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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

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Comments

I like your toilet description. I've had some weird and unpleasant toilet experiences when travelling but I can honestly say I've never had to fend off a wild pig. Probably not funny at the time but certainly a good story afterwards.

by irenevt

Fend off a pig! Irene I love it!

by katieshevlin62

Yep, I have encountered those questions too and totally understand where you are coming from! I am too one of those who wants to go somewhere different every time.
While you don't have this problem travelling alone, I have to "fight" to have my way. My boyfriend understands but with all the others, choosing the target is not so easy. I will have to be more strict in the future and just say that these are the places in the NO-list, if you want to go there you can go without me :) My friends all know that I like to travel so I get asked to come along a lot :)

I have been in Budapest twice, and am not against going back but as you say, life is short! Albeit I do love the city!
Tallin is also one of the places visited more than once, but that is because it is so near!

I were last in Zurich and I did like it, we had 3 days there and that was not enough time!

Well, if I didn't have money and time to consider, next I would go to Australia! But I do (have the time and money to consider), so Romania, South Korea and Vietnam are in my radar now. All depends on the timing, I am not super keen about Vietnam in rain season :)

How about you, what's next?

by hennaonthetrek

Your toilet episode would put me of going there. Has to going back to somewhere,only Paris, Cologne, and Istanbul,because to use them as a base for trips off. Alec. STAY SAFE.

by alectrevor

Hi Henna thanks for your story. I've been on holiday in the past with boyfriends, they weren't too bothered just tagging along with me. I've had a couple of holidays with friends which were fun and lots of drinking, but I don't drink now.

I was in Tallin a couple of years ago and found it really crowded but a pretty city. Also went over to Helsinki for the day. I'd like see more of Finland.

Wow I'm sure you'll love Romania, South Korea and Vietnam. I'm writing a blog about South Korea just now, it was really interesting.

Not sure where to next. I've never been to South America, only Mexico, so be good to visit there sometime. Have started to really fancy Israel, think I would find that really interesting. Also would love to go to Moldova find all the old Soviet states fascinating. But plenty of time to think these days!!!

Hope all well seems like Finland is doing wel beating corona virus! Great xx

by katieshevlin62

Thanks for your comments Alec, please don't let my toilet trip put you off India! I only remember it because it stood out! It hadn't entered my mind till today when I was writing the blog! Where are you in the world?

by katieshevlin62

I'm totally with you on this :) Whether or not I would return to a place is no gauge of how much I liked it, only of how much I didn't have time to see and do! And even if I did miss a lot I still rarely go back because there are so many other places out there waiting to be seen!

There are exceptions of course - Paris, because it is near and I love it; New York, because it is so huge and the first time we visited we were on too tight a budget to do all that we would have liked; Riga & Tallinn, because I went initially with Virtual Tourist friends and liked them so much I returned the next year with my husband; Gubbio for the same reason. But they are relatively few.

Of course I will return to the same country but a different part - numerous visits to the US and to Italy, several to India. I would like to return to see more of Japan, and of Morocco (I've only been to Marrakesh, another place we've been to twice because I broke my foot 24 hours into our first visit and couldn't really get around!)

As for where next, I feel that may depend on where is possible, as some countries will open up sooner than others. That aside, we had discussed planning trips to Armenia and/or Georgia, to Ethiopia and to the Arctic - the latter might be the easiest to do first, perhaps. I'm also supposed to be going to a VT meet in Chicago in September but I have a feeling that will have to be put back a year :(

by ToonSarah

Thanks Sarah, yeah the Arctic should defo be a goer. x

by katieshevlin62

Oh, crap. I just deleted a long comment...Me and my clumsy hands...

I don't recall Tallin being that crowded, I might have managed to avoid the masses while visiting.

We do have some pretty spots in Finland, a lot of nature :)

Can't wait to read about your trip in South Korea!

South America has also peaked my interest, definitely on my list of must sees!

So far in here things are relatively calm, just have to wait and see.

Hope you are well! Keep safe!

by hennaonthetrek

Thanks for presenting your views and travels, Katie!... Keep well!

by Vic_IV

I thought THE questions was, which place did you like the most? Well, that’s the one I get the most. And it is impossible to answer because every place has something fantastic. Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan and Indonesia are some of my favorites. While I prefer a nice clean, western toilet, I would not dream of restricting travel options just because the infrastructure is less modern. And BTW, I have also seen some pretty horrific facilities all over Europe! Travel teaches us not only about others, but so much about ourselves. Going back to a place is ALWAYS different for better or for worse.

by SpiceChronicles

Yes I totally agree with you there. Maybe since you travel continuously, people do want to know where you liked best.But I agree everywhere has something great and I suppose that's why I want to discover new places. You mentioned a couple of countries I want to visit so will check out your blogs.

by katieshevlin62

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