Some places you just click with immediately, like they are a part of you that you’ve always been missing. Others, well, they take time to love. I’ve always been honest here on LOM about places that I loved or didn’t love and firmly believe that you aren’t going to love every place you visit. And while there are some place that you might not love immediately, with time and a different perspective, you might just fall for them in the end. The places below all took time for me to love and when I finally did give them a chance, I ended up loving them!
When Nick and I first visited NOLA a few years back, I hated it. We went over Christmas, mistake. We went over the weekend of a huge football game and parties in the streets, mistake. We stayed in the wrong area, mistake. Overall, when it came up as an opportunity to go back last October for my birthday weekend, I knew we had to look at the city differently. And that change of perspective (and changing how we explored the city) made all the difference. We went during a better time of year. We stayed in a different hotel in a different area. We ignored all the chaos on Bourbon Street and stayed on the quieter French Quarter streets. We embraced the food and the culture and the architecture and it made all the difference. New Orleans for me is a place that I walked away loving the second time, but it’s a place where I find that I just have to ignore a lot of the stuff I don’t like to enjoy, but knowing that allows me to really enjoy visits to this famous city.
Lesson Learned: Change your perspective and ignore what you don’t like.
One of Nick and I’s first international trips together was to Rome. Long story short, we didn’t have a good trip and didn’t like Rome at all, which in turn turned us off of Italy all together for several years. Years later, we decided to give Rome another shot and fell in love. We learned that enjoying Rome was down to a few things we hadn’t done on our first trip: staying in local areas more than tourist ones, embracing long meals, wandering down cobblestone streets and getting lost. Truly Italy in general is better when you don’t have too many plans, when you can wander and linger, when you can go where the Italians go. Our subsequent trips to Italy have been so much better doing it that way and it’s made us fall in love with the country all that much more.
Lesson Learned: Let go of the plans in places that are better explored more spontaneously.
When we visited Lisbon at the tail-end of our trip through Spain a few years back, upon arrival we didn’t really love the “falling apart” city we had before us. Lisbon is truly falling apart and the buildings and streets and shops do feel like one hard wind might knock them over. And sometimes that age can make you feel like it’s dirty and just old, without the charm that most European cities have with upkeep of their destinations. But, I will tell you, something magical happened over the span of a few hours in Lisbon. We started finding the charm and letting go of our preconceived notions of what Europe should be. Sometimes we get too in our heads about what a destination should be and then the result disappoints us. When we looked beyond our expectations, we found a city that was beautiful and charming.
Lesson Learned: Let go of your perceived notions of what a place should be.
I have a long and often tumultuous relationship with Hawaii. My time living there were some of the hardest years of my life personally and it wasn’t until years later on many trips a year to Hawaii for work that I finally began to fall in love with the Islands. Now when I visit, I truly see the beauty of Hawaii but it’s a place and a relationship that has taken years to cultivate and I’ve realized that some places aren’t going to be love at first sight, some take a long time to cultivate an appreciation for and that’s totally ok.
Lesson Learned: Give yourself time to cultivate a relationship with places that don’t immediately blow you away.