The great travel debate — reunite with somewhere you love, or fall in love with somewhere new? — WTTC Travel Hub
Humans have long been described as creatures of habit, but when it comes to travel, we’re also creatures of curiosity — poised to discover the next adventure, culture, or country on our list, if we’re lucky enough to be able to travel.
On the other hand, although in life familiarity can breed contempt, there is something incredibly comforting and alluring about returning to a place you’ve been and loved.
Whether it’s at home or abroad, the nostalgic memories of a much-loved trip can be intoxicating, especially on these difficult days. You find yourself scrolling through old photos and suddenly the smells, sounds, tastes and sights come to life, and for a moment, you’re back there.
And, without a doubt, there are huge benefits to visiting the same place twice. You can be inspired by meaningful travel — getting to know one place well and connect with its people. This can have many additional benefits for you as the traveller, for the local community and for the environment.
The risk-averse among us will rejoice in reuniting with our favourite destinations. You don’t have to figure out the public transport because by now, you’re a pro. Your language is rusty at first, but the basic words slowly filter back to you and before you know it, you’re able to order from the menu at your favourite restaurant — you know what you’re having, but you’ll look at the menu anyway… just in case!
A place I have and will return to again and again is Mexico. Living in Ireland, it had always seemed like a far-off dream, but after relocating to the west coast of Canada for work in my late 20s it suddenly seemed like a plausible holiday option.
I was instantly hooked. I had never experienced a tropical climate before. Coming from a childhood of cold, wet summers splashing in pristine but freezing waters of the North Atlantic I couldn’t believe how warm and inviting the Caribbean Sea was.
The food was a dream, authentic, fresh and bursting with flavour, mango salsa like you’ve never tasted before, the citrusy tang of lime juice with the freshest home-cooked fish, tacos, coriander (or cilantro, if you prefer!) and queso fresco.
Suddenly I could completely understand why someone would want to return here year after year. I remember going to a family-run restaurant on Isla Mujeres and overhearing as the restaurant owner was overjoyed to welcome back an elderly American couple with such familiarity and friendship — only to learn that they had been returning to the same restaurant for 20+ years.
When I was younger, I might have rolled my eyes, but now I understand — it is a great privilege to revisit a place, again and again, reconnecting with a community, culture and landscape you love. Since that first trip I’ve been lucky enough to return to Isla Mujeres, and each time I’ve gone to the same restaurant and watched as the kids have gotten older, the parents have slowed down, and the owner greets his returning customers like old friends. They don’t recognise me yet, but I look forward to the day when I’m welcomed like an old friend, too.
What is one destination you would love to return to? Or are you a die-hard new adventure aficionado? Written by Andrea Gallagher, Experience Design Lead @ World Travel & Tourism Council