepidation that I will be hopping a plane to Paris on Saturday. If you've been counting, that's only seven and a half weeks since I left.

Going back can be fun. You get to frequent your favorite restaurants and shops again, try some new things to didn't get around to last time, and visit with old friends. But what can a second trip do to your memories? Seeing a place for a second time can be jarring, especially if your mindset has changed. When I studied abroad in Cannes in 2001, this French Riviera hot-spot was just a fun place for a college junior to drink some cheap wine, stay out until all hours of the morning and sun herself on the fabulous beach for hours on end. Visiting it again this past summer allowed me to observe the city with my older (and hopefully, wiser) eyes. It became an over-the-top, showy town filled with superficiality and a stark line between the haves and the have-nots. Memories are precious, and sometimes you don't want to change them. I'll always fondly remember Cannes, and my time there was second to none, but it's tough to see it with the wide-eyed optimism I once did.

I can understand why people like to go back to the same places. Doing so is comfortable, familiar, low-risk, and you already know you like it. There are a lot of places I've gone back to and fully enjoyed the second or third time around. Iceland stands out as one of these destinations. Loved it multiple times; would love to go back again. I wouldn't say no to a second trip to Florence or Scotland either. And Paris is a pretty good bet for multiple trips seeing as how there is so much to do and see. It's a city that's impossible to get bored with. Boredom isn't the worry here, though. I wonder what going back to Paris will do to the memories of my recent trip. Maybe it's too soon to change anything in my mind. After all, the trip to Cannes was so jarring because I wasn't that young college student anymore. I was seeing the city through completely different eyes. Paris, however, will be seen through pretty much the same eyes as last time. Will the city look or feel different to me? Will I be as in love with it as I was this past spring and summer? Well, there's only one way to find out. See you in Paris!

10 comments:

Lola said...

How exciting. Hope you have a safe trip and great time.

Stockholm seems to be that place for me....

Nomadic Matt said...

Amsterdam is that place for me. Been twice this year. Love it there. And thailand...if I go more than 6-7 months without being here, i get withdrawals.

There's nothing wrong with doubling back...as long as you add some new places in between.

enjoy your trip1

Tanya said...

Lola and Matt: Those all sounds like great places to visit time and time again! I would love to check them out someday. Any place you wouldn't go back to? Matt, I think I remember that we share a disdain for Milan...

Fida said...

There is not a single place I wouldn’t want to go back (even Milano - you can’t beat the Scala), though there is just not enough time in one life, and there are sooooo many places I haven’t seen yet. Luckily, I grew up in Europe, so hoping on a train over the weekend (Friday night and back with a night train Monday morning) and visiting places all over Europe’s map (several times the same) was no problem. Once I visited Paris just for the day to see an extraordinary exhibition in the Centre Pompidou, nothing else, not even a mint tea with pastries at La Mosquée de Paris (39 rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire). There, I can’t even make up my mind where I want to be when I am in Paris, really. All of India, Nepal, Tibet, Northern Thailand, Northern Laos, Northern Vietnam and Morocco are favourites, and I visited more then once (and want to go back). But now I started traveling in Latin America and soon I have to split my body in half, because there are places I really, really, really have to see a second time.
Bonne chance à Paris!

Fida said...

Oh, and I forgot Istanbul - if I only could choose one place to visit twice (too bad, much too late :-) it would be Istanbul...

Tanya said...

Fida: Europe is so good for those quick weekend trips to another country. I hope to do more of that kind of traveling once I'm a bit more settled. It might not be that easy to get to other countries from here in North America, but there are all kinds of great states, provinces and cities to visit that are never too far from home! You just usually need a car...

Fida said...

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Canada very much, and I drove twice from coast to coast, and when ever I can I undertake small trips. But cities are usually a little further apart than in Europe. But I don't miss that at all. I am here because I apreciate the space and the wilderness very much.
Anyway, have lot's of fun over there...

CollazoProjects said...

I love going back... to Havana, Cuba, to my second home in Mexico City, to any place where I've met people and learned to care about them and their environment.

Tanya said...

Fida: Is it embarrassing to admit that I'm from Minnesota and have never been to Canada? It's on my list of travel goals. A coast to coast road trip sounds awesome.

Julie: Yes, having a personal connection is a great reason to go back to someplace. Plus, I bet it's a lot warmer in MC and Cuba this time of year than it's going to be in Paris!

Fida said...

You know what’s embarrassing? Living an hour away from Geneva for most of the 44 years I lived in Switzerland – and never visited. Sometimes we just don’t find time to visit places closer to home. Mother Earth offers so many beautiful spots that one life is not enough to see everything…but if you do come to Canada, please let me know. There’s always a couch to crash in my house for travelers.
Be well, Fida
Oh, by the way, I was stranded once on a truck stop in Minnesota over New Year! What a party!