I tend to be a one and done kind of person. I'll read a book and then leave it behind and never look back. I used to apply this same model to travel, but have found that there is great benefit to returning to a place again and again.
If you'll allow me to get all philosophical for a minute, I'll say that I firmly believe that unless you live in a place for years, you can't really know it. We've spent several months at a time in various countries, but two things happen after you leave - you change and so does that place.
We used to live in Chicago. On my last visit there, I actually got a little turned around a block from where I once worked and lived. The four corners of one intersection was completely different. Whole blocks had been demolished and rebuilt. So do I know Chicago. Not one bit.
I now believe there is value in returning to a place multiple times, despite how much we have left to see in the world. There is great comfort in returning to the places you love. So here are the countries/places we keep returning and can't get enough of. In no particular order:
Our Most Visited Countries
It took us a long time to actually make it to Mexico. We didn't have those spring break moments that most Americans have. I think we were busy working at shitty jobs or visiting family. That said, our first entry to Mexico was actually Tulum in 2010. There was almost nothing there and we had a pretty awful time due to a poor choice in hotel. Undaunted, we returned to Oaxaca the day after selling our house to embark on full time travel in 2015, and stayed about a month.
We returned again in 2017 for a fabulous wedding in Merida.
I'll maintain that we waited waaaay too long to visit Italy. We went on our honeymoon and spent a few nights in Venice before moving on and then considered it a place to visit once we were old and retired with shot knees. "Let's climb Maccu Piccu and visit Nepal first, then we can sip coffee and watch the people walk by in Florence and Rome."
That was a mistake that I regretted the moment I had my first gelato in Florence. We got to Italy a week before our 3 month house sit in Vermiglio, Italy, a small small town way north on the fringe of the Italian Alps.
We returned again the next year for the same house sit but this time spent a week in Rome. I had tears in my eyes when we were driving from the Trento train station to Vermiglio. It's just a magical place to me, and I can't wait to go back. At the end of that sit, we spent several days in Milan. I'm convinced that every inch of Italy is amazing.
In fact, we were just talking about heading up that way in the summer of 2019, but this time spending a week in Bologna or something. If you have a different idea of where we should go in Italy in 2019, drop us a note in the comments below!
Scotland was a must visit on our first round the world trip way back in 2015. We hiked the West Highland Way and spent time in both Edinburgh and Glasgow and on the Isle of Skye. A truly magical place, Scotland.
We had the fortune to come back the next year for a lovely house sit at a wee cottage in Dalry on the west coast, and from there Jill was able to take a weaving class in Edinburgh while I got parking tickets and drank coffee in cafes.
There are plans afoot to return for a third year in a row (!!!) for a reunion of friends we met while hiking in Nepal in 2013.
On our first round the world trip we made a point to travel to Japan. We both knew we would love it and it totally lived up to its expectations. We hiked the Kumano Kudo and barely wrote a thing about any of it. We are heading back in April of 2018 and hope to rectify what were our lax blogging habits.
This post wouldn't be complete without a short list of countries I can't wait to visit again, but that would be damn near every place on our travel destinations page, plus all the spots we have yet to write about.
More Pics of Our Most Visited Places
Do you have a special place that you can't wait to visit again?