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Travel loves, old and new

Globe and world map

The thing about writing a travel plans post is that however set you think the future is, you’re guaranteed that as soon as you press ‘Publish’, something will change. And this year it was my April trip to Las Vegas and Florida. My husband doesn’t need to go out there for work any more, meaning we aren’t tied to dates or locations and can avoid the pricey Easter period. So I’ve been back to the drawing board, with a road trip through eastern USA and Canada on the cards for the autumn instead. But while I was looking at maps and itineraries for the area there was one place that kept tempting me back – New York. The Big Apple is one of my favourite cities, and despite having visited five times already I’d happily go back again and again. It was the first place I travelled to outside of Europe when I was 18, and it totally blew my mind – the towering skyscrapers above me, the bright lights in Times Square, the accents, the smells of hotdog carts on the streets. It felt like walking into a film set and still gives me those same feelings.

View of New York from the Staten Island Ferry

The classic view of Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry, New York

The old loves

New York isn’t the only old favourite location that I keep finding myself drawn back to. Paris is another city that’s got under my skin; as well spending six weeks out there a few years ago I try to visit most years. I’m lucky enough to have family with an apartment out there, so I have my own Parisian neighbourhood, where I know which boulangerie sells the best bread, where the local market is and the back street shortcut down to the river. Like New York, there is always something new to see; another layer of the city to peel back or another neighbourhood to discover. They constantly evolve so every trip is almost like visiting a different place. But it’s not just cities I’m drawn back to – I’ve been back to Thailand four times and find myself being pulled back yet again whenever I try and recreate a Pad Thai or look through my old photos of the beautiful temples and beaches. And there are also the places that I only visited once but fell in love with and want to go back to see more, like Sorrento in Italy, Sedona in the USA and Ubud in Bali.

Beach in Ko Samui in Thailand

On the beach in Ko Samui on one of my first trips to Thailand

The new loves

But the danger is that if you stick to the places that already know you love, then you’ll never find the next ones. There are so many places out there to see, that when you only have limited time and money to travel with, it can be hard to justify going back to the same place again and again. And especially so when you’re a travel blogger – unless you’re going to specialise in a particular location, there’s always the push to go and see new and exciting things so you can share them with your readers. If you keep going back to the same place, it can be hard to find a new angle on it. It’s easy to get too comfortable with somewhere you already know and love – when you’re eating your favourite dish at your usual restaurant yet again it’s not so different from being at home. By constantly trying new places, you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. But you take the chance of ending up somewhere you don’t like, and when travel time and money is a precious commodity it can be hard to risk wasting it.

Sedona, Arizona USA

Can’t wait to get back and see more of the red rock scenery in Sedona, Arizona

Finding a balance

Like so many things, for me it’s a case of finding a balance. To keep pushing myself to see more of the world on one hand, but on the other not to make travel into a country-counting exercise, where it become all about seeing as many places as possible. Going back to somewhere you love again and again gives you chance to really dig deep into that destination, to go beyond the obvious tourist attractions to find the hidden depths and the unusual attractions. So what does that mean for my travels? Well this year I’m trying to put this into practice on my revised US trip. So I’ll to be visiting Canada for the first time, but also reliving one of my earliest trips by going back to Cape Cod in the US, where I worked for a summer when I was 19. And who knows, there might even be a day or two in New York before I fly home!

Wellfleet in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA

Wellfleet in Cape Cod, where I worked for three months in my university holidays

Do you find yourself drawn back to previous destinations (and if so where?) or are you always moving on to the next place?

68 Comments Post a comment
  1. I love Canada especially BC and have visited twice. I do have a friend out there though…..but i think i would still visit that part of Canada again if she were to move. I especially loved the amazing wildlife and was lucky enough to see black bear and a mountain lion on my visits. :)

    February 24, 2014
    • I’ve been wanting to go to Canada for years so am really looking forward to finally making it – though this will just be a taste as it’s such a big country, I’ll definitely need a few more trips!

      February 24, 2014
  2. Great post :D

    February 24, 2014
  3. Canada’s a favourite! I do try to see somewhere new every trip. Especially as the lack of unlimited funds requires me to choose wisely!

