Visit a Place Twice and Learn Something New

by Sojourner

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To visit a place twice, whether a city or country, is like a second date. You may need the extra time to feel that spark…or decide to let it burn out.

Every now and again, there are a few places I see too quickly, have sites I didn’t know about at the time, or I can’t explore the place like I had hoped due to traveling with other people. When I did my favorite trips of 2017, those were key factors into why some places didn’t make the cut.

There is beauty in visiting a place you liked, or didn’t like, again. You learn and see more, maybe decide it is just not for you, or have a whole new appreciation for the destination. It all depends. After reflecting on my own travels, here are a few reasons why you should visit a place twice, including cities that I need to give a second chance.

To Try a New Living Arrangement
Location: Athens, Greece

Sometimes, our bad travel experiences are situational. I already know I want to go back to Greece one day, because it’s most definitely a location worth another trip. That’s a no-brainer. But I feel like my Athens experience was particularly sour because of my creepy hostel staff, and excessive catcallers around said hostel. Next time, I’ll know where and where not to book. Athens deserves better and I don’t want that one hostel experience to define it forever.

To Learn Their History (And Maybe More of Yours Too)
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

As an African Diaspora-American traveler, black history is everywhere and I kick myself for not doing more research on it while in Amsterdam. After my trip, I learned there is a Black Amsterdam tour, and a Black Europe summer school in Amsterdam, that I would have loved to attend. When you visit a place twice you may find out there’s more to do, beyond the tourist attractions. That’s the plan for my second trip! I did write about my 48 touristy hours in Amsterdam, you can check it out here!

To Have a More Open Adventure
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Contrary to Athens, I fell in love with Lisbon in December 2016. It was actually my 2nd time in Portugal, and I returned because I had only experienced the party side in Lagos. I wanted to see more so I did a whirlwind trip to Lisbon, Sintra, and Porto, in 4 days. I wanted to cram in as much Portugal as possible. The trams, the colorful streets, and laid back vibe, combined with the best nightlife I’ve experienced in Europe, makes Portugal the most underrated country in Western Europe (at least in my opinion). Next time I visit a place a twice, I want to go to Lisbon without a real plan and just wander.

To See The City Beyond Their Airport
Location: Bilbao, Spain (Honorable Mention: Madrid, Spain)

Due to living outside a big city or to maximize time, fast travelers can miss the beauty of places we use for transportation purposes. Sometimes we rush through a location, trying to get to another, without appreciating where we are. Though I’ve wandered through the streets of Bilbao, it is still one of those locations. I’ve been in and out of Bilbao and Madrid more times than I can count, the latter having an airport I’ve slept in way too much. Northern Spain is often overlooked, and I hope to return one day to stay for longer than a speed walk to catch a bus back to my (temporary) home.


Why Visit a Place Twice? To See How Much You’ve Grown
Location: Wherever You’ve Been

Cities and countries are changing every single day. When I returned to Granada, over 2 years after studying abroad there, it felt different. This isn’t because Granada went through a grand revitalization. In fact it looked exactly the same! The vibe was different, because I was different. I wasn’t the bright-eyed and bushy tailed 20-year old who had never traveled outside the U.S. I didn’t have the same friends around, nor was I a student. I had changed, thus my perspective had changed. And for that, I’m glad.

Going to a place you’ve already been reminds you of who you were. If your first experience didn’t totally kill your faith in that location, go back to wherever you’ve been. Growth is imminent and change is constant. You never know what piece of you, you left behind.


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