returning again and agin to a country?

Hi all, I have this dream to repeatedly return to a country I am learning the language for - currently working on French because I have relatives in France and want an "adopted" country - think it is fun - and I have summers off, so at some point, could live there some part of the year. I am getting some flak from a savvy world traveler brother - that I should go other places, etc. - I do go other places but usually always have France as one of the countries - see my brother - and explore. Anyone else do this?

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8846 posts

Kathy ,many of us have favorite countries, that we love to return to again and again. I personally love France also, and return again and again to Paris, and although I still add other countries to my visits, any trip to Europe will include Paris in addition to those other places. Tell your "savvy world traveler" brother that perhaps just nipping down a list of places is not everyones style, and that some people confuse popping in and out of a place with really experiencing it, in my opinion no one can say they have really experienced a country with a single short visit.. but hey, they do build an impressive "list". Tell him you aren't a "list" person. I think many of us enjoy revisiting favorite places, countries are large, they are loaded with amazing sites, hundreds of museums etc, revisits are not only pleasant but mandatory for people who really want to be immersed in the cultures.. For some its Italy, others Germany, and for us, its France, whos to tell us we are wrong.. that's riduculus.

Posted by kathy
new brighton, USA
23 posts

Oh and the brother I see in France is not the brother giving me the flak. I have a brother living in France and one living in the U.S. - it's the U.S. brother. Ugh! He keeps suggesting I do something else - other than France. Interesting your input. :-)

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
3733 posts

Ah yes, the older brother (or sister) who thinks they are the enlightened one... ;) France, and especially Paris, are my favorites and I return over and over, as well as visit other countries. Like Pat said, I could never go to Europe and not include Paris. I can never get enough of Paris.

Posted by James E.
3497 posts

We got bored in Venice a dozen years ago and blindly hopped a train to Budapest. We got off the train in this grimy, nasty train station behind the iron curtain late in the afternoon to find ourselves being assaulted by a burley communist looking gentleman who demanded our luggage. Within minutes a car drove over the curb and parked on the side walk and a kid ran to us. The two began arguing in the most bizarre language imaginable. After a few moments the stopped and both turned and looked at us. Oh!, they were fighting over the taxi fare. We chose the kid because I thought I could take him down if the situation arose. This was a frightening place we had entered. Upon getting into the cab, knowing nothing about Budapest, I told the driver to just drive around town so I could get a feeling for where we were. He obliged and as it began to get dark I noticed we were heading away from town. We were on a narrow winding road going up and up and up. It was totally dark now and I knew what was next; I've see TV, I know about kidnappings, theft and murder. I was right. He pulled over in the darkness and demanded we get out of the cab. We obliged and then he forced us to turn around with our backs to him. We had no choice, we turned..................and if front of us was the most stunning view of any city on the face of the earth. I told my wife, "we are coming back". My wife whispered back, "we just got here". We have been back 20 times in the last decade. We have done London/Budapest, Paris/Budapest, Prague/Budapest, Romania/Budapest, Bulgaria/Budapest, Slovakia/Budapest, Moscow/Budapest , Italy/Budapest, Washington DC/Budapest, NYC/Budapest and a hundred permutations of places in Hungary and Budapest. We now own a couple of apartments in Budapest that we use for our own enjoyment and we rent to tourists. NO, I don't understand your situation. ;-)

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8461 posts

Yes, I have gone repeatedly to the same country - four trips to Ireland without going anywhere else in between. Now I have been to Spain several times and I don't plan to stop going (working on a potential August trip right now, in fact). I wouldn't pay any attention to what your brother says, unless he's paying for the trip. Let him go where he wants on his trip, you choose for yours.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
4845 posts

Many people return again and again to the same place, and many go to different places each time. But it's not always either/or. I have friends who go to Oahu every Thanksgiving (same hotel, even), and to a new place in Europe every spring. They like the comfort of returning to the same place, and they like the adventure of a new place, so for them, this works. If your brother wants to go to different places each time, that's fine - for him. If you want to return to France (for whatever reason), that's fine too - for you. We each have to make our own decisions on these matters. Given the time and expense of travel, it has to suit your own needs, not someone else's.

