Despite the title of this post, the idea of revisiting a favourite travel destination isn’t something I am entirely comfortable to be honest. Being the pessimist I am, I wonder (worry) that a return visit to a favourite spot wouldn’t be as good the second time around, and whether that second visit and subsequent experiences would tarnish the treasured memories from my initial trip.
However, now that my good buddy Chris from Make New Tracks has nominated me to take part in Booked.net – Top Destinations to Go There campaign, its seems that the time is upon me to faces those fears and really dig deep to identify which destinations I would dare to visit again. Here goes …
Sydney – Australia
After all my winging in that opening paragraph, its an easy one to start with as Sydney is one place I have already revisited, and would revisit over and over to be honest. I fell for Sydney hard, and I would move there in a second given half a chance.
Similar to Barcelona I guess, a huge draw with Sydney was the city-beach combination. Unlike most people who seem to head straight for the beach mecca of Bondi, I was actually a huge fan of Coogee, and even Bronti over Bondi. Still, all the beaches were great in their own way, and the path between them all made for an incredible coastal walk.
Back in the city centre, I loved the public parks and their huge screens showing the Ashes. There always seemed to be some kind of festival on, and whilst I walked most of the time, when called upon the public transport was decent.
Along with the Barcelona comparison, I found Sydney also a bit like London in the sense that there was always something to do, but it always just felt that bit more laid back, relaxed … and warm.
Maybe that’s Sydney’s charm, it’s got the best bits of all my favourite other cities rolled into one.
New York – USA
It was pretty much a year ago to the day that I set out to New York for the first time. What followed was 3 intense days of sight seeing, the compilation of an NYC A-Z , and almost of full 12 months of just wanting to do it all over again.
Its weird, no other destination I can think of has had me wanting to revisit again so soon, let alone ever. I just felt totally at home in NYC, and whilst a few things about the city surprised me, they were mostly good surprises and just added to the attraction.
I’d love to go back and ride the staten ferry again, climb to the Top Of The Rock, walk the Highline and then spend a sun-soaked day at Coney Island. Additionally I’ve love to take in a show on Broadway, scale the Empire State Building, see a basketball game at Madison Sq Garden.
I crammed so much into those 3 days, but there is still so much more to see and do in NYC. Take me back!
Luang Prabang – Loas
Ah Luang Prabang, and the best birthday/new years celebrations I’ve ever experienced.
As I wrote in a post last week, I have never really been one for birthdays or celebrating new years, they just don’t do it for me for some reason. But, back in 2013 when I was spending some time in Luang Prabang with my better half, all of a sudden it all just came together. Riding in a tuk tuk from the bus station on the outskirts of town to our guesthouse, bleary eyed and if I’m honest, probably smelling non too fresh after a 4-5 hour journey cramped up in the back of a mini van from Vang Vieng, all of a sudden I was participating in an impromptu wet t-shirt competition with everyone else in the tuk tuk, courtesy of some locals who had slung buckets and buckets worth of water through the exposed sides of our ride. It certainly woke me up, and probably made my a bit more bearable smell wise, but more than that it was the start of a very special few days in Luang Prabang celebrating Songkran, and even discovering huge great waterfalls. Those were days I would happily live out again.
Las Vegas – USA
A second entry for the USA, but whereas I was fortunate enough to visit NYC just last year, Vegas has eluded me for some 15 odd years now, and I think it’s about time I returned.
Having seen friends attend weddings in Vegas, and hearing stories from others simply flying over for a long weekend (now that you can fly direct from Heathrow) Vegas has slowly crept up the list of places I want to visit now I am of age. What I mean by that is, the last (and only) time I visited Vegas previous I was only 14 or 15. Whilst there is still loads to do in Vegas for young teenagers, I think we can all agree that there is even more to do as someone who is over 21.
For 1, gambling could be fun. I don’t have thousands to wax, but trying my hand at blackjack or roulette for a night could be fun. Post losing money to the house, I could drown my sorrows in one of the Vegas superclubs which also look a lot of fun. Also since I visited Vegas as a teenager, the Skywalk at the Grand Canyon has been constructed, and I’d love to stand on the platform and take in the canyon from there.
As with NYC, I’ve already seen so much of Vegas, but there still remains a whole lot more … especially now I am older and have ID.
Sri Lanka (all of it)
Ah Sri Lanka, probably the destination I yearn to revisit most of all, but also the one I am most scared to. To date, Sri Lanka remains one of, if not my favourite country I have ever visited.
Sri Lanka ‘the return’ has been on the wishlist for a while now owing to the incredible 7 weeks I spent there at the start of my gap year back in 2007, but truth be told I am prettified of booking the flights for the exact reasons I outlined in the opening paragraph to this post. I worry how it might have changed from the country I fell for just a few short years ago, and that now the war is over (which is obvs a good thing), I wonder how the inevitable increase in tourism might have seen those quiet, sometimes deserted spots I used to have all to myself, turn into a swarming mass of crowds now paying extortionate entry fees. Yes it’s totally selfish of me, but unlike most things I refuse to feel guilty over this one.
I also worry that I might have changed so that I will not love it as much, that if I were to return simply as a tourist rather than a volunteer, would not getting to see old haunts accompanied by old friends ruin the return? I was so lucky in meeting some great locals through the school I was working out. I was invited to dinners, football games, for beers, and evening to a wedding because of the people I met through working at the school. Returning as ‘just’ a tourist might see those essentially experiences missing next time around, if I am unable to reconnect with old friends.
As per usual, maybe I am being too much of a worry wart about the whole thing, and maybe I should look at the positives of a return i.e. getting to see parts of the country which were not open to me last time around due to the conflicts. It would be awesome to head north, past the cultural triangle, or out east to the surfing hot spot of Arugam Bay … although I’m probably not in any shape to go surfing anymore, but I could watch from a palm tree strung hammock with Lion beer in hand.
So what do you think? Should I go back?
It won’t happen in 2014 (I’m out of annual leave), but maybe in 2015 I’ll pluck up the courage … maybe.
Right, so as per the rules, now I have had my say I am now to nominate 5 other bloggers to share their top 5 destinations they would choose return to. My nominations are as follows …
1. Jodie @ thelittlebackpacker.com
2. John @ continentalbreakfasttravel.com
3. Naomi @ todds-travels.com
4. Beth @ recipeforadventures.com
5. Kami @ mywanderlust.pl