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.
Some day I will go back to Okinawa! Actually, I plan on going this fall with my mother for a family reunion – her sisters and brother live there. It’s our birth island and I haven’t been in 10 years. Way too long. Thank you for a beautiful and evocative post!
That is great news Aki! You must be excited! Glad you liked the post and I hope it sparkled your planned visit to Okinawa.
Thanks for the compliments Mark. I am following your blog as Brazil is on our travel list for 2012 and we already had a beautiful trip in 2006 (as you can read on my blog 🙂 Speak to you soon!
“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.”
Stirring words that articulate my unction to go with the wild, and to write the offbeat travel story. Thanks for writing travel well, and without pomp. I look forward to learning and conversing w/you, Emiel
A big reason we want to go back to Asia is to show our children all the amazing places we’ve been lucky enough to see. And I think that it will still be a fresh and exciting experience because this time we will be sharing it with our children and we will be creating powerful family memories.
You will start a big adventure Amy! We have been traveling with our children for a couple of years now, and we strongly believe the investment is so worth it. We are building, as you say, memories that stay for a lifetime. I love it when my children talk about the countries they have visited, or even watch the map of the world and are able to identify countries. They will become global citizens, with an understanding of different people and cultures. Asia is a great place for children, they will love it!
Morocco. I loved it there, and would love to spend more time wandering around at my own pace (the first time D-Man and I went with a group and felt rushed).
Hello Michi, great to see you again! I love Morocco (but you already knew that I guess 🙂
We also traveled with a group 2 times, but indeed felt like the group was withholding us from just wandering around, discovering. Jump over the Street of Gibraltar and off you go!
Exquisite writing, Emiel. You certainly took me back to that beach with you and I do respect that theory a great deal. Your backpacking nomad friend was smart and thought with his mind and not his heart….I envy him.
Great story and please, whatever you do, don’t stop writing. 🙂
Thanks again for the inspiration!
Merci beaucoup Farnoosh, these were intensive days. I will not stop writing, there is so much inspiration out there. Like with your beautiful post on returning to Iran (I call upon everybody to read it), there always comes a time when new inspiration takes your writing to a next or higher level.
Banff, Canada- I took a train from Edmonton to Vancouver with my Grandmother when I was 13 and I remember the green/blue lakes. I want to go back- stop- and walk beside those strange colored lakes nestled below the soaring mountains.
Banff, Canada…I just typed Banff in Google and was surprised by the amazing pictures of these green/blue coloured lakes. I can surely imagine you were quite impressed at only the age of 13. I hope you will visit them again. Thanks for stopping by!