Metatalktail Hour: Return July 22, 2017 6:46 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! This week's conversation starter is from Wordshore, and he wants to know, "Where have you been that you want to return to? And why? Maybe a holiday place, a difficult-to-reach island, the city where you found love, a childhood playground, that diner you stopped at one time, a beach, or that quiet forest with only the sounds of trees and animals. Or, perhaps somewhere closer to home (or maybe even your home itself)."

As always, talk about whatever you like (conversation starter, not limiter!), avoid politics, and send suggestions for future weeks along!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 6:46 PM (108 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

London. Any time I can get there.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 6:56 PM on July 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

When I was 12 years old we lived in an apartment complex in Dallas, TX and this one time I had come home from the library with a Terry Pratchett Discworld novel, Mort. This specific book cover. My parents had to run out with my sister to do some grocery shopping. So I had an entire apartment to myself and lots of quiet. I grabbed a chair and a blanket and went to read outside on the little balcony patio we had. There was a storm brewing. And the air had that electric smell and it was kind of dark. Sitting on that patio and reading Mort. I want to go back to that specific moment. I wish I could have bottled that smell. I think with every fantasy book I read, I try to recapture a little bit of that moment, that just before the storm, reading a book with no one to bother me magic.
posted by Fizz at 6:57 PM on July 22, 2017 [41 favorites]

posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:58 PM on July 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

"I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster."

But after many years, I have learned how to walk in those cities again, with my ghosts. I'm not sad; there's a child or two with me, and I'm too busy keeping them in order to dwell in other days. Anyway, it's hard to stay in a reverie of those feelings in the face of "My feet hurt!" and "Sidewalks are bumpy, geez!"

My hometown is a place I dislike visiting. It was once historic without being particularly quaint, and now it has become gentrified and corporately quaint (the original drugstore now houses a Starbucks, and the old factory has been converted to workspace/weekend festival grounds). There's no there there to go back to. But one perfect moment? Hunting around in the fields as a kid, poking around the stream for crayfish, and the discovery of a deer antler, like bone, like Wyeth colors, like a treasure.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:20 PM on July 22, 2017 [8 favorites]

I'd like to be back on the overnight ferry from Aberdeen to Orkney and Shetland. This time of year, when the sea's pretty good and sunset's still late enough that you're out of sight of land, so you can go up to the top deck and watch the sun going down with nothing but sea on all sides. Sleep under soft Shetland wool blankets, wake up early to see the shapes of islands coming out of the sea and the seabirds whirling and diving before the ship pulls into port at Lerwick.
posted by Catseye at 7:37 PM on July 22, 2017 [18 favorites]

Zion Canyon. I was there with my 80 year old mother so our hiking was limited to pavement. I drooled over hikes hike Angel's Landing and others. Some day.

But really right now I'm in the place I always want to return to. A cottage in Quebec that has been in my wife's family since the 1920s. I resisted coming up here when we were dating. Why the hell would I drive ten hours to sit in a cottage? Then, when we got engaged, I decided it was time and I immediately fell in love with the place. This is my 20th season and my son is the fourth generation of the family to come up here.

Crystal clear water in the lakes (the same stuff that comes out of the tap) and so many great friends. We have more friends here than we do at home and we're far more social. People up here come from all over Canada and the states.

Thanks to a new tower, this is the first year anyone has had cell service up here and it's weird to be texting people, talking on the phone, and occasionally checking up on things. I have to ration the 500mb plan I bought though. Also, as far as work is concerned, I'm off the grid.
posted by bondcliff at 7:39 PM on July 22, 2017 [9 favorites]

When my parents got divorced, my mom had to find a place to live for cheap. We were out in the country, and she managed to find a little unassuming house with a two acre lawn for a surprisingly low rent. The landlord liked to use his chainsaw and riding mower, so all summer he'd mow our lawn for us, and he'd give us firewood all winter. We only had three or four other neighbors, three of whom were farms. My best friend lived two houses away. Everything else was forest. Sometimes we would see whole herds of deer in the morning.

If I could go back to any place, it would be that house. If I could go back to one moment, it would be when I was 8 years old. There was a thunderstorm coming, and I remember seeing the sky turn slate gray and keep getting darker and darker. The air felt like a coming storm, hot and humid. There was a big tree not far out back from our house, and I'll never forget standing in the back door of the basement, looking out at that tree, which was lit up with the very last of the sunlight. Against the darkening sky, it glowed.

I would give anything to live in a modest little brick house like that and experience that moment again and again in perpetuity.

That whole area was eventually turned into developments. All the farms were sold and turned into places with names like "Willow Glen" or "James' Farm," evoking the glens and farms that used to be there. We drove through the area a few years ago, and I didn't recognize any of it.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:45 PM on July 22, 2017 [19 favorites]

Snowmobiling in Yellowstone. Super awesome.
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:45 PM on July 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Namibia. It was an incredible trip, at a fantastic time in my life. The desert was incredible, the high plains, the ancient mountains. I felt really grounded there and having hours to spend just in nature, being, quietened many internal voices/narratives.

