Updated: 04/10/19 | April 10th, 2019

Last year, I talked about how travelers are often chasing ghosts. We revisit places, trying to capture that initial amazingness we felt while we were there.

And most of the time we end up disappointed.

We go back and try to re-create something that can’t be re-created. In a way, we are all like drug addicts, simply trying to chase that first high.

But we can never quite reach it.

After all, it is people who create our memories — not places.

And so last year I vowed never to chase ghosts. It’s why I’ll never go back to Ko Lipe in Thailand, and why I said I would never go back to the Greek island of Ios.

The memories I made in those places were too special, and I knew going back wouldn’t be the same without the people who were there the first time around.

Yet here I am, writing this post from Ios, a place on my “do not return” list.

Yes, I came back here. But it had nothing to do with chasing the ghosts of travels past.

It was my birthday on June 12. I turned 30. In marking that special day, I wanted to go to a place where I knew I could celebrate like I was turning 20.

And I wanted to do it on a beach.

In Europe.

There are a number of places I could have chosen (Lagos, Barcelona, Corfu), but I knew Ios would have everything I wanted.

I’ll admit, I was reluctant to come back. But after a few friends of mine said they would come too, I thought, why not? Even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to recapture those old memories of Ios, I knew I would still have some fun.

After two weeks here, I’ve changed my mind about last year’s post. You can return to a place and still love it.

I’ve had nothing but fun here. The locals remembered me. Many of my friends from last year returned. I’ve made new friends. I’ve learned even more about the island. I don’t regret coming back here at all.

I’ve avoided revisiting a lot of places for fear that I’ll “ruin” my initial experience there and walk away disappointed. For example, in my mind, Ko Lipe is a deserted island where I made lifelong friends.

Going back to a now-developed island teeming with tourists would be something I couldn’t handle.

Paradise lost.

But in some cases, you can go back — you just have to go back for different reasons.

This year, I came back to Ios not because I wanted to chase that high from last year but because I wanted to celebrate my birthday. It’s as simple as that. I didn’t want what I had last year. I wanted to party and ring in my 30th birthday with my friends.

I came here with a different mindset this time, realizing that what I had last year was unique. It can never be re-created, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t come back and make new memories.

Years from now, I probably won’t reminisce about this second trip to Ios like I will the first. Years from now, I probably won’t be talking to people from this trip like I will the first. But I came in recognizing that; I didn’t expect this trip to outshine my first.

Was I chasing ghosts in Ios?

I don’t think so.

Even though I think we as humans are wired to hold onto those highs and try to re-create them, going back to a place you love doesn’t have to be about chasing ghosts. You can return to a destination and just enjoy it for what it is — a good place. But if you expect it to be as good as it was that first time, you will be disappointed in what you find. Instead, come expecting nothing.

Just be there to enjoy a good place as a good place, having a good time without comparing it to the past.

And you’ll leave your ghosts in the past, where they can never haunt your present again.

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Book Your Trip to Greece: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though because they have the biggest reach!

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. My favorite places to stay are:

  • Francesco’s

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

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  • Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)

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Want More Information on Greece?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Greece for even more planning tips!

Random Musings
23.06.2011 / friendships / greece / ios / SHHLR / travel memories
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