A Travellerspoint blog

Would you go back? - updated

Solo Travel

Have you noticed on return from your trip abroad people ask, "Would you go back?" It is as if your response lets them gauge the extent to which you enjoyed your holiday or not. If you answer 'no', it will be considered a disaster. By replying positively on the other hand, you manage to convince the listener you loved your trip.

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Street musician in Marrakesh

Those who visited New York often have a twinkle in their eye and burst with excitement, as they exclaim ‘I can't wait to go back!'. By uttering this tired phrase, they are delighted they fitted into this cool city. Just like all the others, who fitted in, before them. The naysayers usually go on to rhyme off the reasons their holiday was ruined. There could have been problems with the hotel, including poor food, it was too hot, nobody spoke English, or it was not as cheap as last year. But what about those of us who are in the middle?

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Street art in Kaunas, Lithuania

The spiel I recite when asked the dreaded question goes something like 'There's no reason why I wouldn't go back, but I like to visit different places'. After all I have a burning curiosity about the world and life is short. Of course, many people return to the same destination year after year, simply because they love it. Mainly setting off with friends or family, to rest, catch some rays, sunbathe, have fun, eat and drink.. Friends visit Lanzarote religiously; they are guaranteed the sun, and, it is perfect for their needs. Others can take or leave the holiday abroad, preferring to visit places closer to home.

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Social enterprise in Karachi, Pakistan

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Hvitsen, Norway

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Busker in Sofia, Bulgaria

There are a few countries and cities I have visited more than once, New York was not one of them! These include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland and Serbia. Not so much that I was 'dying to go back', I found myself there for a variety of reasons. Countries are big, if we do return, we can explore other parts, even in the same city.

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Dance competition in Nis Banja, Serbia

There are so many misconceptions about travel. Especially the elements of independent travel, that are clearly misunderstood. Whilst I respect those who enjoy their annual fortnight in the sun and will almost definitely ‘go back’, other travel styles do not fit into the same frame of questions. Maybe it just comes down to the fact that others, are not particularly passionate about travel. Perhaps the dreaded question sums up all they need to know and since any further conversation on the topic is curtailed, it could be that others are not really interested, which is fair enough.

Do not get even me started on that other oft asked banal question, before we begin our jaunt ‘Have you been before?’. Oh yes, this will be my sixth time in Papua New Guinea! One central aspect of independent travel is that urge to visit 'new' countries. It is curiosity and the sheer thrill of stepping into unknown territory, that drives us off the beaten track. Not the quest for cheap booze and a full English breakfast.

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Tagine for lunch, Marrakesh

I feel privileged to visit different countries, meet the citizens, accepting socio-economic conditions and their outcomes as I find them. Quite often masses of tourists cross borders armed with the critical eye, comparing aspects of their travel experience to the luxury of home. Many outside the developing world value high standards of cleanliness and swerve any opportunity that would lead to contact with unpleasant odour. Being obsessive about hygiene may need to be put to one side, especially when visiting the lets say, more primitive toilets, in many third world countries; often encountered at tourist sites. Not boasting the infrastructure taken for granted in far off affluent lands. Of course, you could always check into a 5-star hotel and hide behind the walls of the compound.

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My local cafe in Ho Chi Minh city

I will never forget using a toilet during a rest break on a long bus journey in northern India. I remember squatting in a hut with no lock, bag handles hooked over neck, strategically trying to avoid my culottes dipping into the pool of urine swishing around my feet. At the same time, frantically pushing the door closed with the other hand, whilst a wild pig, obviously in a fetid smell frenzy, rammed its snout repeatedly into the
door. Wish I had a photo!

I am not in any way saying the way I travel is the 'right way', it is only my way. What way do you travel?

I travel due to a strong desire to feed a curiosity that could only be satiated by foreign travel. What about you?

Where was the last place you travelled to? I am not going to ask if you would go back!! But what did you like about it!

Where would you like to go (i know anywhere) when we can travel again?

Posted by katieshevlin62 05:03 Comments (12)

Would you go back?