I'd also love to go back to Japan, it was a bit of a dream trip for me, and was everything I'd hoped for and more. There's just so much in Japan, I felt I only scratched the surface.

On a more metaphysical level, have I ever wanted to go back to a person I was before today? It's a tough one, I've had some challenges in the last few years both external and internal which have left me wondering if I'm weaker for them. I think I am, in many ways. And yet... Is it possible to be a weaker, better version of yourself? I think maybe.
posted by smoke at 7:45 PM on July 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

Where have you been that you want to return to?

The womb?
posted by octobersurprise at 7:46 PM on July 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Warsaw and Krakow to see if thing have changed like I noticed happening in Prague over the years. Also pierogis.

Paris for a proper baguette, Barcellona and Madrid for the tapas and paella.

Lisbon to see what was under all the tarps as they prepared for the '98 World Expo. And also to see if that park down the street from the HI Hostel still has an unusually high percentage of male public masturbators or if I could read Don Quixote in peace nowadays.

Vieste on the Pugliese coastline since we spent 5 out of 7 vacation days there in the pediatric hospital for 4 stitches above my now 4.5yo's eyebrow followed by vomiting that wasn't due to head trauma, but a gastro bug going around that then hit me followed closely by Hubs.
posted by romakimmy at 7:48 PM on July 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

There are so many awesome places, it's hard to pick one, but I'm going to go with Hawaii as #1 on the list. It is the friendliest and most beautiful place I've ever been to. There's tons of stuff I like to do, including opportunities to indulge my inexplicable fascination with volcanoes.
posted by jazzbaby at 7:48 PM on July 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

I just got back from Artscape, a free art festival Baltimore puts on every summer. I've lived here eight years and never convinced myself to go, mainly because it's the hottest, humidest part of July. But this year, Gogol Bordello was headlining Saturday night, and no way was I missing a free Gogol Bordello show.

So I finally went, and it was pretty awesome. It also turned out to be a drizzly summer evening, so less hot and less crowds than usual. And the rain was still going strong until just before Gogol Bordello went on, so I scored a spot right at the front a mere 25 minutes before their set, beside a probably 70 year old superfan who has seen them over a dozen times in various states.

The show was amazing - if you can see Gogol Bordello live, do. And now I am happily looking forward to returning to Artscape next year, heat be damned!
posted by the primroses were over at 7:53 PM on July 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

We were a military family and we transferred to Wiesbaden. We had an apartment, "On the economy," as they called it back then, until our military quarters were available. We lived in a third story walk up apartment, just across Taunusstrasse from the Kur Park. This is where the Roman Baths were, and there are hot springs in the park. There was a bakery on the main floor of our building, with Käsekuchen and bauernbrot. Taunusstrasse was cobblestone, and we walked all the way up into the edge of the Taunus Mountains, there was an Orthodox Church, with golden onion domes. We would take a water powered trolley up to the Opelbad to swim.

I would love to walk the edge of the Taunus again, and go up to Feldberg to sit among the grass hummocks. There is a specious silence in that area. Torrents of Spring, one of Turgenev's books describes that very area and horseback riding along that trail off of Taunus Strasse. A robin sang all night at times, outside my bedroom window. My window looked down into a courtyard, backed by a hillside and cherry trees.
posted by Oyéah at 7:58 PM on July 22, 2017 [7 favorites]

Boston. I was with an asshole who ruined that entire experience for me. It was a million years ago.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:58 PM on July 22, 2017 [7 favorites]

I've been fortunate enough that my family was able to travel a good bit while I was in my pre-teens and teens, so we've seen a good bit of the world, and I want to take my family abroad, too.

That said, we didn't do much intra-national tourism, which I have had the chance to correct with my wife, and at times, her parents. We've taken a few cross-country road trips and I've now driven through much more of the country than I had seen before, except while flying over. Driving past is a bit more involved, but we haven't had a chance to stop as much as I'd like.

Really, I just want to travel more with my family. There's a world of places to (re)visit, even within an hour of two of home.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:00 PM on July 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

The floor of Death Valley, way out on Mesquite Flat, near the Cottonwood Mnts, near dusk. Watching the sunset fade in absolute silence. I solo backpacked the length of the park a few years ago. Someday I will go back and re-experience that feeling of total and profoundly peaceful isolation.
posted by not_the_water at 8:25 PM on July 22, 2017 [6 favorites]

Boston. I was with an asshole who ruined that entire experience for me. It was a million years ago

You came to Boston and only met one asshole?
posted by bondcliff at 8:35 PM on July 22, 2017 [12 favorites]

the discovery of a deer antler, like bone, like Wyeth colors, like a treasure

MonkeyToes - in case it's of interest, I found out today the post office has Andrew Wyeth stamps.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:42 PM on July 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

I want to go back to the Jersey shore. It's been 3 years this week since I was there, and it was truly lovely. In a lot of ways it was the end of an era for me. I miss it. I miss a lot of things.
posted by limeonaire at 9:07 PM on July 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

London. Any time I can get there.

Same here, to the point where we are taking out 7 year old there in August (after he endures York, Warwick, and so on). It will be a Thing for sure.

