By Mary Charie / 09/08/2017

Visiting The Same Place:
My Reality Of Travelling For So Long

Langkawi, Malaysia

In the travelling world, it seems like the more places you've seen the bigger chance you'll win in a bragging rights competition. This will obviously cross out visiting the same place twice or more since it wouldn't add another country to your list. The fact that there are 190+ countries in the world, you need a good amount of time, money, and energy to set foot on all of them before you get too old to travel or need to settle down and have your own family.

Personally, I'd rather spend my time and money on a new place than going to the same place I've been a few years back. It only makes sense especially if you travel on a budget or tied down on a limited off time from work, visiting the same place twice is just a waste of money, or isn't it?

This generation is making everything fast phased and busy on every level, not to mention how technology is making things a lot easier and how everything is just at your fingertips.

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Masasa beach

Masasa Beach

I personally have been to Thailand four times, in Bangkok to be more specific. Every visit left me with different experiences, different memories, different impacts. I've explored Denmark twice, taking into account that I've lived there for two years then went back a bit over six months later to enjoy its summer season.

I've lived and travelled Vietnam for four months give or take, and now at this very moment, I'm sitting in the shared apartment I rented here in Ho Chi Minh City. I'm a broke full-time traveller, I should just spend my money on a new destination so I can scratch them off my list. What's attracting me back to these destinations? What's making me want to always come back or is it something I want to do?

When I posted on Facebook that I'm leaving Cambodia, my sister messaged me right away. "Where are you going?!", oh, I forgot to update my family about my life, for the 100th time! "I'm going back to Vietnam, but only in Ho Chi Minh City" I responded. "Vietnam again?", she replied.

Tracing-Israel-Palestine-Must-See-In-Israel-and-Palestine-15

Arad, Israel

Why am I back? I'm not even thinking to stay here just for a few days or just to say hi to a friend, I'm here for at least three weeks. What is it really that dragging me back to a place I have been to, let alone to a place I have lived.

After I travelled for a year, I can feel the excitement is wearing off. The idea of meeting new people and getting lost in an unknown place is not as thrilling as it used to be. The craving for chasing sunsets and snapping an epic Instagram photo doesn't give me chills anymore compared to when I started. Am I taking everything for granted? I am 100% privileged to be able to travel freely, on my own terms, at my own pace.

I've had this conversation a couple of times with my friends. Friends who I love dearly and trust back in Denmark, another friend who I learn to admire because we share the same interest in travelling. I go in circles asking the same questions, hungry to find answers, restless to decipher the codes in why I keep coming back to the places I have been.

After a couple of gin and tonics, dozens of warm beers, plus losing count of drunk calls, and long walks on the beach, I think I somehow found an answer.

Gudauri, Georgia, Paragliding

Gudauri, Georgia

For me travelling full-time is a dream come true, away from all the responsibility back home, away from the system that everyone is falling into. But just like everyone else, even I hate having a routine, I breathe adventure every day, even I know that the world is massive and I want to explore it, I still crave for normality.

I think a lot, not all of them, of long-term travellers, are trying to escape the whole concept of studying, working, paying bills, get married, have kids, then die cycle. All of us want something new for ourselves, we want to do something different from the person next to us in our office or a childhood friend who lives in the same town all these years. That's what travelling gives me, that is moving abroad or to a new city promised us.

But for me, at the end of the day, it's about feeling normal without feeling bored or trapped. I travelled to escape the whole system, to move on from all the heartaches back at home, to start somewhere new, to be a different person.

And then, in the middle of a busy city plus a chaos mind within me, I started waking up. One day I woke up, feeling bored and unsatisfied, feeling uncomfortable and lost. All because I seek normality. I even thought that maybe I am suffering from travel depression. I want to be in a place where it feels new to me every single day but at the same time, I can do what I normally would do. I miss cooking for myself, having a stable network of friends, or going to the gym - those simple things.

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Egeskov, Castle

I came back to Denmark because I miss the food, I wanted to be there for the summer season too, oh how lovely it was! I came back because that's where my comfort zone is, my safe haven. I went back to the Philippines and I felt like an outsider, I didn't feel like home, I am a stranger in my own home country. I watched the days pass by, I counted every month until I can leave the Philippines again. I had a constant argument with myself and people around me, I was not completely me.

