Different reasons for revisiting Places. And on finding resolution

Different reasons for revisiting Places.Different reasons for revisiting Places.

Lissette and I are back together after a few months of travelling separately. Besides spending some time with my son in Montreal and with my mother in Mexico, I had a 5 week trip through Morocco. During that time Lissette went back to her favorite place – Split (Croatia).

We had different reasons for wanting to visit each.

Going to Morocco was a challenge. I had been there in the 1980’s (when I was 17 years old) visiting with my mother and her 2nd husband. What I remember from Morocco was being traumatized. I remembered insistent beggars with leprosy, others with some kind of eye disease (big bulging white eyes that were milky and runny). In my memory – which I’m sure is nowhere close to reality – I just remember all these beggars with their hands out, some grabbing at me. It was like a bad zombie movie. I lived for a few years in southern Africa as a child and had never felt culture shock. But Morocco (specifically Marrakech) was the most intense place I had been and for the first time in my life I felt it. We were only there a week but I remember one day when I had had enough. I stayed at the hotel and lounged around the pool all day. I didn’t want to go out.

visiting Marrakech in 1984

Above: Looking awkward in Marrakech (1984)

So when Lissette and I talked about doing solo trips I had Morocco at the top of the list. I just felt that I had to re-visit Morocco. I’ve previously written about why people should take the time to travel solo (I’m linking that post at the bottom). One of them is to challenge themselves. There were many reasons that I wanted to see Morocco: it’s exotic, colourful, it has amazing geography and many opportunities for adventure. But the main reason I wanted to visit Morocco was to redeem myself from that trip many, many years ago.

Lissette wanted to go back to Split for a couple of reasons. The first is that she loves Split (regular readers know that we lived there for a full year and considered working towards permanent residency in Croatia). But she also had her own nagging thoughts. Going back to Split was for her like returning to an old relationship. Would she fall in love with it all over, or would it just bring back nostalgia and old memories? Did she view Split with rose-tinted glasses? (I wrote about our different memories of having Split as a base here).

So we both had different trips for different reasons.

 

Different reasons, similar conclusions

I’m happy I spent 5 weeks in Morocco. I saw some incredible geography, some stunning sites, and met some nice people along the way.

It took me a few days initially to get into the “Morocco mindset”. But I did and I got increasingly comfortable. I travelled solo through most of the country, taking public transport along the way. My best “people” experiences were on these long bus trips. Like in most places the nicest people are those not in the tourism industry.

I feel I redeemed myself on this trip. I could come back and travel comfortably in Morocco. Did I love Morocco? No, I don’t feel that I have the need to come back. But if Lissette wants to visit one day I’ll happily be her tour guide.

 

Related: My Best (and Worst) of Morocco

 

desert in Merzouga, Morocco. Different reasons for revisiting Places

 

Lissette is much more emotional about places than I am. Coming back to Split and spending the holidays there was difficult for her. In some ways her fears came true as she sometimes re-lived memories from a year ago. But revisiting Split by herself also allowed her to see things a bit more clearly and resolved issues that had been nagging at her. A few days ago we got on that ferry to Italy and this time there were no tears. Maybe it took this trip to get over Split. That’s not to say that she (or we) will never go back to Split – but if she does it will be as a visitor and without the pangs of loss that she previously felt.

tugboat in Split, Croatia

 

We both had different reasons for going back to Morocco and Croatia. Both were challenges in different ways but we both felt that we needed resolution. I think now – more than ever – we look forward to another year of full-time travel and of discovering new destinations.

 

Plans for the next 3 months: Puglia (Italy), Northern Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey.

 

Related: Why you should travel solo, even if in a relationship

 

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Different reasons for revisiting Places. And on finding resolution

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16 Comments

  1. Sounds like your first trip to Morocco was traumatic and I can totally understand why it took you many decades to return. Loved the photo of you and your mom. (I think we saw those very same vendors in Marrakesh. ? ) It was interesting to find out the Lissette had a “been there, done that” reaction to Split after her recent visit and you both must feel re-energized with the time apart as well as closing chapters and rethinking experiences from previous countries. Onward to future adventures!

    1. Thanks for the comment Anita. We’ve had a lot going on in the last little while and I’ll be addressing that in an upcoming post. Expect a lot more adventures is all I’ll say at the moment!

    1. We were actually away from each other 8 weeks taking into account my visits to Montreal and Mexico. Longest we’ve ever been apart. But yes, happy to be back together and looking forward to some new destinations 🙂

    1. I don’t know, Lissette said the same thing! 🙂 So far people in Puglia really nice.
      What part of Italy is your family from Ivana?

  2. It’s great that Spanky has been able to resolve her feelings about Split. I like what Tony said above about there always being a serpent in paradise and finding the one we can live with. Looking forward to the new adventures of the new year! Bulgaria especially.. on our radar.

    1. Very true, no place is perfect. Thank you for the comment Kemkem – we’re happy to be in Italy but look forward to Greece, Bulgaria, and especially Turkey….

  3. I ❤️ Croatia. Spent one month in Split and one month in Rovinj (Istrian peninsula). I could live in either place IF Croatia allowed it but they don’t! We’ve been travelling for seven years. My fave city is San Sebastián, 2nd is Split and 3rd is Rovinj. We’ll be settling in Norfolk IF England allows me to immigrate even though I’m married to a Brit.

    1. Hi Jann,
      San Sebastián – never been and you’re the 1st who’s mentioned it as one of their favorites. I googled it and it looks stunning, with a geography almost like Split’s (it seems to me). We’ve have to check it out, I’ve mentioned that Spain is probably the place we want to have as a base in the future.
      As far as Croatia is concerned, it is possible to live there but it’s complicated. We stayed there for a year as temporary residents which was easy. But extending for a 2nd year was more complicated and working towards permanent residency was even more complicated. The major “no” for me was having to be in Croatia 10 out of 12 months of the year for the 5 years. I wrote about all that here.
      Thanks for the San Sebastián tip and for taking the time to comment!

  4. A very good brief Frank, on what seems to be a ‘common’ eventuality … that with Time, and familiarity, our preferred “Paradises” lose some of their initial shine and attraction, sometimes to the extent that we may wonder what all the emotions and excitement were all about in the first place ? Or is it that the proverbial serpent in Paradise * gets bigger and more difficult to accept ? (* Old Proverb : “Every place is a potential Paradise, but there is always a serpent in Paradise. Its just a question of choosing which serpent we can accept and live with !) Nevertheless, we are sorry that Lissette has ‘gotten over’ Split – although it will be fascinating and a lot of fun to see where next she will hang her hat. Wishing you great Travels ahead .

    1. Thanks for the comment Tony. I think Lissette will always have a bit of Split in her heart. But time away and then coming back with clearer eyes I think made her more open to the negatives…
      We both think Split is one of the most beautiful places we’ve been. But nothing has changed since I wrote those posts on extending temporary residence or working towards permanent residency. And in the end why give your heart to a place where you’re always going to have to say goodbye?

  5. Glad you both have been able to revisit and see things clearly. Loved the old photo! Kinda scary looking, not you, the locals hahaha. Other than Casablanca, a total shit-show, I’ve liked each place, but not enough to revisit. Right now I am in El Jadida and I think I’ve found my Moroccan getaway. I’ll let you know after I’ve changed apartments in a few days 😉

    1. El Jadida – we had small stop on the bus trip from Casablanca to Essouira. So you like it? I’ve heard people say it’s a good, non-touristy alternative to Essouira.
      For me the mosque was not enough reason to visit Casablanca. And the mosque itself too modern for my taste.
      Have fun Paula!

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