White sandy beach in Thailand. We were walking the line where water conquered the dry sand. Again and again. This guy was sitting on a log, reading a book. We quickly identified him as a long-term backpacker, a nomad. Looking at his casual, airy clothes, he was sure to follow the summer while it circled our globe.
His name was Marc, a 25 year old European guy who had been traveling the world for 8 months. He planned to travel for another 4 months, at least. Maybe more. Plans can change right after you make them, that was his motto.
Marc could tell some stories! He discovered so many beautiful places around the world, he carried a backpack full of knowledge and observations. Of course we envied his way of living, his freedom and flexibility. His chances of choosing left or right in the last minute, his possibilities to return to places he loved the most. After listening to some of his great stories, we asked him which place he would definitely go back to someday.
No way I will go back to the same place twice! Marc was quite sure about that…
“Why should I?”
And you know what, I started nodding. I think I agreed with him.
Because I’m afraid of dissapointments.
How many times did a second visit to a place not bring the same excitement?
Is there really something new to discover the second time around?
You carry memories of places you have been to. But how can you possibly know if these places are still the same, carrying the same atmosphere? Can you ever beat the feeling of being overwhelmed for the first time?
Will that specific place you have in mind ever get a second chance to make a first impression?
But let’s be honest, of course we all long to re-visit some places. At the end of your travel, how many times have you promised people that you are sure to return someday?
For multiple reasons we truly do want to return to places:
That shack near the lake where we spent our summers.
Las Vegas where we celebrated our honeymoon (and won thousands of dollars).
Calinfornia to meet up with some old friends to ask for their advice.
The Taj Mahal because they had to drag me away from it the first time.
This bar in Roppongi, Tokyo we still talk about so vividly.
The funny thing is, the wonders of the world are not the places people really want to go back to. It’s the places with the most vivid and specific memories, the ones carrying a history. Closest to that comes home. The places you will return to someday will most of the times have a link to home.
Do you get my point? Let me explain by sharing the place I want to go back to.
I want to go back to Japan to show my children the place where I lived. My temporary home. Part of my history, part of my current life and interests are based on my time in Japan. I learned respect and politeness, punctuality and discovered an amazing culture.
In the small town of Adogawa I rented an apartement. This was not only my home, but also a safe haven in a society that I was desperately trying to understand.
My kids know the stories, they have seen the pictures. But I want to show them where I lived. I want to show them where their father made his first footsteps in becoming a world citizen and an enthusiast of Asian cultures.
Don’t be mistaken. Of course I also want to wander with them through the small alleys of Gion in Kyoto (hoping to bump into a geisha or maiko), visit the Fushimi Inari shrine (where I want to go back to because I never made it up the hill, walking through the almost 10,000 torri or shrine gates) and gaze at the sunlight sparkling on the Golden Temple.
But enough about me, where do you really want to go back to someday?
- Six words can have a lot of impact: Someday I will go back to…. My dear friend Farnoosh from Prolific Living shared her amazing story: Someday I will go back to Iran.