Revisiting a destination is essential to understanding it. Traveling the world is a marvelous thing, but if you’ve only been everywhere once, how can you have a true sense of the nature of any of those places?
Change is one of the few things you can count on in this world. When it comes to destinations, revisiting after a year, or five, ten, even twenty, can be an incredible lesson in what is permanent and what isn’t. What a culture chooses to preserve speaks volumes about that culture, as does what it chooses to demolish. Furthermore, the rate at which technology and commercialism progress is different in different regions; a phenomenon which is fascinating at the very least.
We’ve all had the experience of saying “Oh, I’ve been there,” only to hear that major attractions sprang up in our wake. That’s #1. Here are 10 Reasons You Must Revisit:
1. To see a new attraction.
This was one of the major reasons I chose to revisit Liverpool last year. After attending school there for three years, I revisited to take a look at Liverpool One, the mega-shopping center, as well as the Echo Arena and the burgeoning gastronomic scene. As I wrote in my article Visiting the new Liverpool, it was like a “spaceship [had] landed in the town center.” I could hardly speak about Liverpool with anyone who had lived or traveled there in the past few years if I hadn’t revisited. Its entire town center is completely different, attracting a completely different crowd.2. To check out the new within the old.
Again with example of Liverpool, Albert Dock is a historical site which is constantly in flux. The iconic exterior stays the same, but inside, different shops and restaurants and clubs are always popping up. This is true in most cities with major historical attractions; new things constantly pop up in and around those attractions.
3. To see if your favorite place is still open.
Depending upon how long you’ve waited to revisit a destination, this can be less and less likely to end favorably. Still, it can be heartwarming and oddly rewarding to find your favorite hole-in-the-wall still bumping along successfully; somehow surviving the cold years without you. It makes you feel like you were right.
4. To see what tourism has done.
Even if you went there before it was cool, the tourism industry has a way of spreading itself to even the most remote locations at an exponential rate. For example, heard about all the cruises to Antarctica lately? Unless the place you visited was already a tourist trap, you’re likely to find new shops and establishments catering to tourists when you revisit a place. It’s not always the development you had hoped for, but it is worth seeing what kind of tourism a place you knew now gets.
5. To see what commercialism has done.
Much like with #4, commercialism has an uncanny way of spreading itself. You may find your favorite authentic establishment now serves Coca-Cola — and the locals couldn’t be more proud of it! Seeing a city before the outside world gets in is an amazing thing, but seeing it just after it gets in can be contextually profound. If you wait long enough, commercialism can be a shocking change, even to the way people treat you. It may be sad in some ways, but I prefer to look at it as educational.
6. Because you didn’t like it.
It’s happened to many of us; you have what you consider to be a dreadful time at a destination, only to hear friends come back from the same place with wonderful stories to share. It doesn’t necessarily mean you did it wrong, but you may have had bad luck. If you hate a place, and you’re interested in why it was bad for you and good for others, and you have the time and means, go back. You may be amazed at what you learn about yourself and the destination.
7. Because you loved it.
There are plenty of people out there who go to the same place for a vacation every single year. Many of us consider ourselfes too adventurous to be satisfied with that; unless we are also traveling to new places throughout the year, but there are definitely destinations we’ve all loved and long to return to. Revisiting a place you love can become a very spiritual thing. It becomes a place for you to reset and unwind, but with the comfortability of familiarity.
8. Because you want to show somebody.
Many of us do the bulk of our world-trapsing as singles. It’s just the easiest time in life to get away. Without the ties of love and kids, and that pesky mortgage, you can take off for months at a time if you set your life up for it. But then, when you do find love, and even when you have kids, you may have a love or a kid you think would truly enjoy a place you’ve been. For example, say you’ve been to Vienna, but then you have a child who turns out to be a classical music prodigy — that’s a terrific reason to go back.
9. To visit “in style.”
As time goes on, if we play our cards right (and fate doesn’t have it in for us), we tend to grow more affluent. Thusly, if we visit a place and return there years later, chances are, we can afford to do things we couldn’t before — stay in a fancier hotel, dine at the finest restaurants, indulge in tickets to major cultural events and more.
10. To check in on friends.
It is a special, yet somewhat common experience to meet a local on your travels with whom you stay in touch. Or, even if you don’t stay in touch with them, you can be treated so well by a local shopkeeper or restaurant owner that you swear you’ll return. These promises often fall by the wayside, so this is #10: to check in on friends — or at least people you haven’t forgotten — if only to let them know you haven’t forgotten them. This is an excellent reason to revisit a destination. It may mean even more to them than it means to you.
Have more reasons for revisiting a destination? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.
Photo by Annie Scott on the (temporary) Liverpool Wheel.