When I got off the bus I took from Cambodia to reach Ho Chi Minh City, the sense of comfortability rushed through me. I don't really know where the apartment I'm going to stay is located, but I know how things work, I know what to do, where to go, who to ask to find my way. I know how the money works, I know how to use Grab, I know what food I want to eat, I know how to say simple phrases like thank you and hello in Vietnamese, even the word vegetarian (I'm not even vegetarian).

I think after travelling for so long, the world satisfied the adventurous side of me, it showed me what I wanted to see, it made me feel the feelings I never thought existed, it made me realised I have a little control of my life. I haven't travelled the whole world yet, but it makes me feel like I have. Going solo on a trip is amazing but there are also disadvantages of travelling alone. And now, I want to find the place where I fit in, the place where I will feel comfortable, where I can have normality without feeling bored, where I can be a new version of myself, a better one.

That's why I keep coming back to the places I have been. That's why I'm not worried about spending my money in cities I've braved before, it's the reason why I don't feel like I have to see everything in one sitting, in one trip. I want to stay in one place and soak up to its magic, let its charm wash over me and make me feel like home, make me feel like I found my place in this beautiful world.

Turkey-ATV

ATV in Cappadocia, Turkey

I'm not sure if Vietnam is my spiritual country as my friend labelled it, but it definitely has a special space in my heart. I wouldn't mind going back here and spend my time and money eating the same food, watching the locals deal with their daily life task, or argue with a local who tries to rip me off.

I believe it's the way to find the place for me, it's accepting every country's flaws and still find it amusing and magical. I'm not speaking here what is best for you, I'm talking all based on my own experiences, I didn't grow up craving to see the world. But somehow, along the way, I found myself chasing this dream.

I don't think I'm done travelling if that is your conclusion as you reach this part of this article, I still have places I want to explore, I still love the heavy backpack I carry. I still enjoy cheap beers, hostel dorm beds, and overnight buses. But now I know how to slow down as I travel, why it's not a bad idea to visit the same place twice or more.

Have you visited a place or destination more than twice? Let me know how it feels in the comment section below.

About the author

Mary Charie

She's the person behind this blog, she has been travelling since 2013. Torn between her itchy feet and writing, Mary found herself soaking up in the world of travel blogging. She travels on her own terms and tries to build her own world whilst pushing herself into every corner of life, breaking limit beyond her capabilities.

16comments
Jackin Yip - 05/06/2019

What you’ve written above is brilliant! I have been to Vietnam for nine times and I don’t even get bored! I agree that going to places repeatedly might seem absurd to some people, but not for me. It is good to find that small shop you previously visited after a couple of years. The streets, the noise (the traffic in Vietnam), the smell (Vietnam food is the best), the people (mainly the reason I keep coming back). And you can always find something undiscovered every time you revisit a place! Keep on traveling, no matter to new or old places!:)

Reply
    Mary Charie - 06/06/2019

    Hey Jackie,

    So happy to hear from someone who can relate! I haven’t been back in Vietnam for over a year now and I can’t wait to go back. I dream about it almost every day. My sister is travelling there right now, I’m so jealous of the food she’s been eating! And yes, love to revisit the shops I used to go and of course discover new places. You too, keep travelling back to Vietnam xx

    Reply
Breana - 03/08/2018

Hi Mary!

I’m absolutely in love with this article you wrote. I can relate so much. I have been travelling Europe for 3 months now. And I have just booked a ticket back to the French Riviera because I seriously fell in love with it there and France itself.
My sister and my mum both were negative when I said I was going back there. But so what? Why can’t you go back to a place you fell in love with? There are still so many new things to discover there the second time around. For me, it’s not just about ticking off a bunch of countries just to say that I have been there. I love the fact that I get a chance to explore France again.
Thanks so much for your inspirational words 🙂

Reply
    Mary Charie - 04/08/2018

    Hi Breana! Wow, that’s so nice to hear! In the before I came back to Vietnam, I was super hesitant because, as a blogger, I was wondering if this makes me look like a boring one. I mean, I might fall on showcasing more of the world. But I did it anyway and had a great time for the second time around! Even my sister asked me why Vietnam again?

