One Thing That Causes A Destination To Lose Its 'Sparkle' For Samantha Brown

Samantha Brown says in her blog that one of her favorite parts of travel is arriving in a new place: "When you travel for hours or even days, you have your mind set on the moment of arrival." For Brown, it's all about the thrill of discovery, but unfortunately, that phase of travel doesn't last forever. As a place becomes more familiar, it may begin to lose its sparkle. Seize the initial sparkle, suggests Brown: "Make it a moment to remember by soaking it all in when it is brand new." Be present in those experiences (rather than scrolling through your phone!) and make the most of their freshness and novelty. 

Those first days in a new place, everything seems shiny and more vivid. The strangeness of the landscape jolts the mind, enlivens the senses, makes you notice subtle things you may not notice when you're at home: the unfamiliar scent in the air, the different angle or hue of the sunlight, the way people gesture and how quickly or slowly they walk. Pay attention to these details, and capture them in a photo, blog, or journal entry. These are the travel memories that will be etched in your mind for the rest of your life. 

Ways to seize the sparkle

There are lots of ways to maximize the euphoria that comes with exploring a  new destination. In her blog, Brown says we should "pursue the unexpected" and "leave entire days open for roaming and discovery." This may be difficult for people who like to plan everything out, maybe because time is limited and they don't want to miss out on anything. But it's often the unexpected experiences we have while traveling that are the most rewarding. Maybe you get lost in Venice and end up discovering a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, where you order a dish you've never heard of, and it ends up being the best meal of your vacation. Maybe in that restaurant, you make a new acquaintance who later becomes a dear friend. 

Another thing you can do to make the most of the discovery phase is to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and try new things. "Do something completely out of character," urges Brown. And this doesn't have to mean bungee jumping off the nearest bridge or swimming with sharks, either. If you're a fan of indie rock, pushing your limits could simply mean attending an opera in Verona to experience a whole different genre of music. The key is to break out of your routine and transcend old patterns, which might enhance the allure of a new place and make it last a little longer.  

Sparkle versus deep travel

If you're already feeling comfortable in a place and the sheen begins to fade, don't worry. It just means you're entering a whole new phase of travel — when you begin to see a place for what it really is. If you visit a place enough times, you may even begin to grow roots there, like a plant. And that's when travel experiences can change your life and begin to nourish you on a whole different level.

After visiting a place a few times, you'll discover your favorite nooks and crannies: a park in Paris where you can sit and read for hours, a remote beach in Costa Rica that feels like home, a museum that's part of Oslo's rich art scene that you return to again and again for inspiration. Locals may start to recognize you and call you by name. If you spend enough time in that place, you may begin to absorb some of its customs and even bits of its language. Eventually, the place that used to be a "destination" becomes an extension of your home. As a seasoned explorer myself, I enjoy all the stages of travel discovery and learning. But if I had to choose one, it would be the deep phase rather than the glittery one. Sorry, Samantha.