Posted by Rose
922 posts

James, that's one of the most brilliant travel stories I ever heard! Thanks! Kathy, I was stuck on France and Italy for a long while. Now I'm stuck on the UK and want to see every nook and cranny, which would take me into my next lifetime. Realizing that my list of other desired destinations is still a mile long, I force myself to go elsewhere. But 'force'ing myself is not hard and I end up loving every place I go. It doesn't lessen the longing I feel to return to France and Italy, but I have to be realistic about available time and money for travel. So don a flak jacket, and go where your heart calls you to go. It's your life, not your brother's.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
4140 posts

Hi, "...savvy world traveler...." His advice to you is at variance with your description of him; I would simply disregard such advice. I went to France the first time at 23, to (West)Germany the first time at 21, now forty years later I am still going back to these two countries. No problem in going to other countries as long as it's not to the exclusion of the country you want to revisit and revisit. True, I visit other countries but always return to Berlin and Paris.

Posted by Alexander
Quad Cities, IL/IA
354 posts

I've adopted France as my country during the summer. I'm only in my late 20s, but I do feel a sense of home there. I lived and worked there for a year after my undergrad, met some great friends, and love going back every chance that I get. If only the airfare were cheaper!
I don't think I fully understood how important it was to me until last year when I was visiting the town where I worked for a year. I went to a creperie where the service had always been good, and the crepes even better. It had been nearly three years since I was last there. I entered the restaurant as I usually dix, took my usual table, and was greeted as if I was a part of the family. They even remembered what I used to order. It was a moment that I'll never forget.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
22005 posts

kathy, My usual travel method is to visit somewhere new on each trip, as well as re-visiting some countries or cities that I've been before. However, regardless of which countries I decide to tour every year, Italy is always on the list. Like you, I'm trying to learn the language so Italy is a "constant". I'm sure your brother means well, but it's not his trip and he's not paying for it, so you could politely suggest that it's your trip so you'll decide where to go. If he's overly persistent, you might have to tell him to "butt out". Cheers!

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
5477 posts

Well, I live in Germany and have been here for over 26 years. I have yet to get tired of visiting new towns and cities here. They each have their own unique flavor, with their own special museums, architecture, and history. Though I go to other countries too, it is quick, easy, & cheap for me to travel around in Germany by train. I take a lot of day trips and weekend trips. So if you are staying in France for while, I can imagine that you would want to do the same.

Posted by Alexandra
West Coast, California, USA
361 posts

I have people make similar comments to me about traveling to Germany every couple of years. My extended family is there and I feel very much at home there. Over the years I've discovered towns that aren't on the list of typical travel spots. Found unique stores and eateries, etc... I like to travel there and live like a native German, not a tourist. I totally get what you're saying.

Posted by Karen (Leigh)
434 posts

I also go back to Germany again and again. So much so that when I went somewhere else in March everyone was surprised that I wasn't going to Germany. The last two trips to Germany have been Germany and the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria. I wish I could go to Germany every year, and take a trip to someplace new every year, but since that isn't happening I will continue to go where I most want to go. Travel is a personal thing and no there is no right place to go or wrong place to go. If you want something new each time, go for it. If you want the same place every time, fine. What is right for your brother, or anyone, isn't necessarily right for you, and vice versa.

Posted by Laurie Beth
Was MN, now TX
646 posts

This is similar to the reaction I get from family and friends: "Why do you go to Europe when there are so many places to see in the US?" I also get the, "Why do you go back to the same place?" reaction. I just tell them, it works for me, I feel at home there and I LOVE Europe. I now have so many places that I love to return to that I get less flak about it,maybe they forget I've been there already.

Posted by June
Edmonton, Alberta
397 posts

Kathy, I also love France. I will be going on my 6th or 7th trip to France this fall. I will be attending a month long language course in Aix and a week in Villefranche before that. I attended the institut de francais in Villefranche a few years ago and enjoyed the town so much that I had to return for a visit. Enjoy going where you love. I will be visiting France many more times, I hope.

