Can You Ever

When I was writing My Love Affair With France, I realized at the end that this was truly a perfect trip.  Nothing actually went wrong nor did we even experience a little blip.  In fact, from flights being on time, to each hotel being unique and welcoming, to perfect weather, to scrumptious food, to ballooning over Burgundy for goodness sakes, to meeting great tourists and locals…this trip was magic.

After that revelation, my mind truly started reeling with questions and I began a whole conversation with myself.  First, it started me thinking how much I’d love to go back to France, which in turn made me ask myself – Should I go back?  Can you ever really duplicate that perfect trip?  Do you even try?  

I had hardly begun to answer these questions in my mind when the conversation continued – What keeps us going back to familiar places when there is such a world to explore?  What are we willing to trade-off?  Is it the exhilaration of the unknown versus the comfort of the familiar and can we still find adventure in the known?

So, I slowed down and went back to the question that started it all:  Can you ever duplicate that perfect trip?

My initial reaction was telling me NO!  It will never be the same and you might even ruin that perfect first time.  Do I want to risk tainting that memory?  Besides, there are so many places I’ve yet to see – New Zealand, Croatia, Japan to name a few – I should do that first before revisiting old vacation spots.  Right?

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Lake Hoya in Japan – site of Ironman Japan. Photo credit Mandarin Journeys.

But, of course, I have been to places multiple times, such as Paris, Tuscany, and Cap Juluca on Anguilla – 4 years in a row in fact.  And, each time has been unique and special and no memories of the previous trips were tarnished.  That said, I have to admit that parts of Tuscany had lost some magic the last time I was there.  The walled cities and castles just were not the same and seemed so touristy; even seeing it with different people.  In San Gimignano, all we did was complain about trying to find a place to park and then it poured rain…

But, while that part of the trip disappointed a bit, I had such a great time being with my girlfriends and taking a cooking class in a Tuscan villa, that the negative aspects of the trip had been repressed until I started writing this post.  In fact, while it poured rain in San Gimignano, we found refuge in a great restaurant, had a lovely lunch, laughed and talked, and then made our way back to the villa for a class on pairing wine with dinner…

That said, I have to admit, going back has never been quite the same as the first visit; they’re totally different experiences.  There’s a big disparity between getting goose bumps at the site of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre to the “been there done that” attitude of seeing a walled city in Tuscany…That initial pure delight when it dawns on you that “OH MY GOD, I’m in f#*$ing Rome” leaves with repeat visits, but, and this is a big BUT –  it’s replaced with a level of comfort and contentment, as if you’re coming home even when you’re on vacation, if that makes sense, that should be cherished.

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It must be Rome…

I’ve come to the conclusion that while I’m not going to try to duplicate a trip, I’m going to keep going back.  If I love an area of the world for the pure pleasure and arousal it gives my senses – whether in its beauty, food, a mile long white sand beach, or the smell of lavender in the air, whatever sparks my love – I’ll go back for that.  I’ll find other adventures to carve in my memory or do nothing but soak in those sights and smells, talk more to the locals and practice my French/Italian, or just have another good laugh or even a cry with my girlfriends…

I don’t have to see the whole world and quite frankly, I don’t want to.  I’m quite content to read about other people’s adventures and soak in the gorgeous pictures of all the incredible travel writers out there.  And, I realized, for me, that’s not such a bad thing…

I can only hope those of you reading this have had the experience of a trip that was pure perfection.  Now, I know, part of the fun of a vacation is the adventure that can often only come from the misadventure, but there is something so blissful about not having that stress, too…

 – SHERRY

ARE YOU A REPEAT OR BEEN THERE DONE THAT KIND OF TRAVELER?