The world is far too stunning to have the time to visit each place twice, but visiting somewhere twice is often worth the effort.
The first time you step foot in a new country or city you usually have some kind of idea of what you’re in for. You’ve had others tell you what to expect, read some tips for the area, and generally know what attractions you want to see.
Your first trip to somewhere new is filled with expectations…sometimes not, but more often than not it is. You’ve spent hours dreaming of your trip, your excitement is built up, and you think only of the good things to happen.
But there are negative aspects of every country, of every city, and of every trip. Some people will let these aspects get to them and ruin their trip. Others will brush it off, but still it may have thrown them off a bit.
My first time in Paris I was beyond excited. At 17 I was on a group tour with my school and had Paris at the top of my list of places to see. I dreamed of the picturesque shots from films, and had myself so worked up to see how perfect it was that I only left myself disappointed.
Did it ruin my trip? Absolutely not. But the strongest memory I have from that trip was the first 10 minutes I saw of Paris through the bus window. We were driving slowly through the streets and I remember looking down and seeing garbage. Not just a little, but a lot of garbage. Could it have just have been that area? Yes, but I don’t now for sure. Still, the Paris I thought of didn’t have that much garbage.
All I remember was being utterly disappointed. And it was such a small, stupid thing that threw me off.
I still have other great memories from the trip, but I let my first impression weaken my other memories because I came in with my expectations too high.
This happens too often with the first time we travel to a new place.
But the second time I went to Paris 4 years later, again with a group tour, I had zero expectations and found myself falling in love with the city. I started appreciating the little things the city had to offer, and not just the grand ideas that everyone has of Paris like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame.
There was no pressure to go and see all the tourist attractions because I had already seen them. I was more relaxed, took my time, and enjoyed just being in the city. That, I think, is a great way to travel. Not just tourist attractions and stuffing your face with the most delicious food, but just being content in a city not doing anything. And you bet I saw some of the same things. And they were just as spectacular the second time, if not even more so.
This is not to say that this can’t happen the first time you visit a new place. But I think that the emotions, the attachment to the city, and the love for the city or country grows so much stronger the second time you go.
The first time gives you the rush, and the second time gives you the joy, and the passion.
The second time is not littered with expectations, with ideas of what things will look like, or dreams. The second time is when you begin to explore the real side of the city of country, it’s when you come in without a plan or a checklist.
The second time is almost always the better time.
Do I want to return to every city I’ve been to? Absolutely not. And are there city’s I want to return to that I fell in love with the first time? Yes, because I know I will only fall more in love with them the second time I go.
The first time is like a first date that you got overly excited for. The second time is the honeymoon phase of the relationship. You know you’re happy with the place and you just spend your time being that – happy. It’s like losing your virginity…it only gets better after that first time. And that is why you should visit the same destination twice (or more).