    February 24, 2014
    • It can be so hard to choose can’t it? If I’m revisiting an old favourite then I usually try to combine it with somewhere new as well to get the most out of one trip.

      February 24, 2014
  4. How very true! I am always tempted to return to favourite travel destinations, but I love the thrill of arriving in an unknown city and getting to explore.

    Lindsay,
    http://www.fatfreefashion.com

    February 24, 2014
    • It’s such a tough decision isn’t it! Ideally I’d do both but it can be hard to fit them both in.

      February 24, 2014
  5. I head to Prince Edward Island (PEI) most summers. Renting a cottage there in summer was a big part of my childhood and my husband and I have kept that tradition alive. Canada’s east coast is a great summer destination/road trip. Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland….gorgeous locales with equally delicious seafood.

    February 24, 2014
    • I’m so excited to plan my Canadian trip, only just starting to look into the destinations out there but it looks like such a beautiful part of the world! I love the idea of your summer tradition too, what a great thing to carry on.

      February 24, 2014
  6. A timely post Lucy – I’d love to go back to Iceland and discover more – 3 days wasn’t enough. I may be going to New York with work later in the year so it’ll be lovely to see it again after 19 years! After looking like a quiet year travel-wise things are picking up! Where in Canada are you going?

    February 24, 2014
    • I’d love to see more of Iceland too, mine was a three-day trip as well and a few years ago now. So hard to prioritise the places you want to visit though! Canada has been high on my wish list for years now so excited to finally make it – plans still quite vague for now but hope to explore Quebec and maybe into Nova Scotia.

      February 24, 2014
  7. I think NY State and NYC is one of the only places I have revisited (aside from places super close to home, such as short stays in New Orleans, usually just a night). I do keep wanting to go back to San Francisco, though. I so loved the Bay Area. Also, if I could afford the airfare, I’d go back to Nice, France again and again after having spent 5 weeks there.

    February 24, 2014
    • The South of France is lovely, I definitely need to get back out there again, though it’s a lot closer to me which makes it easier! Jealous of you for having New Orleans so close though, I’ve always wanted to visit.

      February 24, 2014
    • You won’t regret it if you make one of your trips to New Orleans!

      February 24, 2014
    • Next time my husband has to go to Vegas for work I’m definitely going to tie a New Orleans trip in on the way home!

      February 24, 2014
  8. You must have written this on the train home, Lucy? :) Did you have a good weekend and what did you make of Newcastle?

    February 24, 2014
    • I was up early this morning Jo so did it first thing! I had a fantastic weekend (full post to come soon) – very inspiring and great to meet lots of bloggers. Didn’t have too much time to see Newcastle itself but it’s got me excited for spending more time in the region in September.

      February 24, 2014
  9. Somehow I keep ending up in Edinburgh :-D I do love visiting new places though. The only confirmed travel plan I have for this year is Vienna… I’ve been there before, but this time it will hopefully be a bit warmer!

    February 24, 2014
    • It’s funny how some places you just keep finding yourself in! Mine is definitely France, I’ve been more times that I can count. I’m off to Vienna later this year too for the first time, so am joining you in hoping for good weather.

      February 24, 2014
  10. That’s so true! I find that spending time away from those favorites for a year or two makes the revisit all the more exciting and refreshing.

    February 24, 2014
    • That’s very true – and especially with cities I find that they can change so much, like I visited the High Line on my last trip to New York which wasn’t there the time before.

      February 24, 2014
  11. I try to visit 1-2 new places a year, but I mostly return to my favorite places over and over. I’ve been to Argentina almost 20X, China 5X, and Australia 3X.

    February 24, 2014
    • It’s so tempting to go back when you find somewhere you love and really get to know it and feel at home. Paris is definitely that place for me, but I have to push myself to keep looking out for the next amazing place too!

      February 24, 2014
  12. Your plans sound amazing – can’t wait to read about them :) I definitely agree though – as soon as I tell someone I’m planning to go somewhere, my plans change all together!

