Last year I pitched a fairly simply story idea: what happens when you return to a place you’ve already been?
I had recently come across travelers with an unusual, to me, sentiment: they avoid returning to a place out of fear of spoiling their memories. But what about, I argued, the freedom that comes with returning to a familiar place where you’ve seen all the sights? Where you’ve explored the central neighborhoods and can venture out to see where locals live? Where the pressure to “see and do” is gone because you’ve already seen and done?
This debate inspired a story for the AAA magazines (Tidewater Traveler, Texas Journeys, Westways) about returning to Florence after 10 years.
During my first visit, I was a backpacker in my early 20s, counting coins to see if I had enough money for a single scoop of gelato. On the return visit, I was in my early 30s, at a different stage in life. Different priorities. Different worries. Different dreams. Same city.
The return visit prompted memories of who I had been when I first set foot in Florence. Unplanned, I walked by piazzas where I’d spent afternoons writing in my journal and crossed bridges where I’d dreamed about building a future as a writer. Being in Florence again allowed me to consider the changes of the past decade, to compare who I was with who I thought I would be.
Click the link above to read the complete feature about my return trip to Florence, including choosing to do things that my younger self would only have dreamed of doing: going truffle hunting, meeting a winemaker for a guided tasting, and entering an artisan perfumery for a workshop.