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

Oh, this is an endless debate between me and my husband. He has traveled much more than me, from an early age, and has "been there, done that" with many of the areas of Europe I am longing to see. He prefers to go to new places. I could never afford to travel much outside the US (single mom, and then I was a poor grad student)and had only been to England twice, at 20 and 28. The second trip was for research for my dissertation, so the school helped subsidize it. Anyway. I finally got him to go with me to Paris by promising we could visit a part of France he hadn't seen. Not easy since he spent a year there as a child. We ended up in Saint Malo Brittany and taking a day trip to Mont Saint-Michel. We also did Italy, which he hadn't seen too much of, and the Olympics and Edinburgh Fringe for our honeymoon. Now we are alternating choosing this year, and after 3 years of Europe, we are going this year on safari to Botswanaa real bucket list item for him. Next year I get to choose Spain and Portugal, which are also new to him. But I am nowhere near done with Italy and France, or even the UK, so it's all about compromise. Or I may travel with a friend of mine. (I should add that he had a great time in all 3 places, especially as an Olympics and Fringe junkie, so he has no complaints. And I get to spend my birthday on safari and end up seeing Victoria Falls at the end of it all.) Luckily, in your case you don't have to compromise: just go to France! It would take a lifetime to exhaust that place.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3266 posts

"savvy world traveler"? sounds like an arrogant know-it-all to me (sorry)
Ignore him and share your travel experiences with people who will be happy for you and not try to tell you what to do :)

Posted by Rob
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
377 posts

For me it's Germany and more importantly Munich. I wanted to know Munich so well that I no longer needed a guide book, map, or even camera. It took 4 visits in 5 years, but I made it! I too finish my visit in another country, but I love to start my trip in Munich.

Posted by Georgiatraveler
Atlanta, GA
230 posts

Based on the replies you have gotten you are obviously not the only one who loves to do this, my husband and I are the same way. I first got him to travel to Europe in 2006 to visit my best friend in Manchester, England. He had only flown one other time in his life and had never been overseas, never had much of an interest in it except maybe Germany he would say. That one trip started something with him and I'm so glad it did. We have been to Germany every year since (except 1 year) and it always includes Munich at some point. We have included other cities on various trips whether it was Munich/London, Berlin/Munich and our most recent Berlin/Dresden/Munich and lots of smaller cities in between. All future trips I'm sure will include Munich but we have agreed to try other cities as well, doesn't matter if they are in Germany or another country. There are so many places I want to see but Munich just feels like home to us. We've always said that if we ever had the funds available we would seriously consider buying a home in Munich to use as a base. Our families do the same thing as yours but we always tell them we just love it and there is so much of Munich that we haven't seen yet. Its no different than people always going to the same beach every year. Enjoy your trip and ignore your brother. As others have said, you are the one paying for it and planning it, you can do whatever you want.

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
1442 posts

Some people have itchy feet and like to roam from place to husband is like that so I let him go! I, on the other hand, love to get to know a place well and return again and again. Everyone has a different style and travel desire...your brother should respect that! There is something to be said for experiencing different cultures but only if you really want to. There is only so much time and money in life and you have to do what YOU want to do with that time and money. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise! :)

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
4822 posts

"savvy world traveler brother". The 4th word says it all. I know, I have sisters. Its nice to return to places again and again to renew old acquaintences. Things change, and you don't know unless you go back. The owner of our favorite cichetti joint in Venice sells out to follow his dream, I imagine to a beach in Brazil.
PA or MN?

Posted by Sarah
Calgary, Ab, Canada
67 posts

There are three places I could always go back to: Venice (during the art biannale especially), Mostar, and Budapest. The only reason I'm not going to Mostar this summer, is that it's too hard to get to, so I will go next time...*sigh

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2029 posts

I too tend to fall in love with places and return over and over again (Paris and Berlin, Vienna, Marsielle...) but lately I've been forcing myself to go to new places a little more, and then you end up falling in love with new places! I think it's good to strike a balance. You won't discover new loves if you don't try new places, but there's nothing wrong with returning to the same place multiple times either.

Posted by kathy
new brighton, USA
23 posts

So many responses and such wonderful and inspiring responses too. I am not the only one that does this and this makes me feel better. I just need to figure out how to deflect my brother hassling me.

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
1297 posts

All 3 of my trips to Europe since 2008 have included Venice. In 08, we only had about 36 hrs. In '10, we had 3 nights and last year went back for 2. Been to Paris and Cinque Terre twice...London every trip. Last year we had planned on stopping at Florence, but I say to hubby - Venice is only a few hours away - let's go back again! LOL. I absolutely love it, but hubby says no more trips to Venice (pouty face). I would honestly squeeze it in to every trip if we were within a days train ride and not feel bad about it at all. I have friends that go South every winter and always go to...Cuba, or the Dominican...every blessed year. And they love it. To each his (or her) own!