    It is definitely difficult striking the right balance – I have been revisiting countries in the last few years, but rarely seeing the same cities. I find it hard to justify going back to cities I love when there are so many I haven’t seen that I might love more!

    P.S. that’s a gorgeous globe in the photo – one of your own?

    February 24, 2014
    • The one bonus of a change of plans is that I get to do more planning! Know very little about Eastern Canada so am looking forward to finding out more about it.
      p.s. Sadly it’s not my globe, I’ve been on the lookout for one of my own for ages but they are hard to find (other than in scarily priced antique shops!)

      February 24, 2014
  13. Life’s too short to start repeating destinations before seeing all the other ones first, but if I could add about 300 years to my life, I would head directly back to New Zealand, Stockholm, Italy and Croatia.

    February 24, 2014
    • I do try to mostly spend my time and money on new destinations but I do like to get to know some places more deeply over a few visits – mostly places nearby or when I can combine them with a new destination though.

      February 24, 2014
  14. thetrustedtraveller #

    I am absolutely with about New York. Everytime I think about it I get excited butterfly’s in my stomach. I can’t wait to go back some day hopefully this time in winter. As for the place I keep visiting over and over and am never get enough of that would be Singapore. It’s a constantly changing city with new things to see, do and discover each time I have been back. Mentally planning my next trip there soon!

    February 24, 2014
    • I’ve only been to Singapore once and that was about 12 years ago so I am more than due a repeat trip – Southeast Asia is a part of the world that I really love and I’m definitely feeling the pull to get back there again soon!

      February 24, 2014
  15. Paula #

    I went to cape cod last summer, we visited wellfleet! It was like stepping back to the 1950’s, we even had a look at the drive in movie theatre. We stayed in provincetown , everywhere was just beautiful!! I want to go back and explore. I agree with your article so much, limited funds and annual leave means picking wisely, I’d hate to be disappointed on future holidays, in recent years I’ve been underwhelmed by Cuba and Spain, I’m sure they’re great countries and a lot of tourists love them but my experiences mean I’m unlikely to try again. Now cape cod on the other hand!…

    February 25, 2014
    • I’m so excited to go back to Wellfleet and see how it’s changed over the last 15 years (probably not too much I’d guess!) and to see more of Cape Cod. It’s always a risk trying out new places isn’t it? Most destinations I’ve enjoyed but there are a couple that just didn’t work for me either.

      February 25, 2014
  16. So many of these thoughts ring true for me too, Lucy. You are spot on! There is definitely a balance that needs to be struck and while I am currently in the mindset of seeing new places and trying new experiences, some of my old travel loves find themselves back on the itinerary from time to time. I find putting a little time between visits typically allows for a new perspective and experience – looks like you’ll be doing that with NYC and Cape Cod. Sedona and the Cape are two of my old loves as well! I would put Ireland at the top of my list of places to return to – I don’t think I could ever get enough! Let me know if you happen to travel through Boston on your way to the Cape!

    February 25, 2014
    • So agree that with a bit of time between visits it can feel like a different place – it’s been 15 years since I was in Cape Cod and it’ll be different experiencing it on a holiday as opposed to working there. Looking forward to seeing what’s changed though and if there’s anything I recognise. We do plan to stop off in Boston on the way too so will let you know!

      February 25, 2014
  17. So pleased you are planning to visit Canada. What part? I wrote about the west coast of Vancouver Island on my recent blog. http://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/tofino-get-away/ Wherever you go, you will enjoy it. I also love to see new places but occasionally revisit a much loved spot.

    February 25, 2014
    • I’m so glad to finally be making it to Canada too, I’ve been wanting to visit for so long! This trip it looks like it’ll be the east coast – Quebec and maybe Nova Scotia – but I would love to come out to the west too and see Vancouver and the Rockies, but that might have to wait until next time.

      February 25, 2014
  18. Great post, Lucy! I actually wrote something similar to this a few weeks ago when I was struggling with choosing between two places in the coming months: do we return to a place we know we love and have been wanting to return to pretty much since the day we left, or do we strike out to new places and keep on exploring? The decision really tore me up, but in the end we decided to try something new. The world is so big and there are so many places I want to explore, it just makes it so hard! As far as decisions and problems go, I get that this isn’t exactly a bad one to have, but still! If only we could be in two places at once, right?

