With Summer Vacation fast approaching, a perennial debate has resurfaced. Deciding on a vacation destination is probably the most difficult aspect of the trip itself. Money, time, and seasonal weather combine to strain this decision but we always find ourselves toying with the idea of a return trip to a favorite destination instead of going somewhere unknown. This is absolutely a luxury that we’re describing and please know that we fully understand and appreciate that this is a “first world problem,” but hear us out.
The allure of new destinations and the desire to experience diverse cultures is always strong, but we are often tempted to return to specific destinations we’ve traveled to before. Most places we’ve been to were born out of a strong desire to see that location and see if it lived up to the hype. Others; we simply wanted to get away from our day to day lives and relax in a beautiful place. No matter the reason, several of these places have become so fondly remembered that we often dream of returning to a favorite location instead of pursuing the new and exciting. Sure, we always prefer to go somewhere new, but oftentimes, and especially after a particularly stressful or difficult time at work, we simply would rather go someplace we’ve already been for its guaranteed satisfaction. Taiwan is certainly that kind of place. It was in this country that I had one of my best travel experiences to date but we’ve grown a lot in the past few years, and want to give it a second shot.
The first flight we took from Korea (not counting our semi-legal visa-run to Japan which was more of a 24 hour ordeal than anything resembling a vacation) was during the Korean holiday Chuseok in 2013. After battling an incredible crowd at Incheon International Airport because of Korean Thanksgiving, we made it to Taiwan just in time to get a bus into Taipei before the rains started. We spent 80% of our first trip in a typhoon but we made every attempt to push through the weather. Check out our videos and blog posts from that first trip if you want to see Baby Ryan and Baby Stephanie excitedly exploring for what felt like the first time. A friend of ours from Taiwan was currently visiting family at the same time during that trip, so we occasionally had a tour guide, but for the most part we were on our own with very little travel savvy and a poor grasp on trip planning. Still we saw quite a lot for the quality of weather. We visited Tien Yuan Temple, climbed Lion’s Head Mountain (still not sure if that’s the real name because we got a bit lost trying to find it), and enjoyed a dry night of parades in the streets of Taipei. Our favorite part of the trip was Yilan Beach where we really felt like we connected with the country and its people, and solidified our need to return to Taiwan.
Why Go Back to a Country You’ve Already Visited?
You’re a more experienced traveler now (right?!)
Not to say that a return trip to a country you’ve visited before will be perfect, but you’ve probably grown as a traveler and know yourself better by now. You won’t make as many mistakes as your first time around since you have learned from your past experiences. We didn’t have enough time or maturity on our first trip to Taiwan and we ended up making quite a few rookie mistakes. We stayed in the wrong part of town, though the hotel WAS called “Hotel Kevin” so how could you honestly turn that down? Our luggage also consisted of two carry on rolling suitcases with three different pairs of shoes EACH for the five days we planned on being there. More likely than not you too have learned from past mistakes from your travels. Seriously though, no one needs three pairs of shoes for five days.
To see the things you’ve missed out on
Have you ever left a place and later found out about some really amazing things that you simply missed? That’s exactly what happened to us after leaving Taiwan. Even though we had an amazing time while we were there, we know deep down that we didn’t do this amazing country justice. Sure we saw a little bit around Taipei, but there’s just a lot of country we have yet to explore in Taiwan. This time we are choosing to skip Taipei and head out of town to check out some smaller cities and the countryside. Stephanie is doing a lot of research to make sure we don’t miss out on anything that we’ll regret this time around.
You already know it’s awesome
If you are debating returning to a place, it was probably pretty amazing the first time around. Why not give it another go if you constantly find yourself daydreaming about it? Even with all the rain and crazy weather that came with the typhoon, we still loved every minute of our time in Taiwan. Stephanie went through four umbrellas in the short five days we were there and even that never dampened our spirits. Get it? Okay, bad joke.
It’s an easy choice
Returning to a country you have already visited just makes things easier. There is a ton of planning that goes into each trip you take and sometimes, even though you may be keen to get out and go somewhere new, you might just be too
lazy busy to put in a lot of effort into all the little details. We tossed around several new countries for this upcoming trip, but since we will just have 7 days, we needed to go somewhere small-ish and, preferably, near Korea to cut down airplane travel time. Apart from the lingering, three year longing for a return to Taiwan, we also have a date in Seoul that we have to be back for in August.
So that’s it! In the very near future we will be making a return to Taiwan almost exactly three years after our first trip. In these last few years we’ve learned a lot about ourselves and how we like to experience other countries. It’s going to be interesting for us (and hopefully our readers as well) to see the difference in Round 2 and what’s changed. We are bursting with anticipation and excited to share pictures and stories from this return trip. It’s going to be interesting to see how this country has changed and how we’ve grown in the past few years.
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What places have you been dying to return to and why?