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Time Travel

My travel bucket list is so extensive that I don’t think I’ll be able to complete it in my own lifetime. That’s what happens when you work in travel. Going back to a place I have already been, then, triggers an upset little voice in my head. “But… we could be seeing one of the thousands of places we’ve never seen before! What about South Africa? Or Antarctica? Or Socotra?” Shhh, little voice. We’ll get there.

In September a friend and I decided to return to Siena, Italy, seven years after spending a summer there as part of a university exchange program. It was a choice based on a number of factors, including flight costs and the geography of meeting each other at a halfway point. It wasn’t my first choice right off the bat. The bucket list voice said “Wait, what about…”, but I silenced it. I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

For starters, there’s no need to spend half a day trying to find your accommodations when you already know the general lay of the land. We couldn’t believe how much directional intuition came flooding back as soon as we stepped off the bus. On our first full day back, we began by seeking out all the things we remembered and missed. I’m not going to lie to you, this is Italy, and most of those things were food based. But some of the nostalgia was unexpected, too. Memories hit as you stand in front of a familiar statue or shop; you didn’t realize they were lodged in the back of your brain, but there they are. Revisiting the site of a memorable trip is the closest thing we have to time travel, until scientists make some serious technological progress. It’s a wonderful experience to think back on a great vacation while being able to recreate some of its elements at the same time.

Nothing stays exactly the same, of course, even in a walled medieval city. But that’s the best part about this kind of trip: something old combined with something new. Revisit your favourite trip sometime—because it’s very important to see how that new gelato place measures up to your old favourite.

Amy is rethinking her old “new trips only” philosophy after her experience in Italy. If you have a past trip you’d like to recreate, let us give you a hand.

Revisiting the site of a memorable trip is the closest thing we have to time travel.

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