    February 25, 2014
    • Exactly – if I could clone myself and do both at once that’d be perfect! It can be so tough to decide when you want to do both, but generally if it comes down to it I end up going to the new place too.

      February 25, 2014
  19. I am usually drawn to the next place, but I have been to Guatemala twice. There is something special about Lake Atitlan and Antigua, plus it is close to the USA and cheap.

    February 25, 2014
    • I would love to visit Guatemala and Belize so can entirely understand you being drawn back there – unfortunately it’s a big harder and pricier to get to from the UK but I will make it out there someday.

      February 25, 2014
  20. If only we could be in more than one place at the same time :) So many places to see (and return to) and definitely not enough time!

    February 25, 2014
    • So true – the travel wish list grows faster than I tick things off too!

      February 26, 2014
  21. You’re so right about travel plans changing the moment you hit ‘publish’. Mine have already changed quite a few times since I wrote about my 2014 plans. However, I quite like that – it keeps me on my toes and keeps things exciting!

    I’m not one for going back to the same destination (at least not year on year anyway). There are so many places that I want to see. My list seems to be ever growing (shame I can’t say the same about my savings!).

    I hope you have a lovely time in Canada. It’s definitely one of the places on my ‘must see’ list.

    February 25, 2014
    • Yes it’s nice to have a few surprises, as well as having plans to look forward to! I’m so glad that it means I can squeeze in a trip to Canada this year, though I suspect it’ll start off a huge list of other places I want to see out there!

      February 26, 2014
  22. Great post!

    I find myself always wanting to go back to New Zealand. I’ve visited this amazing country twice now and it’s in my heart. I love it and am itching to go back!

    Vancouver is another place that I’d love to go back to. That city has an amazing vibe!

    February 25, 2014
    • Thanks, I loved New Zealand too – unfortunately as it’s so far and expensive to get to from the UK I doubt I’ll make it back there anytime soon. Vancouver is high on my wish list too, I’ve heard so many good things about it!

      February 26, 2014
  23. New York is great, unfortunately I have only been there once and that was in my early teenage years, so it’s quite a while ago.

    I fell deeply in love with Bangkok ten and a half years ago. I stopped over in Thailand’s capital on my way to and from New Zealand, both times for a few days. In the meantime I have been to Bangkok about ten times and started to choose it as my starting respectively finishing point for trips across Thailand and other asian destinations. It is still a huge love for me, but I found new loves as well, Dubai, for example. I absolutely love this city and try to stopover there on my way to Asia anytime when it is possible. And after an initial culture shock which I experienced during my first visit there in April 2013 I was blown away by Beijing – but also by China in general -, so much that I went back six months later. Fortunately the Middle Kingdom is huge and there are loads of places which I haven’t discovered yet, so I hope it stays exciting for a long time and for many more visits. I could go back in a heartbeat.

    February 25, 2014
    • I spent quite a bit of time in Bangkok during my Asian travels too, it’s been 10 years since I was last there though and would love to see how it’s changed since. Hoping to make it out to Dubai for the first time soon too. Both are such good hubs for onward travel it’s a great way to combine a visit to an old favourite with new destinations too.

      February 26, 2014
  24. Reblogged this on A Reach For Glory.

    February 26, 2014
  25. madeleinedeaton #

    Sometimes I have such an amazing experience in a particular destination that I’m almost a bit scared to go back in case I ruin it. We’ve literally just come back from a second visit to New York and I’m so happy that I’m still head over heels with it. Paris is the same for me too, I’ve been so many times but there is still so much out there to discover.

    February 27, 2014
    • We obviously have the same good taste in cities! There’s a lot of places in Asia that I loved though but don’t think I’d want to go back to as it’s been over 10 years and I’ve read that they changed a lot, so it might ruin the good memories I had of them.

