CHARLOTTE, N.C., September 30, 2016 – The well known English herbalist and author, Juliette de Bairacli Levy, once wrote “Every land has its own special rhythm, and unless the traveler takes the time to learn the rhythm, he or she will remain an outsider there always.”
Shortly after World War II, when transatlantic jet service to Europe was making globe-hopping easier than ever before, Americans flocked to their travel agents to book “grand tours of Europe.” In those days tours were labeled, “If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium” packages where visitors tried to cram dozens of countries and thousands of years of history into a single eye-blurring itinerary.
Now that travel has become relatively less expensive and access has become far greater to more people, the concept of seeing the entire world in one deluxe trip is no longer in vogue in the same ways it used to be.
Savvy travelers have become more discriminating, preferring to settle down in one hotel for several nights and doing day trips as opposed to having luggage outside the door at seven so they can get a 30-second photo-op at the Eiffel Tower by 8:30.
In that sense, many tourists have developed a “been there, done that” philosophy which is almost as silly as those old grand tours we used to take.
Years ago, I was invited to go to London and East Anglia on the British Airways Concorde. In my inexperienced world of travel, East Anglia meant nothing to me, but London was certainly well known and to do it on the Concorde was a dream come true.
I went to my supervisor and explained that I would like to take the trip and do some stories about what it is like to fly on the Concorde. Nobody in my home town had ever done that story so it seemed like a natural.
The next day she came back to me and said, “Mike McKay (the weatherman at the television station where I worked) went to England last year and did a story about Harrod’s so we’ve done England.”
That’s when it hit me. One story about Harrod’s and the station philosophy was that we had done England!
When I finally ventured into the travel writing business on my own, I met a woman in her early ’70s who did not start writing until she was 60. Doris Whitehead always said, “I want to see every place once before I see any place twice.”
For a long time I believed in that concept, until I had a chance to return to a place I had been once before. Many people believe they must always go someplace new, forgetting about everything they may have missed during the first and only previous visit to a destination.
Travel is the most interactive experience you can have in life, except perhaps for making love. But no matter how often you visit a place, each time it will be different. The weather will be different. Chances are, your traveling partners will not be the same. The destination will likely have new things to see and do.
All of which is a long way of saying that frequently the second or even third time you visit a place may be far more rewarding than the first.
Experts say that one reason professional golfers have such a difficult time their first year on the tour is because they not only have to play four great rounds of golf, but they have to learn how to get to the course, where the restaurants are, the check-in procedures and any number of other things that get in the way of just plain old playing golf.
Travel isn’t much different. Most people go to London and see the Tower, Westminster Abbey, a show and all the other traditional sights. Who goes to Paris the first time and doesn’t see the Eiffel Tower? If you don’t, people think you are nuts for not seeing one of the city’s major attractions.
Ah, but the second time you can stop and rest at a quaint sidewalk café and while away an hour or two just people watching. That’s as much a part of the experience as the major attractions… only the second time around you have indeed “been there, done that” so you can savor the joy of discovering something completely new.
Juliette Levy got it right. Learn the rhythm of a country and you will come to love it even more.
Frank Sinatra once sang that “Love is lovelier, the second time around.” So, too, is travel. Be bold. Go back again, and again, and again. Travel will not disappoint and each new adventure will add to your wanderlust resume.
Once you learn to find those marvelous little “in between places,” travel will reward you like never before.
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About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com).
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.
Read more of Travels with Peabod and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News