This one did not dawn on me till the day Mum asked why I keep going to that specific beach in Goa every year, on my birthday. Perhaps, like most parents, she was keen that I get value for my travel money by getting to newer places rather than landing at the same places. It felt more like a ritual rather than a trip to her. Surprisingly, it never seemed like a novel idea to me.
There are so many places that I’ve fallen in love with; choosing new ones and never going back sounded almost like breaking up. Mcleodganj and Bir (5-6 times), Manali (lost count), that one beach in Goa (thrice in 1.5 years), Spiti (such epic long trips, ran for weeks), Landour (my affair with this one won’t end) and so many more.
While I am all for new places, not going back to some of them is severing ties with somebody you loved once. And that stuff does not come naturally to me! Forget places, even some cafes have lured me so strongly that I book tickets to the place on all sorts of whims and fancies that you can think of to eat the same dish at the same table again (no wonder that serving staff at some places recognises me)!
The only reason I could find for it all is that perhaps, even when it sounds like a fad, I am a slow traveller.
I do not like rushing into things, especially places. I never carry a list of things to do or see; my travel plans after landing at a place come more from the locals rather than guide books. Same places make it easier for me as they would not have me searching for new attractions; once you have seen it all, there is little fascination in me to go to the same roads again. So, after a customary Old Goa churches and regular beaches trip of Goa, I found eternal bliss in a beach village in South Goa. Most birthdays, you would find me there; for a week, I would do nothing other than swim, eat, sleep, and all the sunsets of course. Early morning puddles on the beach come alive every morning with schools of starfish and I am more than happy to watch those crawl back to the water.
Other than the slow travel and do-nothing charm of such places, the realisation of falling back in a memory puddle from last year is such a fantastical idea!
Every new trip to the same place makes me meet somebody who was a lot like me some months or years back; a bit more cautious, a bit more angrier at so many things, a bit more adult-like (for I’m turning the clock backwards), a bit more practical (for realistic decisions never suited me).
Old places are where I trace my lines of evolution to, mostly for the better. Travelling to the same places again and again, perhaps, has a lot to do with my attempt at bettering myself; one trip at a time.
Do you feel the same, the urge to walk down the same lanes? If yes, what are your happy places?
Related read: Why just one trip to Ladakh will never be enough?