Setting: Qwench Juice Bar on Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, California. “Do you have a punch card?” the barista at asks.
I shake my head no. Pre-coffee, the cutesy spelling of the bar’s name is about as much as I can handle.
“You should probably get a card”, she suggests helpfully. “You were here yesterday”.
Yesterday I was wearing a ponytail and a dress. Today, it’s pants and a t-shirt, and my hair falls on my shoulders in messy half-hearted curls. I mentally applaud the barista’s memory for faces, but still decline the punch card, saying that today is probably the last time I’d ever be in this coffee shop. Barista seems offended, so I hurry to explain that I live in a different country.
She presses on:
“So, you’d never come back here?”. I still do not want a punch card, but her question takes me by surprise. I pause.
Will I ever return?
The coffee bar is walking distance from my friend’s house who currently lives in Hollywood, but moves often. The coffee bar has friendly staff (with good memory for faces) and mediocre coffee.
Of course, I’d rather take a bitch barista with an attitude problem, as long as what she hands me is sublime. My mind drifts to a latte at Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz that french kisses your whole mouth, and shuts off the brain all at the same time.
Coming back to a place you have been to is a sticky subject for a travel junkie with commitment issues. It’s about opportunity cost – every place I come back to means a new place that I do not get to visit instead. Yet, as my style of travelling evolves, and I increasingly prefer slow travel, coming back starts to appeal more. There is something liberating about the initial sweep of the country, about getting the obvious touristy things out of the way.
Taj Mahal is… breath-taking. You should go. However, Taj Mahal is also located in Agra, a dirty loud otherwise unremarkable town, truly the armpit of India. Done and done.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is… pretty awesome. The town of Pisa itself brings crowds of tourists and unforgivably mediocre for Italy food. Check.
Eiffel Tower – pretty. Yet, after having been to Paris multiple times, the city and I just do not get along. The vibe is all wrong, and I’d rather spend some time exploring smaller villages in the south of France.
Will I ever return?
There are many layers to this question.
Will I ever return to California? Of course. [Sooner than I thought I would].
Qwench Coffee and Juice Bar on Sunset Blvd. with a view on Hollywood High School that looks like an undersized prison? Probably not.
YOUR TURN: Do you love coming back? Or do you prefer new places every time?