9 Perfectly Good Reasons To Go Back To A Destination
There's a reason you loved it the first time around.
If you need more R&R than adventure out of your next holiday, you can’t go wrong returning to a place that you know and love. Sure, you could do the relaxation thing somewhere new, but there’s so much pressure to fully experience a new destination that you’ll probably be rushed off your feet the whole time.
With that in mind, here are nine reasons to return to somewhere you’ve already been (and have a completely different experience in the process).
# 1 Spot the difference
Sure, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect. You know the geography of this city. You’ve flipped through your Lonely Planet guide from last time, taking note of the restaurants you marked with an asterisk.
But there are also places that have since closed. There are new landmarks to check out. The streets are busier than they were. Noticing these similarities and differences will give you a better appreciation for the permanence and constant change of the place you’ve returned to.
# 2 You’ve (probably) matured
When I made my first trip to Vietnam as an 18 year-old in 2004, I was naïve, awkward, and certain that the strict-looking immigration officials would send me packing immediately. When I went back, I was much more chilled-out. I didn’t engage with the fuss of being a tourist. I wore my regular clothes and not the quick-dry [insert hiking gear label here] stuff I bought for the trip 10 years ago.
When a cab driver tried to rip me off during my second trip, I quickly worked out that the middle ground of this dispute equated to about AU$2.50, handed that amount over, and walked away calmly. You don’t sweat the small stuff as much as the second time around. (I would also recommend reading Yes, Please by Amy Poehler during your trip, in order to achieve this Zen-like state.)
#3 Visit old friends
Remember that person you hung out with when you visited several years ago? You weren’t exactly friends, but you shared some of the same interests. Well, it turns out they’re a really lovely, hospitable person who would be thrilled to take you out for a drink upon your return. They’ll give you an insight into what has been happening in this town since you were here last and you’ll gain a valuable new perspective on the personality, longevity, and development of this place you’ve returned to.
#4 Reminisce about last time
Sometimes, the people you visited have moved elsewhere. Some, you’ve lost contact with. Some were fellow travellers who simply didn’t pick the 10th anniversary of the trip to return with you.
Take a few moments here and there during your holiday to miss the good times you had with them last time you were here together.
#5 Enjoy the finer things in life
OK, this one is easier when you’re visiting a country like Vietnam, but by spending a bit more money on accommodation than you would have as a teenager, it turns out that you do end up in quite a nice hotel. You might not want to break the bank — even now that your income is ever slightly more disposable than it was — but it’s worth treating yourself to at least one night in a resort.
You’ll get some peace and quiet – there’s no haggling here — and enjoy some time in the biggest swimming pool you’ve ever seen in your life. And keep your fingers crossed that you get upgraded to a suite. Also, at roughly one-fifth of the price, you can take the time to get more massages than you would ever dream of getting back home.
#6 You don’t have to be a tourist
Look, it’s great to visit the odd temple here and partaking is obviously of great economic benefit to the local economy. But when you travel somewhere you’ve been before, the pressure to tick monuments off a list is off.
Alternatively, you might have even skipped this stuff on the original trip. If so, this time around you might want to check it out.
#7 Introduce someone else to the place
Just in case the point of this website hasn’t sunk in yet: Travel is a wonderful thing. Share it with someone you love. Show them around. Watch them marvel at the wonderful, yet surprisingly cheap food you’re eating together and share your small tidbits of familiarity. You’ll most likely enjoy this place more if you’re showing it to someone else.
#8 Instagram your food
Instagramming your food wasn’t even possible in 2004. You sent bulk emails to let people know you were still alive. Maybe you had a LiveJournal. Now, you can maintain your quirky internet presence on the wide array of social networks that have emerged since your last visit.
There’s no need to print out your photos this time. There’s no need to even take a camera with you. Even if you haven’t acquired a local SIM, you can #latergram that amazing bún chả you had for lunch when you get back to the hotel.
On that note, since when does Vietnam have NBN-grade internet? Ten years ago, it took hours to enrol online into uni courses using HTML1 on the Vietnamese web. But now, they got some fast internet.
#9 Live a little more like a local
This goes hand-in-hand with bypassing the tourism hot spots, but it’s a great point (if I say so myself), so I’ve jotted it down twice. Returning somewhere means you’ve had more time to consider what your experience of this trip is going to be. Your preference might very well be to repeat the same trip over and over, going back to that amazing gallery/temple/landmark to marvel at its beauty/permanence/meaning every time.
Alternatively, you can spend more time relaxing. Instead of being in transit, or waiting in line, or bemoaning the presence of other tourists, you can connect with the locals, eat food you’d never usually have the chance to eat, or just hang out and read in a café with a view for an afternoon. When you have a base level of familiarity with a place that’s not your home, each time you visit this foundation builds.
If you fell in love with this place the first time you visited, then then relationship can only strength with return visits.
(Lead image: Khánh Hmoong / Flickr)