Solo Travel

Has anyone else noticed when you return from your trip abroad people often ask "Would you go back?" Its almost like your answer will provide a measure of how successful your trip was. Say 'no' and it will be considered a disaster. On the other hand reply 'Oh yes, I'm dying to go back' and you've managed to convince the listener that you loved your holiday. People who have been to New York quite often tell you 'they can't wait to go back'. By uttering these words they are telling you they fitted into this trendy city. Just like all the others, who fitted into it before them. Those who say 'no' usually go on to explain the reasons why they wouldn't return. Whether that be problems in their hotel, including poor food, nobody spoke English or it was expensive. But what about those of us who are in the middle?

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The speil I recite when asked the dreaded question is, 'there's no reason why I wouldn't go back, but I like to visit different places'. After all life is short and I'm curious about the world. Of course, many people travel to a destination and its exactly what they want. They primarily go away to rest, catch some rays, sunbathe, have fun, eat and drink. Some people simply find a destination they love and go back year after year. I have friends who annually visit Lanzarote because they are guaranteed the sun and feel familiar there. Others look forward, year on year, to going away with the extended family to Cyprus. I also know people who can take or leave the annual holiday abroad. We all go abroad for different reasons!

There are a few countries and cities I have visited more than once. These include Bosnia and Herzogovina, The Netherlands and Serbia. It was not so much that I was 'dying to go back' I went to attend celebrations of friends. I also visitied different parts of the countries. I'm not in any way saying the way I travel is the 'right way'. But it's my way. There are so many misconceptions about travel. Especially aspects of solo female travel that are misunderstood. So yes I understand that some people like their two weeks in the sun every year. However, my trips cannot be assessed by asking the dreaded question, it's not as simple as that. Go for it, ask me a direct question about the actual city!

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Another thing I have noticed is that we increasingly live in a world where everything is rated and critiqued. That includes within the travel industry. We have trip advisor, airbnb, booking.com and a whole range of websites. Everything is rated, reviewed and commented on. It's almost like rating is the default mindset of some travellers. I read a travel blog recently about Liechenstein, as I was interested in visitng. The title was 'Liechenstein - The most boring country I have ever visited'. Well sorry honey but the country wasn't built for your enjoyment and leisure. And no it didn't put me off, it made me want to go!

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I feel priviledged to visit other countries, meet the citizens and accept socio-economic conditions and their manifestations as I find them. Quite often Westerner's enter countries with the critical eye and automatically compare aspects of their travel experiences to their lives at home. Or people get disappointed when a natural phenomenon doesn't appear before their eyes. I recently read this review 'I was in Iceland for 5 days and never seen the Northern Lights once!'. The spoiled Westerner syndrome. After all seeing the Northern Lights isn't 'guaranteed in the same way that visiting the Eiffel Tower is! Others constantly rate and compare every single thing they eat, drink, do in a day! The thali wasn't as good as the one yesterday, it was too hot, it wasn't clean, they didn't have wi-fi in the jungle, the buses don't run on time and the list goes on!

Also as mentioned in previous blogs, guide books can breed fearful travellers. Usually after studying the 'dangers and annoyances' section of these books, some people go about waiting to be 'ripped off'. They beleive no one will 'rip them off' and the shoulders get puffed up. The fearful traveller, if also a rater and critiquer, is in for quite a bumpy ride in a developing country. When I started travelling around 30 years ago, in my teens, there were less solo travellers. There are many reasons for this. Personally, I travelled due to a strong desire to feed a curiousity that could only be satiated by foreign travel. Nowadays, however, it's almost like a right of passage that young people will travel. Gap years are increasing for example. So, less about curiousity and more about an expectation and having the resources to do so. I can only talk for young people I know in the UK or have met on my travels, I'm sure everyone has their own reasons.

So where was the last place you travelled/been on holiday? I'm not going to ask if you would go back!! But would like to ask what did you like about the place! And why do you travel?

Posted by katieshevlin62 02:31 Comments (17)

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