Let’s Go Back

Big Sur, California

Depending where you choose to go, travel can offer the thrill of someplace new, or the contentment of someplace familiar.  My friend David much preferred the latter:  He did a lot of traveling, but most of it was to either Venice or London.

Occasionally he could be cajoled into going elsewhere, but he always wanted to get back to his favorites.  He once told us that he’d stopped counting how many times he had been to Venice after his 27th visit.  So far, I’m still stuck on one.

Unlike David, my inclination is to go somewhere I haven’t been before, since there are so many wonderful places to see.  On the other hand, I’ve been fortunate to have seen many wonderful places already, and I’d love to see some of them again — you, too? 

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have unlimited time and money, so when an opportunity to travel does come along and we ask ourselves “where shall we go?”, we have to pick either a new adventure or an old favorite.  Which, I acknowledge, is a nice problem to have.

Places like Copenhagen and Angkor and the Amazon River remain on my wish list of future adventures, but my wish list for return visits includes…

     •  Paris embraces me; its boulevards and museums and sidewalk cafés reach out affectionately.  Not everyone feels that way about the City of Light, I know, but when I daydream about traveling, this is usually where my mind takes me.

     •  Yellowstone National Park has awe-inspiring sights around almost every bend in the road or trail.  At certain times of the year there are hordes of other tourists around every bend, too, but a well-timed visit can make you sigh deeply at Yellowstone’s majestic beauty.

•  Moorea is not as well-known as its neighbors Tahiti and Bora Bora, but offers  similarly gorgeous beaches and abundant tropical fish.  It’s a great place to kayak or dive or hike… or just sprawl out and do nothing.

•  Shanghai impressed me with its contrasts:  Parts of the city are ancient, but nearby there are skyscrapers.  Buildings along the Bund evoke 19th-century Europe, but directly across the river is a business district that, after dark, is lit up like Las Vegas.  I have had just a taste of Shanghai, and it made me want more.

•  Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, is an old but elegant city.  As Sally observed when we were there:  “In Rome you wake up to car horns; in Florence you wake up to church bells.”

•  The California Coastline is where I live, so forgive me if this sounds like boosterism. The Pacific coast’s natural beauty stretches for hundreds of miles (and in fairness, to Oregon and Washington, too).  As much as I like going elsewhere, it’s great to come back here.

So… what about you?  Is there some special place you look forward to seeing again?

9 responses to “Let’s Go Back

  1. London, with its respect for ancient structures as it builds new ones; its beautiful array of stage plays; its absurd traffic mix of ordinary cars, limosines, clumps of little black cabs, maybe a troop of horsemen in uniforms of the queen’s guard, two-deck buses and pretty girls on bicycles heading for the office.
    Paris, of course.
    A couple of hope-never-to-see-agains: New Guinea, Eniwetok.

  2. New Guinea and Eniwetok may have improved since you saw them during the Second World War, but they still don’t show up on any travel expert’s “oh, you must!” list.

  3. I’d go back to many places for many reasons, but here are a few food choices I’d repeat: London — the cheese course at the Dorchester Grill; Paris — mashed potatoes I’m still trying to duplicate in California; Edinburgh — that fabulous BLT on home-made wheat bread; Florence — artichokes the way they prepare them in Florence; Rome — spaghetti carbonara; New York City — the martini at the Post House; Hawaii — Maui onions; Mykonos, Greece — a Greek salad in an open-air cafe with a donkey train walking past; Akumal, Mexico — fresh shrimp and tequila shooters eaten in a wet bathing suit on the beach; Moorea — the worst Mexican food ever, but I’d eat it again in a heartbeat just to be there.
    Or maybe it is just getting a break from having to wash dishes.

  4. I want to be a part of it N.Y. N.Y. (can just hear Liza ….with a z)

  5. You’re right, Jackie — New York City can be a familiar place, but it offers up new experiences every time you visit.

  6. As a frequent work traveler, I’ve turned down lots of jobs in places I’d love to go. “Wanna do five weeks in Russia on a Mixed Martial Arts show?”. “Are you available to go to Chile for three months – leaving tomorrow?”. Unfortunately I had to say no to both of these offers, because my family and my heart are in Los Angeles now, and long stretches away from home just aren’t worth the emotional toll. I do have one exception, though. Anytime I get an offer to do a show in Hawaii, I take it. I used to scoff at Hawaii as being too touristy, but as I’ve gotten older, I realize that the Islands can be whatever you want them to be. Adventure, eco, leisure, and cultural tourism all seem to converge, with the added convenience of the American currency, language and customs. If I get offered a 6 week gig in the Islands, I’ll take it every time. It’s also not too tough an arm twist (or too long a plane ride) to convince my wife to come for a visit while I’m there.

  7. There certainly are parts of the Hawaiian Islands that are packed with tourists, but as you note, it’s possible to find places where you can admire the view without being in someone else’s photo.

    You also brought up one of the best ways to travel, Brian — when someone else is paying for it!

  8. I learned to dive on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, so I’d like to go back to see it again now that I’ve been other places to see if it really was as incredible as it seemed. Otherwise, I’m in a seeing new places phase. There are way too many places I want to get to!

  9. I hope you do get a chance to revisit the Great Barrier Reef someday. It is indeed as incredible as it seemed, and is also on my expanded list of places I’d like to see again. I’m with Steve (above) — my list of “no thank yous” is a lot shorter than my list of “let’s go backs”.

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