As a rule I don’t like to go back to the same places when I travel – my reasoning is that there are so many amazing things to see and do in the world, revisiting places I’ve already been to is a waste of my limited money and annual leave. But sometimes I go to a place and know that I’ll have to come back one day, whether it’s to see different parts of a country, have an experience I missed the first time around, or just to dip back into a culture that I loved so much. So today I want to talk about all the places I know I’ll go back to someday, and am already excited to revisit.
South Africa was the first place I visited on my gap year – it had been my ex-boyfriend’s suggestion rather than mine and when I arrived feeling exhausted, jet lagged and disorientated I spent about 12 hours thinking I’d made a huge mistake and wishing I could run back home. But the next day I took my first ride on a Cape Town minibus taxi and found out how friendly, approachable and utterly unpretentious South Africans are. I spent a month travelling the Garden Route and being repeatedly reminded of the kindness and good humour that exists in this country, and I know in my bones that I’ll go back one day. I won’t be able to help myself.
Japan is a bizarre country to travel in. The majority of Japanese people are extremely welcoming and accommodating to foreigners and yet you encounter so many culture shocks every day that remind you you’re an outsider; you are simultaneously without and within. I desperately want to go back to Japan, not just because I loved the country and its bizarre culture so much but because I have this feeling that I didn’t make the most of it the first time. There’s also so much more of Japan that I want to see – for various reasons I limited myself to a basic route around Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima, but the next time I visit I’d love to climb Mount Fuji, explore the countryside of Tohoku and scuba dive in Okinawa.
I first went to Budapest last year with one of my old school friends who is my travel partner-in-crime, and I was hooked pretty much from the moment I arrived. It’s one of those cities that felt familiar to me even though I’d never been, somewhere I instinctively felt I could live. It was so easy to stumble upon a cool ruin bar or quirky coffee shop, and the vibe of the city is so laidback and inclusive. Aside from that it’s also ultra-cheap; I can honestly imagine going back to Budapest every five years or so just for a cheap girls weekend away. Plus I missed the spa parties last time I went – devastating.
When I was 16 my parents took my brother and I on an incredible road trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, taking in Death Valley, Yosemite, Santa Barbara and San Francisco along the way and throwing in a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon for good measure. As amazing as this holiday was, your experiences of places as a child are always so different to what your adult experience would be, and I would love to do at least part of this trip again in my twenties now that I’m of legal drinking/driving/gambling age. I might not have the funds to do it in such a show-stopping way, but a road trip along the California coast with a convertible and a group of friends finished off with a couple of nights in Sin City sounds like the ultimate American Dream.
Image credit: Anirudh Rao on Flickr.
I have serious unfinished business with New Zealand. The first time around I undertook the somewhat ambitious challenge of seeing the best of both islands in one month, relying completely on public transport. I stand by that decision – I’d just spent 2 months driving the full length of Australia’s east coast in a van I was living in and the thought of another month behind a wheel made me feel exhausted – but I know I missed a lot of New Zealand’s highlights by not having my own ride. Next time I’ll hire a car and get to all the natural wonders I couldn’t reach by bus; Mount Cook, Tongariro and Milford Sound being top of my list.
What do you think about revisiting places – waste of time or a great way to develop your understanding of a destination? What places would you love to return to?