Looking back on my travels I can recall the good times and the bad in pretty much every place that I have visited. Getting sick in China but having an amazing time at the panda center of Chengdu. Eating amazing food in Italy but being rained out during my entire stay in Venice. Heat exhaustion in Cairo while exploring the beautiful Muhammad Ali mosque. But as time goes on, the bad experiences seem to fade away and my recollection turns only to the positive.
Looking Back on the Travel Memories
It is an interesting phenomena that poor travel memories fade away while only the good remain. I can easily say that Paris was not one of my favorite cities when I was there, but after being away for several years I am yearning to go back. Why? I can't tell you because I honestly don't know. There wasn't anything about the city that I disliked, but nothing that called out to me to make it a favorite like Koh Lipe, Thailand or Wadi Rum, Jordan. But now whenever I talk about the City of Lights, I always seem to think of it as being amazing even though I know I did not think that while I was there.
Maybe it is the feeling of not doing a place justice that brings out more positive memories and draws me back into wanting to see it again. With the exception of one city, every destination I have visited that was not as amazing as I would have liked still had some fun things to do that I am happy to have experienced. The only city I cannot say that I have positive memories from is Berlin, and even then I think it was mostly due to the parts of the city I decided to explore as I missed out on some of the major components that everyone calls their favorites, such as the nightlife.
Somehow my brain tells me that if I try a place I wasn't in love with again something new might pop up and turn it into one of my favorite spots. I haven't tried this theory out yet but I have a feeling that going back and hitting only the best parts of a destination will make for better memories. This would leave time to avoid the places I did not enjoy and allow ample time to discover new and exciting aspects I missed the first go around.
More importantly, the root cause of this phenomena could be entirely simplistic. A mediocre experience on the road is often infinitely better than most you can have at home. I'll take heat exhaustion in Cairo for a day if it means that I get to explore beautiful mosques and pyramids. A less thrilling city still has enjoyable attractions, and those are much more exciting than staying at home, working, and doing the same old routine. Unfortunately, it requires the returning home part to truly understand how much more enjoyable travel is, as several months doing a daily routine will make all experiences better by perspective.
Do you have a destination you didn't care for while there, but only have positive feelings of now that you are moved on? Let us know by commenting below!