That is one of the most vexing—and exciting—questions we confront as travelers. Do we return to a favorite place that we know and love? Or do we go someplace new, where everything is a discovery?
There’s no right answer, obviously. We all love the surprising and the familiar. So maybe that’s the answer: Do both. That’s what we at AFAR are doing this fall.
When you return to a place, specific memories feed your anticipation for the trip. (For me in this case, it’s the taste of Leah Chase’s gumbo and the sounds of David Torkanowsky playing piano, among others.) When you arrive, you know you’re not a local, but it’s still ‘your’ place. You’ve made that connection. You go around a corner, and there is another familiar spot.
Then there are the new places. You have images in your mind of what they’ll be like, but you don’t really know what you’re getting into. It’s thrilling. You go around a corner and you have no idea what you’ll stumble onto.
It’s that spirit we’ll bring to Tokyo in November. The city is so enticing yet notoriously difficult for outsiders to penetrate. It will be an ideal showcase for how traveling with AFAR can take you deeper into your destination, as we learn firsthand about the cultural nuances behind omotenashi, Japan’s distinct brand of hospitality.
There are three goals for every AFAR Experiences event: Learn about a place’s history, culture, and contemporary society; connect with locals whom you would never meet on your own; and celebrate, in unique settings, what makes the destination special. Thanks to our partners—New Orleans Tourism, which will welcome us to their home city, and World of Hyatt, which will host us in Tokyo—we’ll get to do all that, with old friends and new.