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Do I Go Back Or Do I Go Somewhere New?

Every time you book a trip, there is a choice. Do you go back somewhere you’ve been before or head off somewhere new?

Cleethorpes Front

The seaside town of Cleethorpes -- The winner for "most times visited again."

Sure, for a lot of people this choice doesn’t even register. Why go somewhere you’ve already seen? Surely it’s changed and just isn’t as good as it used to be. Plus, there’s so many new places out there to see, and you’ll never have enough time to see all of them.

I completely understand this point of view, and it often appeals to me…yet I often find myself choosing the other option, choosing to go down roads previously traveled.

It’s not because I don’t want to get out of my comfort zone. I would love to make myself more uncomfortable, maybe spend an extended period of time in a country where I don’t know the language (or really hack at it, like Spanish). I would love to get that assault on the senses as I step out into a completely different world from where I live.

Me in a Zorb

Zorbing...finally did it 9 months after missing out for the first time!

I just hate that feeling of not quite being finished.

My inner perfectionist — the one that never let me give up on a project at university even though I desperately needed sleep, or food, or social interaction — coming out. I don’t like knowing that there were experiences that I missed out on because I just couldn’t spend enough time in that location.

The problem is that it’s impossible to “finish” a place. 

There’s always something there to be discovered, something that has to be left undone…unless you’re, say, going to Houston. Then you’ve probably finished everything you want to do in a day (sorry Houston, I still love you)!

Lake Matheson on a rainy day in 2005.

This was my first visit to postcard-perfect Lake Matheson on NZ's West Coast in 2005.

That doesn’t stop me from trying though. That’s why I’ve been to New Zealand 4 times and I came to Australia 4 times before moving here. I’m perfectly content being in a place that I love, seeking out new things to try…and sometimes going back to some places multiple times and doing the same thing, just because I enjoyed it so much the first time. And I’ve been lucky to have rarely had that feeling that “it was so much better x years ago.”

Lake Matheson on a lovely morning in 2008

Was it worth going back? I'm going to say yes.

I’m fairly sure this comes from a childhood of family travel, where we often went back to the same place many times and had a great time doing it. We went to England every other summer when my brother and I were kids to see my grandparents and other family and friends. Even though we stayed in the same place for all of these trips (my grandparents’ house) they made sure we had something different to see on every trip. We always spent a week going somewhere cool (different areas of Scotland, Wales, and Devon) as well as going down to London to see my great aunt and take in the sights. These trips taught me that it doesn’t matter if I’ve been somewhere before if it means I get to see my family, who are now scattered across the world and whom I am lucky to see once or twice a year…and that that somewhere was still just as much fun the second or third time around.

So, I am still going to plan that epic trip to South America that I’ve always wanted…but it will be interspersed with trips to places I know and love like England or New Zealand (or maybe a 7-day trip through the mountains of arctic Sweden on dogsled…1 day was just not enough). And I’m completely happy with that.

What’s your travel style? Out with the old and in with the new? Or do you keep finding yourself gravitating towards places you know and love?

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2 Responses to Do I Go Back Or Do I Go Somewhere New?

  1. Heather March 12, 2012 at 9:27 am Reply

    I am definitely in this boat with you! I’ve returned to several places and I know I’m nowhere close to be finished with Australia! I want to explore new places, but I fall in love with the ones I’ve already seen and want to go back to connect with people and places AND see more.

    • Kristin March 16, 2012 at 11:14 pm Reply

      Yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head with falling in love with a place! Definitely agree about wanting to go back and connect with people as well. And I’m glad that you’re not done with Australia, because it would be great to see you here again sometime 🙂

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