Sometimes it’s like the place you’ve never been to before actually isn’t so unfamiliar after all. A sort of comfort covers you, even while traveling you know what to do, you’ve seen this before.

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Sometimes that feeling manifests itself into a more jaded attitude. Each street, building, bar and taxi driver run together until the names and geographical boundaries are unclear and the thrill of travel washes away. Nothing is new.

You’re likely to feel both sentiments at some point during your travels. When I first came to Italy I had never even been on a train or subway before. Now, of course, it’s a daily fact of life and if I were to someday visit Paris the public transportation would no longer be a novel part of the city. Like Polo mentioned in Invisible Cities, it’s only possible to see a destination with the idea of all of your other experiences in mind. You cannot separate them, your memories will serve as a bias, layering one on top of the other as you see and experience more things, more lands.

But it’s not just about seeing, it’s about learning, and I think noticing patterns shows that we actually have absorbed something during our trips. In New York City last summer I was thrilled when I saw a Middle Eastern mosaic archway in the Met that looked very similar to my memory of an Egyptian archway in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. Though the picture proves they are not as equal as my memory thought they were, the sensation of Berlin while in New York City was fantastic. Sometimes your travels will repeat themselves. And sometimes that’s no problem at all.

Written by ginamussio

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