Having recently returned from a trip to Iceland, a place I lived in as a child, I’ve been thinking more and more about the desire to go back to old haunts. My curiosity to see and discover new places is insatiable and I usually find when deciding whether to go back somewhere or find somewhere new, the new wins hands down. In general there just isn’t enough time (or money) in my life for repeat visits when there are still so many places I haven’t been to. In all honesty, there probably isn’t anywhere in the world I actively don’t want to go back to, but certain places will always stand out for me as places I’ll happily revisit. Places where I’ve left a little bit of my heart. Here are my top 5 places I could visit over and over.
The city of my birth, where I later lived for 10 years in 4 very different districts. The city where my children were born. The city where I’ve spent the longest in my life. The city I know best. I can never tire of visiting and revisiting Paris. I know it so well and yet every time I go back I discover something new.
The city of my student years, where I lived on and off for the best part of 6 years in 6 different suburbs. The city of my maternal ancestors. The city that gave me the best student lifestyle possible combining beaches and national parks with urban hip living. It almost doesn’t get better. I’ve been back a few times but not enough recently. It’s definitely time to return.
The city where I met my husband. The city that changed my life. The crazy place I called home for 4.5 of the best years of my life in the 1990s and have never been back. How I long to return. To see the changes, to relive the experiences, to find the places that have remained the same. I will take my children there and show them a different world. Soon, I hope….
The city I’ve most recently been back to and lost my heart to. The city of my teenage years where friendships were established that last to this day. The city so safe and so open that it gave me the freedom to enjoy adolescence to the full. A quirky and unique city that despite its bijou size feels big and grown-up.
An anomaly in my list. A city I haven’t lived in! A city I’ve only been to twice but know I will go back to again and hopefully again. A city I want to show my kids. A city that I don’t know nearly well enough with so many places to explore. The city that never sleeps, with so much to offer, how could anyone not want to return?
Do you like to revisit places you’ve already been to, or do you prioritise new locations? Where would you go back to if money and time were no object? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
*** UPDATE 2016 *** We went back to Hanoi! Yay! You can read about 24 hours in Hanoi, a compilation of things we did over 5 days in the city, squashed into a fictitious 24 hours.
*** UPDATE 2018 *** We took the kids to New York for Christmas! Yay! My 3rd visit and another “bucket list” travel ambition realised.
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I think very much the same as you – however much I love somewhere I am always tempted by the new. Of your five, Paris and NY i’ve returned to (numerous times for Paris) and would do again and again. Reykjavik I also loved and would return in a heartbeat. The other two are on my list… I wonder which I’d put on mine… Lisbon and Istanbul are definite contenders. #ci8
Great post Phoebe! Good to learn more about your international living. I love going to new places and I usually try to resist going back to places (my husband seems to like familiarity more) but it’s great to rediscover them all over again…especially with children too. Thanks for linking #citytripping
Boston, Massachusetts but Boston, Lincolnshire also has its merits! Great post #citytripping
Cape Town is somewhere I can return to again and again – I lived in South Africa for 8 years. Norway – I adore it just wish it was cheaper! Malta I love too. Cities – Rome, Prague and Amsterdam oh and Barcelona!! Singapore… Canada…. wow loads to return to!!! This year it’s new places though – Vietnam Cambodia and Thailand for me!
Wow! This is an incredibly eclectic mix of places. It must have been wonderful to revisit Hanoi and I hope you get to see these cities soon so your children can experience them. Sydney has been at the top of my list for a long time! #citytripping
What a great list. I’m thinking about mine now too. Def Paris….
Currently considering my next destination and am struggling with the idea that repeat visits allow for a deeper investigation and that new places are out there waiting! Great post! #citytripping
Great choices! I haven’t been to a few on your list (like Sydney), but one day I will! Thanks for sharing! 🙂 #citytripping
I have only managed New York from your list of favourites, I’d like to try the others too one day #CityTripping
All great places to revisit!I would definitely like to revisit New York and properly explore, because I was only there for a day! #CityTripping
You left me curious about Hanoi… I definitely agree with New York, though I only visited once. If I had the chance, I would revisit Germiston in South Africa and Gabarone in Botswana (childhood years), Lisbon for sure (adolescence and young adulthood). Also Crete, I only went there once for vacation but fell in love with the combination of nature and history. Great post! #ExpatLifeLinky
Oh dear, I am nowhere near the traveller that you are but I have been to one of your places 😉
Very inspiring – and you’re right: there are so many places in the world to visit that revisiting is tough no matter how desired!!