      February 28, 2014
  26. Hi Lucy,
    I definitely know what you mean about always going back to the same haunts. I spend most of my time catching up with friends in; London, Milan, Barcelona, Berlin, shanghai, LA, NY, Melbourne! But this year I’m going to Tanzania and I’m so excited to be testing new waters :) Enjoy Canada! I have only been to Toronto which was lovely but I hope to get back there one day. Bernessa

    February 28, 2014
    • Thanks Bernessa – yes having friends somewhere is a good reason to go back to a place, and very jealous of the great places your friends are in! Enjoy Tanzania too.

      February 28, 2014
  27. I love revisiting old places just like you! Paris, Warsaw, Barcelona, Penang and Singapore are some of my favourites! I do love exploring new places too, so when I’m doing a long travel, I try to visit one of the old places too, which what I’ll be doing soon to Thailand (a new country) and Singapore (an old love). A great article I can definitely relate to!

    March 3, 2014
    • That sounds very similar to my approach – a bit of the old in with some of the new! There are so many places I want to see but I do still like to go back and dig deeper into some favourite destinations on repeat visits.

      March 3, 2014
  28. Nice post, again! We have the habit, when we find somewhere we love, of going back a few times in rapid succession. I seem to feel less pressure to see everything on a trip somewhere new if I know we’ll go back soon. So, for example, we went to Jersey three times in less than a year. I would still like to go again but those three trips mean that I now feel ready for somewhere new. A fourth visit to Jersey will happen but not soon. This year started with Western Australia, then the Gironde for me last month (the others went skiing). Next month we’re off to Newquay for surfing over Easter. Then an adults only UK road trip in our vintage VW camper van in May. The Canadian Maritime provinces are top of the leader board for our July trip. Then Dorset in August. And maybe New York again in October. Phew! Not as thrilling as your list but I’m excited!

    March 3, 2014
    • Thanks, I agree with you about there being less pressure if you know you’ll be back – I go to Paris a lot and usually have one big touristy thing I want to do and the rest of the time I’m happy to just wander around and see what I come across.

      Sounds like you have a good year coming up – New York and Dorset are a couple that I love and have been back to again and again, and the Canadian Maritimes might be part of my trip out there so will be interested to see how you get on!

      March 3, 2014
  29. Thailand is my first destination on the top ten places I want to go to!! :) Great post and cool blog!! :)
    Ottavia
    thejourneyportfolio.com

    March 4, 2014
    • Thailand is a fantastic country – such beautiful scenery and the people are so lovely. Hope you get to make it out there soon.

      March 6, 2014
  30. I’m always drawn to Greece for a proper holiday. I don’t think that will ever change. And Venice is one city I am always planning to return to – fingers crossed for a day trip there later this year from Croatia.

    March 6, 2014
    • I’ve only been to Greece once, a long time ago, but all your posts have made me want to get out there again and explore some of the islands. Maybe next year!

      March 6, 2014
  31. This post resonates with me, as I’ve had many conversations about the topic with friends on and offline. I have a number of cities that are favorites and I just HAVE TO visit them from time to time to keep my sanity intact! These are Paris, San Francisco, and my hometown Krakow. But like you said, there has to be balance. After all, as travelers we like to explore new places. That’s how I fell for Buenos Aires, for instance. Great post, Lucy!

    March 7, 2014
    • Thanks Pola – a balance is definitely the key, I love going back to old favourites but you never know which new destination might capture your imagination too.

      March 16, 2014
  32. There’s just not enough time, is there? I go through the same thing — thinking about all the new places I want to go, but craving return trips to the places I love. NYC is one of those old loves for me, too. I can’t get enough. We try to balance our travel with old and new, too. It works for us — I just need more time!

    March 8, 2014
    • So true Cathy, there’s never enough time to fit everything in!

      March 16, 2014
  33. Fantastic post. I have a “geographic to-do list” that seems to never end. I want to see everything! So I’m usually going to new places on every trip, but there are a few repeats. I’ve been to Berlin and Frankfurt several times because there’s always something interesting going on, and London is for me what New York seems to be for you: I’ve been back over and over and can’t get enough of it.

    March 13, 2014
    • It’s funny how certain places really capture your heart and keep you coming back – and sometimes it’s not the ones that you’d imagine!

      March 16, 2014

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