Every seasoned traveler is familiar with this conundrum: when it comes time to choose your next destination, do you go somewhere new, or somewhere you’ve been before and already fallen in love with?
There’s a strong draw to return to places you love. There are always new discoveries to make, old favorites to revisit. Unless you up and move there, you can probably never get enough of them.
And yet, nothing gives me a kick quite like going somewhere new. Being surrounded by a completely unfamiliar environment sharpens your senses and brings you more fully into the present moment. It’s a heady and powerful sensation – one that may be just a teensy bit addictive.
So how to decide?
Sometimes, the best solution for this dilemma is secret option #3: share one of your beloved destinations with someone who’s never been there before. You gift them your passion and your knowledge of how to ride the subway, and in return, you get to experience your surroundings through their eyes. Viewed through that lens, everything familiar becomes fresh again; their observations deepen yours; their curiosity pushes you to uncover more. And since joy is contagious, it’s impossible not to share their excitement. You might even feel like you’re visiting for the first time yourself – or like a kid on Christmas morning.
One of my greatest pleasures in life is introducing Paris – my favorite place on Earth – to someone visiting it for the first time. And I’ve recently discovered that same joy in sharing my home city with new visitors. Although I never truly get tired of seeing the landmarks of Washington as I go about my days, sometimes a reminder from a newbie can “top up” the enthusiasm tank. Last month I led some tours of DC for elementary and middle school kids who had never been to the city before. The moment they got their first glimpse of the US Capitol Dome and the Washington Monument, their spontaneous chorus of WOW! was enough to make even a “repeat tourist” like me smile.
It’s that kind of moment – one of unadulterated delight – that we travelers chase after.
So if you need someone to go to Paris with you for your first visit, call me.