I have a very strict “no repeat” rule when it comes to travel. My travel to-do list is ridiculously long and even with my generous (by American standards) vacation time, it’s just not enough. Also, traveling is expensive. I like a mid-range budget holiday, not $50/day and not $500/day. But having the flexibility of splurging on that one “thing” i want to do or experience (hello, dog sledding!?!) is important to me. To be blunt, I have a hard time spending cash to go someplace that i’ve already been.
Recently, in the throw’s of planning a big trip, it’s been suggested that i need to “go back” to certain vacation destinations for a redux. Specifically South Africa so i could pursue my new found desire to cage dive with sharks. I wish i had thought of this 8 years ago when i was there. But i didn’t.
After i argued my case, i shut up long enough to hear my friend out. His point was, having been somewhere once you know what to expect and it becomes more fun. I see where he’s going but i don’t buy it. Once you’ve been somewhere, you are trying to “re-live” the first experiences. To make them as unique and novel as the first time. Or you are retracing your steps, not going to new places but instead spending your day trying to find that one coffee shop in Paris. Sorry, not for me. Why? See my first paragraph.
Yes, when i go somewhere it’s pretty much “all in.” I’m constantly on the go and it’s not necessarily a vacation where i sleep all day. I’ll sleep when i’m dead. But that’s what i love and that’s what refreshes me personally. I find it exhilarating to explore new cultures, places. That’s the adventure in travel.
I will say i have one exception to this rule: India. India was my first experience in Asia. Boy was i not ready. We hit a bit of turbulence (aka, major riots between tribes in Northern India) and as a result spent a week in Rajasthan. It’s an interesting city but the shops and sites were all closed while we were there. Everyone had to protest and fight. Limited site seeing options and entertainment can put a sour note on your trip. Another unexpected drawback of the insurgence: the highway that gets you to Agra was shut down. So, i flew all the way to India and didn’t get remotely close to the Taj Mahal. My biggest travel disappointment and regret in one vacation. So there you have it. The one clause to my no repeat rule.
As i mentioned, the conversation came up because i’ve been trying to plan a big trip for 2013. Just agreeing on the destination has been a major, major headache. It’s even more frustrating when people try to help by suggesting we go back to certain plans like Italy (2008), South Africa (2004), Iceland, (2010). The planning has, as a result, been slow and arduous. More on that in an upcoming post. Rest assured, it will be a no repeat vacation.