The affection that comes with familiarity versus the energy of an unfamiliar destination

Only two of the nine countries we visited in the last six months were new to us, places we hadn’t been before and were experiencing for the first time. Obviously, as travel writers, it’s inevitable that we end up returning to places time and time again, particularly as we develop expertise in certain places, as my husband Terence and I have with the Middle East where we’ve been based since 1998.

But while I love the excitement and energy of the new and relish opportunities to get out of our comfort zone and go somewhere we haven’t been before (there’s nothing quite like that first drive from an airport into a new city, is there?), I also enjoy returning to places we’ve been before, some times many times before.

Because there is a certain affection that grows over time as you become more familiar with a place, don’t you think? The more you visit, even if you’re not exactly besotted by the destination, the more you come to develop a bundle of warm feelings for it. And when you return… well, it’s just like seeing an old friend again. Love them or hate them, you just want to hug them!

What do you think? Know those feelings? Which do you prefer? The familiarity that comes with the known or the excitement of the unfamiliar?

Pictured? Dubai, the closest thing I have to a home, and a place I love more and more each time I return after being away.