Nice places! I really want to see Paris! I want to see the Architecture and all of its beauty. #myexpatfamily
WOW! What a fantastic list, made all the more so by your beautiful anecdotes and reflections 🙂 What a wonderful little intro to yourself too… You could totally link to this from your ‘about’ page!
There are places I want to go back to… But I guess I’d also like to go back in time to them too!
My absolute top choice would be the mountains west of San Benadetto del Tronto on the South Eastern Italian coast. We spent a few days driving around in search of a honey producer, who’s products we’d bought at a local market and loved.
DELICIOUS honey and the most perfect treasure hunt 🙂
You’ve got me thinking now! I’d have New York on my list. I last went there a few days after 911 so would like to see it again how it should be. Jamaica to revisit old pre children haunts. Caracas, the city of my teenage years. New Zealand, where I had the time of my life. I’ve already been back to the Philippines or that would be on the list, ditto the place of my birth (Havana). So the fifth… Hmmmmm. Possibly Belize because I just loved it.
It’s fascinating to get this glimpse into all your moves and travels! I love your list, and totally agree with you on New York and Paris. The rest are on my ” to visit” list (which is as long as my arm, but hey). whenever I visit somewhere new I almost always think that I want to go back before I’ve even left, but the one place I ache for the most is Osaka. I lived there for a few years and I desperately want to show it to my husband and children. My experiences in Japan are such an important part of my personal story that it seems inconceivable for them never to have witnessed the place for themselves! One day…
What a great list Phoebe you are seriously like a super expat having lived in so many varied places it’s amazing!
I have only been to New York out of your list but they all sound truly amazing places to go!
I have never returned to San Diego where I spent almost three years 17-20 and now it’s been almost 10 years I’m actually a little scared to return. I have such perfect memories of the place and I know I have most definitely rose tinted some of it, I actually don’t want to break those memories though…..but at the same time I really would love to see the place again!!!
I really enjoyed reading this, and finding out a little more of some of the amazing places you have called home!
Thank you as always for linking up with #myexpatfamily
Oh, I love this. And quite surprised to find that I have been to three of your five (Paris, Sydney and New York) and I would go back to them all 🙂 I’d love to go back to Prague, having visited as a student, and I love Bruges and Brussels, and Madrid… Too hard!
Gosh that is so tough! There are so many beautiful places in the world you have to prioritise going to new places… But then I’m a creature of habit too. So, so hard! I love New York too. I also love Barcelona, Rome and one day I really hope to visit Istanbul. Lovely to have found your blog.
I prioritise new locations as there are so many places I still want to visit. But if money were no object I would go back to Indonesia where I spent time on a month long trip when I was 17, and Ghana where I spent time during my gap year. Mainly to visit the people we met whilst there and see if projects we set up still exist.
Yup, for me Paris and New York too. At the moment, Paris is more achievable. I’d love to go to Sydney and Hanoi and of course Iceland – my brother in law went a few years ago and said it was an amazing place. #expatlifelinky
What a lovely and thoughtful list you made and I love your photos.
Just 5- almost impossible – Umouto near Warri in Nigeria, a paradise on Earth where we went for long weekends to get away from it all; Lake Bohinj in Slovenia where I would love to retire in due course; Durham, England, my university and the place I met and married my Husband, we visit his family there every year, visiting the city never gets old; Siem Reap, Cambodia – I want to see more of the temples; any village in South East Turkey, possibly the friendliest place in the world with stunning scenery and amazing history to boot.
I don’t think I will ever tire of Paris! I’d love to go back to NY but I’m not sure if I’ll get over there any time soon!
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I know that feeling too Amy.
Thanks for your kind words Marisol, I too hope I can show my kids NYC one day soon 🙂
Oh Phoebe, it’s touching to read why you would love to return to these cites and why they meant so much to you,. Yo’re were so lucky to live in these wonderful city (except NYC) that I so adore myself. I’ve already return to Pari and Hanoi and can return so more. I’d return to Sydney and Reykjavik in a heartbeat. I live in NYC and I know that if leave that I would go back here again and agian. I hope you can show my city to your kids soon.
I love the idea of this list! There are definitely places I could travel to over and over…and sometimes they remain at the top of my list, even with all of the places I have yet to see!
I love your choice Kevin. I’ve been to Malaga and Chiang Mai, but never Havana or the Maldives, both of which I’d loooove to visit.
How interesting that you’d also pick Sydney, Paris and Reykjavik. I look forward to seeing your full list.