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
1297 posts

...oh, and every time we've been to Venice, we've stayed at the same B& the same room! Familiarity is nice when so far away from home. (And in Cinque Terre - same B&B both times, but a diff room...)

Posted by Thomas
Vienna, Austria
517 posts

All I can say is: We are very lucky indeed to have such problems.

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
882 posts

I guess I'll offer an opposite view - I think it's worth going to a different continent altogether once in a while (outside of Europe). Western Europe (in particular) is not that far out of your comfort zone if you're coming from North America...I think part of the point of travel is to get exposed to wholly new things and to challenge everything you know and are used to. Not everyone sees travel that way, but I do. I totally agree with trying to hone language skills (that's why I try to travel to various Spanish speaking countries - there are many of them throughout the world, fortunately). Seeing a place twice or many times has a wonderful feel about it too - it's like visiting an old friend while time has stood still, and you can pick up right where you left off.

Posted by Rose
922 posts

I just need to figure out how to deflect my brother hassling me. I would try to listen patently to his opinion and then go off and do what YOU want. Telling him to clear off or arguing with him will likely not stop him trying to convince you, and possibly only aggravate you both. Not worth it.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8846 posts

"I just need to figure out how to deflect my brother ".. er, no , you don't .. You have to learn how to ignore him , or laugh off his comments, you are a grown up now, theres no more "big brother " You aren't a little girl being "naughty", you are a grown woman with a different tastes and opinions and on something then your bro, its normal.

Posted by kathy
new brighton, USA
23 posts

Thanks everyone for all your replies. I love really immersing myself in something and becoming good at that one thing and connected to it so it becomes part of my identity - not just a passing thing. Returning to a country again and again - and learning the language of the culture is a hobby. I so appreciate everyone's responses and I must have struck a nerve - in a good way. Really, what people said was truly so inspiring too. Thanks so much!!!

Posted by donna
roswell, ga, usa
1489 posts

I like Spain. I like France. I LOVE Italy and Sicily. So I've been to France twice, Spain twice, London once, and Italy 10 times, and can't get enough. Nobody's business but mine, but sometimes have to appease my husband. He wants to go to Scotland, so I'll go -- connecting through Rome!

Posted by Wisconsin
United States, Wisconsin, United States
1 posts

My wife and I return every few years to Germany where I have lots of German cousins. I speak conversational German and want to keep that up by speaking as much German as I can. We also see places and things that tourists don't often see. We travel to many other places but returning to Germany every few years feels like going home. You do what you like and forget everything any ody else thinks you must do.

Posted by Karen
Santa Rosa, CA
764 posts

I completely understand the desire to go back to a place that one thoroughly enjoyed the first time. While good in theory, my husband and I talk about going back to Belize, Portugal, Ireland, Costa Rica, etc., but 9 out of 10 times, a new destination wins. Although we just got back from our 2nd trip to Italy, we didn't repeat any destinations from the previous trip. Now we are talking about our next trip. Scotland is the front runner for Fall of 2014, but today we were talking about other destinations we want to visit and Spain and the Grand Canyon came up. I think part the the reason we don't return to places already visited has to due with limited vacation time and a stronger desire to experience new places. Or maybe new places are just more adventurous. Or that the second visit may not stack up when compared to the original visit.
But in the end, to each his own.

Posted by Mike
Columbia, MO, USA
249 posts

We've spent a total of 7 weeks in France, and Paris is the only place we've revisited (13 cities in all). I'd go every year if I could (with some time in Italy as well). I would spend two weeks in Provence annually and not get to everything I'd like. You're not alone in this-I spent months polishing my decades-old French from college to enhance my enjoyment of the country. Keep your plan going.

Posted by Connie
North Coventry
6 posts

Kathy, do what you love. Although I've added other countries on several trips, I have visited France every time I've traveled to Europe with the single exception of a business trip to Basel (unless you count flying in and out of Mulhouse airport which actually is in France). About 10 years ago I decided I should see Italy and made a couple stabs at planning a trip, but when the time and opportunity came to travel I chose France instead. Just can't help myself.