    But even tho! I’m glad I did! I hope you will have a great time in France again and if not I’m glad you took the chance anyway! Enjoy xx

    Reply
Lyca - 06/11/2017

Hi Ms. Mary,

Good day to you, I’m a fan of your blog,I found it very interesting every time I read your article about travelling, like you I always wanted to travel the world while still able,I’m planning to have a backpacking this coming march in Southeast Asia,and I would like to ask you about the Philippine immigration,ill be starting to travel in Singapore and might end in Vietnam,is it okay if my returning flight is from the last country that I’m gonna visit. Thank you and Hope to hear you soon.

Reply
    Mary Charie - 07/11/2017

    Hi Lyca! Thanks for reading and such kind words! It should be no problem as long as you show that you have a flight from SG to VN and VN to PH. If you have countries in between and planning to take land borders, prepare your accommodation bookings and tell them that you will be crossing land borders. I’m sure you’ll love your trip! Enjoy and keep safe! x

    Reply
Lilac - 24/08/2017

Hi Mary! I saw your insta link to this post very timely because I’m currently in a beach in which this was my third time to visit this place. I was reading and I nod to your every sentence. I haven’t travelled a lot, but I will soon. I agree that when you feel enchanted by a certain place, you’d want to go back and stay longer. Boracay is that place, I went back last April to volunteer for 10 days (my vacation leave) because I want to live the island life. AND! Sorry I need to capslock to emphasize, I just feel the same way about Ho Chi Minh. They say Vietnam is just like Philippines but for me, I had a meaningful 4-day visit there. I just want to go back and live there for quite some time. Lots of love!

Reply
    Mary Charie - 25/08/2017

    HI Lilac! Oh, thanks for such kind words! I loved Boracay and would love to come back as well. There was a time I considered in living there and make it as a base. But the internet connection is not very good yet. Maybe in a few more years!

    So far, I looove Saigon, totally have enchanted me. I used to live in Hanoi for 5 months and I thought I had enough of Vietnam. A year later, I found myself back and enjoy every bit of it. Come say hi if you happen to be around, should be here for a few months 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and I feel so happy to know someone understand how I feel x

    Reply
Valerie Ferguson - 19/08/2017

I loved your article because I travel a lot and have lived in another country, but have never travelled continually for more than 5 weeks, so it gave me a whole new perspective of long term travel. I also have to juggle wanting to go back to places I loved – and many times I have done e.g. Costa Rica – against fitting in all the new places I dearly want to see. But hey, first world problems! Your photos are stunning btw.

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    Mary Charie - 19/08/2017

    Aww, thanks, Valerie! Really appreciate your time and effort! I think, I always had a hard time de-attaching myself to the places I’ve lived and built a connection beyond seeing only the attractions. Hugs from Vietnam xx

    Reply
Amalia - 19/08/2017

Your post really speaks my mind! I love visiting the same country or the same place all the time. There are certain places that I’d always love to go back to, like Nepal or Iran (I’ve visited both twice!). These countries really make feel home — nice locals and amazing sceneries! I think as a human, we tend to lean towards things/places that are within our comfort zones. Traveling does take us away from that, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to be in our zone 🙂

Reply
    Mary Charie - 19/08/2017

    Great point, Amalia. I haven’t been to Iran or Nepal. But I’m dying to go, hopefully, sooner than I thought. Challenging ourselves to a new destination and going back to places we felt home definitely keeps us balanced x

    Reply
Kay - 19/08/2017

I love visiting the same places! I don’t like how it’s sometimes looked down on…it’s fun seeing how places grow and change, and even the good old classics that never change! You can really fall in love with a place, and that deserves more than a one night stand

Reply
    Mary Charie - 19/08/2017

    Exactly, Kay! I don’t understand why some people think it’s not worth it to visit the same place twice. But I guess to each and their own. Thanks for dropping by!

    Reply
Tasha Amy - 19/08/2017

Super interesting read and a lot of the points youve brought up I can seriously relate to. There are certainly places I would love to go back to and revisit, though unfortunately Vietnam is not on that list 😛

Reply
    Mary Charie - 19/08/2017

    Fair play, Tasha! Vietnam didn’t manage to charm a lot of travellers I met! 😀 thank you so much for reading! xx

    Reply
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