Whereabouts in Australia are you Kathy? Lucky you getting to Sydney once a year. That’s like London or Paris for me.
Paris is a 9 hour drive for me but only an hour’s flight. Sydney on the other hand….24 hour flight! But I’d go tomorrow if I could.
This has got me thinking of my 5 places, we have one in common 🙂
1-Chiang Mai, the Thai city that stole my heart with the beauty of it’s people.
2-Havana, because 24 hours here didn’t even touch the sides!
3- Rekyavic, such beauty to explore and the coolest unexpected chic nightlife.
4- Malaga, I lived here for a few years and still go back several times a year, fried fish!
5- Maldives, I went with an ex, want to make it a little more romantic in future.
Thanks for the nomination, Phoebe! I love that you lived in such great cities and have such special memories in each one except NYC. It’s going to be tough picking 5 too. But Sydney, Reykjavik and Paris would be at the top of the list too. I spent part of my honeymoon in Sydney. I sort of prioritize visiting new locations but I will never turn down an opportunity to revisit old and favorite cities.
Sydney is in my country and I do love to visit there at least once a year. Otherwise I would love to return to New York, Paris and London.
I could certainly return to Paris and Sydney in a heartbeat. . .and a 10-12 hour flight, but it is well worth it with those two destinations!
Thanks for the nomination! I love your choice of places. I’ve only been to Paris, but I’d love to go to New York and Reykjavik. Maybe one day 🙂
Thanks Muza-chan 🙂
Yes, I’ve lived in a lot of places (this list isn’t all by any means!) I hope you get to travel again soon.
I can’t imagine how much it must have changed either Sammy! I need to get back to see.
I know, I know…so many places, not enough time! 🙂
That’s a great loop though! I love Barcelona and have been a few times. London is a place I can never get enough of and I’ve been to Helsinki once and would happily go back!
It seems we think alike Camilla!
Manly is a great area to live, your brother’s very lucky. I hope you can visit him there one day.
I’d love to visit Accra!
Ha ha, what a good theme Corinna! Forever the student. Does “first book” imply there are or will be more? Dhaka is quite different form the rest of your UK-based choices.
Interesting list, I agree with you 🙂
Great choices Catherine! I’d happily go back to Sofia (and JF really wants to visit so it’s on the short list for next hols) and have been back to both Prague and Delhi so I’m totally with you there.
Wow, how cool that you have lived in so many cool places (apart from NY). I haven’t been on a plane in over two years but am looking forward to travelling again soon.
Wow! You have lived all over. I loved Hanoi as well. I can’t imagine how much it has changed over the years though. I visited in 2012.
What a great list – how lucky to have lived in such interesting places! I have the same problem that everywhere I go I want to go back to – it means my wanderlust list never decreases 🙂
Oh well, I keep going to the same places all the time… I’m on this never-ending loop Helsinki-London-Barcelona, I just keep varying the frequency and timing of my visits…
I definitely prioritise new destinations, because my budget is so tight these days that I’d rather see new things! But there are plenty of places that I would go back to – I think that just like you I would probably go back to every place I have already visited! I love this list so much, it’s such a fun idea for a post! I dream of seeing Sydney, Hanoi and Reykjavik for sure!
I love your choices! My brother lives in Sydney and loves it – near Manly Beach. I haven’t been to one of your top 5 🙁 but then I’m not very well travelled!
Accra where I met and married my wife. Oxford where I studied. Sydney , my wife’s home town. Paris where my first child was born and last but by no means least, Athens which I explored as a student.
1. Dhaka where I wrote my first book.
2. York where I wrote my first thesis.
3. Exeter where I took my first degree.
4. Leeds where I did my second degree.
5.London where I am studying my third degree.
The best bit is that I’m not even very academic!
I think my top 5 would have to be Sydney; where I spent 24 years of my life and haven’t been back often enough. London; where my husband comes from and therefore has a special place in my heart,.Delhi; where my 3 children started school and we all had such fun. Prague; which is so beautiful. Sofia; which was so exciting seeing communism collapse.
Fun to write, thanks Elena!
Once I got thinking Chrissie, I found it quite hard too but the 1st 4 were easy, just trying to decide on the fifth was difficult. I have so many better photos of Sydney but from pre-digital days. These were from my last trip when I was pregnant and featured in a lot of the photos which meant I didn’t actually have many I could use! I look forward to seeing where you pick.
Wonderful choice of destinations! Thanks for participation! 🙂
Thanks for the nomination Phoebe, it’s going to be tough picking just 5 🙂 Love the photos of the lovely Sydney too. Chrissie