November 16, 2014

5 Places That Draw Me Back

As travelers, we have lists of all shapes and sizes.  It's almost a prerequisite in the travel blogging sphere that you have several bucket lists for every situation imaginable.  Top 5 Before 35?  Written.  10 Essentials I Don't Travel Without?  Done.  101 Most Beautiful Places You Must See Before You Die or You Are a Total and Utter Failure at Traveling?  Apparently travel-shaming is a real thing, folks!

In the quest to rack up the number of new places we've explored, we rarely consider what places we've seen to which we'd like to return someday, and for some, even just thinking about going somewhere you've already been is a ridiculous thought.  What?  Go back to a place already checked off your bucket list when there are so many other places you haven't been to yet?  Are you crazy?

But sometimes a place speaks to your wanderlusting heart like a soulmate, calling you back to explore more of what it has to offer.  What five places draws you back for more? wants to know and is hosting a promotional giveaway in which you could win an iPhone 6!

So what's my "do-over" list?

I've made no secret of my love affair with all things German.  Although I have German heritage through my mother's family, I never identified strongly with it until my first visit to the land of pretzels, beer, and castles in 2010 for our honeymoon.  It was love at first sight, taste, and exploration!  I've now spent a cumulative 47 days over three different trips to Germany, but we've barely scraped the surface of what Bayern (Bavaria) and Baden-W├╝rttemberg have to offer - let alone the rest of the country.  From the fairy-tale spires of Neuschwanstein Castle to the brooding shadows of the Black Forest and from the elegant opulence of the W├╝rzburg Residenz to the joyous exultation of the Germans over a World Cup win, Germany has my heart and is our European home.  Thankfully I married a half-German so I can have a little piece of this country with me wherever I go!

Perhaps it was the spontaneity of the trip by booking on one night and flying out the next.  Perhaps it was because it was the first time I'd traveled solo internationally.  Perhaps it's because I spent little more than 48 hours there.  Or perhaps it was because London was just flat-out amazing, but its inclusion on this list was a no-brainer.  Exploring the Tower, walking by Big Ben like it was no big deal, strolling through St. James Park and staying in a posh hotel on Gracechurch Street - my expectations and anticipation of London were far surpassed by reality!  As much as I was able to see in so short a time, there are still plenty of things I want to do: visit King's Cross Station, see more of the British Museum, see Scotland Yard, have a proper English tea, and see stellar views of the city from the London Eye.  I adored London, and I want to see more of her!

I am honored to say that Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, was my first international experience back in 2007.  The warmth of its people and the beauty of its land calls me to return and introduce my husband to the friends and adventures I met there!  A wildlife safari in Murchison Falls national park along the banks of the Nile river in northern Uganda is a must-do experience, combined with a cruise up the river itself.  I'd love to go get a glimpse of the silver-back gorillas in the jungles of southwestern region of the country and maybe finally see a lion!  My return itinerary would also include time in the capitol, Kampala, to visit with the friends I made there seven years ago.

Oh, bella Italia, you surprised me - in more ways than one!  While I wasn't a fan of the Italian public transportation system, our day spent on the coast near Sorrento was undeniably magical.  Crystal-clear water, blue skies, warm sun, oh - and swimming in ancient ruins?  Take me back now!  Next time I'd want to picnic on the volcanic rock as we feast our eyes on Mt Vesuvius across the water and venture further down the Amalfi coast to explore Positano.  There are some Greek ruins at Paestum, and maybe we could finally make the pricey trip to Capri and the Blue Grotto.  Wherever or whatever we do in Campania, it's sure to please!

"Carry me back to old Virginia..."  When all is said and done, one place will always draw me back, and that's my beautiful home state of Virginia, located on the east coast of the United States.  We have almost every landscape you could possibly want: the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Atlantic Ocean, the forested banks of the James or Shenandoah Rivers, the bustling streets of Arlington and Northern Virginia, the historic sites of Jamestown and Williamsburg, and the longest waterfall east of the Mississippi at Crabtree FallsRichmond in particular is one place that will constantly surprise you - in a good way! - and was even featured as a Top 2014 Destination by Frommer's.  If you're bored in Virginia, it's your own fault.  We have festivals of all shapes and sizes, breweries, vineyards, and good eats.  While I dream and wonder about living in another corner of the world, I know that no matter where I roam, Virginia will always be my home and I'll always be a Virginia girl.

What five places would you like to revisit?

I specifically challenge Camila of The Things I Am Crazy For, Diana of Life in German, Adelina of Pack Me To, Danielle of The Lifestyle Project, and Katie of From Shores to Skylines to name their top five places to revisit!  (For more details, you can read about the giveaway here!)

Linking up with Chasing the Donkey for the #SundayTraveler!


  1. Great post! I'm not one for bucket lists, and I think it's great to return to old faves, although I also think it's important to challenge ourselves to explore old faves more deeply each time. My old faves are: 1) Jamaica (our second home), 2) Turkey, 3) Bermuda (my fave place in the world so far), 4) Copenhagen (a new favorite), 5) California (all day!). Now that I think of it, 5 isn't enough! I'd also add Brazil and of course, Panama since that's where many of my fondest childhood memories took place.

  2. I love your list. And that's true that in the world of bucket lists and people's willingness to explore the new, we often forget about the old and fantastic that we've already seen. I'm not the one for bucket lists, although somewhere there, in my mind, there still are places that I'd love to see some day. But there are also places that I'd love to return to one day. And London is also such a place for me ;) I've been there three times so far and could get back a hundred more ;)

  3. Germany one of our favorite countries and a country that often gets overlooked for 'sexier' neighbors like Italy and France. But the people are great and the architecture and castles fantastic. Love the romantic little towns. So we're also big fans.
    Frank (bbqboy)

  4. My gosh, I have not been to any of these places. I must remedy that stat!

  5. Love your list! It's so interesting - because I feel as a traveller I often don't want to go back to places I've already seen because there are so many new places to see. And yet, indeed there are those places that draw us back! Thanks for the nom by the way! :) Post is coming shortly!

  6. SJ Begonja, you should come and visit Jinja, Uganda cause it is the adventure capital of the WORLD! You can raft with Nile River Explorers; go horseback riding, quad bike with All Terrain Adventures, kayak with Kayak the River Nile, and so much more! Pearl of Africa Tours and Travel Ltd would be happy to offer additional information on visiting this and other sites in Uganda.


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