Traveling the world — or not?

Beach house near Santa Barbara
We’ll be returning to this beach cottage for the sixth time this summer.

When you go on vacation, do you like to return to the same place — or do you like to explore new areas?

I read a Wall Street Journal story called: “The Joy of Traveling to the Same Places Again and Again.” It’s written by novelist Tara Isabella Burton who wanted to travel everywhere when she was in her 20s. Now, that she’s older and married, she longs to go back to the cities and regions she loves deeply.

WHEN I WAS young I wanted to go everywhere. I had notebooks’ worth of lists: half-imagined, half-researched, of all the places I would fly off to without warning. It was easy for me to travel—I went to university in England during the golden age of budget European airlines. I could buy flights from London to Slovakia or Italy for under $10, or student-fare Eurostar tickets to Paris for $25. I would spend 4½ dreary and bleary-eyed hours on the bus from Oxford to London Stansted to catch a morning flight for a $50 weekend in Istanbul or Marrakech. I had a sense of myself as someone with wanderlust, an inchoate desire to be anywhere but where I was. Raised eclectically—I barely knew my Italian father; my American mother changed our home base with the school year—I gloried in the fact that I was never at home, anywhere. And so, there was nothing to keep me still.

She goes on to say that she began to fall in love with certain areas and made friends. She’s pulled these days to traveling to those few locations.

I like to return to the same place for vacation. We spent two decades vacationing in Laguna Beach in the summer. Lately, it’s been the Santa Barbara area. We have friends there, restaurants and beaches we love. It’s like going to my happy place. We also like to visit Park City — another place with friends and natural beauty.

My memories as a child are vacationing at our cabin, Ocean Shores and Sun Valley, Idaho for skiing. We went to a few more places like the once in a lifetime big trip to Hawaii and the road trip to Disneyland. But for the most part, vacations were in the same few places and in the same hotels or condos.

I think there’s a certain comfort in returning to places we love. When traveling to somewhere new, I’m a little anxious, while returning to the places I love feels like going home.

What are your thoughts about traveling to new places, versus returning to places over and over again?

24 thoughts on “Traveling the world — or not?

  1. Pretty certain Cupcake and I will not agree on this one, but as I get older, I like to visit the same places. Mostly because if I enjoyed it the first time, good chances I will enjoy it the second, AND, it will no doubt invoke positive memories, and heaven freaking knows we all need some positivity in our lives these day.

  2. I’m not sure I’ve been enough places yet to satisfy my sense of wander wonder. But I do have a few favorite places to which I never mind returning.

  3. I understand a level of comfort in returning to the same place, especially if there are good memories associated. I would like to see new and different places though and have the opportunity to learn what might make those places special as well. If they are less than interesting then there’s always another choice waiting.

    • That makes sense. I think I find comfort in vacationing in the same places because we moved out of state a little over a year ago and everything here is new to me.

  4. Every September for 21 years we went to a golf tournament in Boulder Creek, California. We were there for 3 days/2 nights and it was wonderful. I called the group our September Family because with a couple exceptions, we didn’t see each other the rest of the year. Two years ago there was a huge fire and the area was destroyed. The guys managed to get a tournament together locally but there was also COVID so there were no get-togethers. This last September there wasn’t even a tournament and it felt so strange. That looks like a great place to stay.

    • That’s devastating about the fire! I hope you find another place to hold the tournament and get together. Yes, we like this small cottage outside Santa Barbara. You walk through the front door into the bedroom. Upstairs is the living room, small kitchen and bathroom. That’s it! Works for us and there’s a hide-a-bed when our kids come to visit.

  5. My husband is right! I like novelty but I enjoy old comforts which is why we made the trip to the Catskills. I wish my husband had the opportunity to see my aunt’s home in West Hampton before she sold. So many great memories. But yes, I love to find new places even if we go by a slow boat or train.

  6. I’m with cupcake, I like novelty but I enjoy the comforts and familiarity of our beloved lake house which we return to frequently and never fails to charm me. It harbors so many memories of my children growing up through the years and now my grandchildren! 💕C

  7. What a fantastic question! I know that in some places in Europe, every year they take a month off and go to the same place with their families that their parents took them and they are now taking their kids. Talk about relishing familiarity as the key to a good vacation!

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