Any tips are welcome.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:08 PM on July 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'd like to go back to the mid-late 90s internet.

Don't get me wrong, I fucking love how far tech has come now - it still blows my mind I can be in a car and watch my progress on a phone as we drive down the road, for example. But at the time. . . in some ways it felt like a small, "secret" society of like minded people and knowledge which required just a little bit of know how and effort to access and explore, and the more you were willing to invest the more it exploded in opportunity and wonder. Kind of like visiting an amazing, huge library - especially in the days of the physical card catalog. I felt the same way about myself. I was in my teens then, and the amount of sheer possibility and awe at the internet and its potential matched my feelings about the sheer possibility and awe of my future and my potential. And everything was happening so fast, so much evolution and change in such a short amount of time. . . it matched how I felt about my own prospects and life.

I wouldn't say I've been disappointed or anything, but it was just a particular moment in time that happened at a particular moment of my own maturity that was just kind of amazing and unique to experience.
posted by barchan at 9:21 PM on July 22, 2017 [25 favorites]

I don't look back too often - not least because there isn't much in the past that I miss. I'm much more interested in "Where else is a cool place to go? Where have I not yet been, what have I not yet seen?" There are so many wonderful sights to see in the world, and only limited time and money....

I think the only place I really have an urge to return to is western North Carolina - probably not to stay there, but certainly to visit. As amazing as the American west is, the Smoky Mountains have their own charm, and I really miss leaf season; seeing those vivid reds and oranges and yellows against the crisp blue sky, and feeling that bracing nip in the air, never fails to fill me with joy. Although I didn't grow up there, only moved there as an adult and only stayed for 15 years, that part of the world feels more like "home" to me than anywhere else.

On a smaller, more immediate scale, I enjoy returning to a specific campground near Portland. It has the perfect combination of great campsites, a fantastic lake, and an absolutely unbeatable view. Not that it's the only campground in that general area I want to visit, but it's definitely a favorite.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:22 PM on July 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

I would really like, as a fully-grown adult, to go spend at least a few weeks in Gothenburg Sweden again. I lived in a suburb 1988-89, usually spent several days a week in the city, visited again in 1999 but only very briefly. I'd like to soak in it again.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:24 PM on July 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

The floor of Death Valley
posted by not_the_water

posted by Greg_Ace at 9:36 PM on July 22, 2017 [12 favorites]

My grandmother's kitchen on Christmas Eve when I was a kid.
posted by ilovewinter at 9:37 PM on July 22, 2017 [14 favorites]

There are so many places in Poland I'd love to go back to - I lived there from 2008 to 2012. I had never really lived in a place with such an easily-accessible level of forest and countryside before, and it was all excellent value. Now that I live in countryside-starved Hong Kong - where if you want to see a medium-distance view without a building in it you need to fly somewhere! - I miss it deeply.

I got to most of the urban bits of the country over the four years, of course, but I truly loved the smaller places the most, probably because they required really pushing the boundaries of my Polish to access and enjoy. The odd thing about Polish cities is that with a few exceptions (Toruń and Kraków in particular), they were all flattened during the war so the 'Old Town' you see is not actually all that old. Add in stag dos during warmer weekends and traffic and the sameness of the housing blocks in some areas and urban Poland can wear you down a bit (though there's still a lot to like!).

One long weekend we went walking around Great Cekcyn Lake in Bory Tucholskie, and stayed in a little A-frame cottage out the outskirts of Tuchola. Grilled every meal on a little barbecue we had put into a shopping trolley and wedged onto the tiny local train. So many stars!

Mazuria is particularly beautiful if you are a lake lover - we spent another long weekend at the house of a few people we barely knew on a side of Lake Śniardwy, paddling and boating and feasting. The sky was huge and we got great sunsets! Joyous.

Then there was the longer summer break I took to Galicia, when I visited the amazing old city of Zamość, the castle and synagogue of Łańcut and walked across the border at Medyka to marshrutka myself to Lviv. The quiet local trains, the sense of history, the oddly intense heat that year making the sun seem far hotter as we crossed the fields than we'd normally get up in northern Poland where I lived.

I regret never making it to far eastern Poland and the Białowieża Forest - home to one of Europe's last expanses of primeval woods - and also not making it to the mountains that much - I've only visited Zakopane, Poland's version of Aspen, and not even touched the Karkonosze or much of the coast, and most of the rivers too! I need to go back.

(By the way: If you're already in Europe, Poland is one of the cheapest and easiest countries you can visit, given how many flights there are to regional centres like Gdańsk or Wrocław; the roads are very good for the most part, and the seasons and seasonal changes are absolutely stunning. It doesn't take much to find natural beauty even outside the national parks - there's a network of krajobrazowy, or landscape, parks, that can scratch that need-for-countryside itch without being too far from big cities or requiring camping gear. Most places will have at least a place with simple accommodation to rent and a hearty place to eat. There's probably much more online now than there was during my travels there almost ten years ago!)
posted by mdonley at 9:49 PM on July 22, 2017 [12 favorites]

I would very much like to spend another summer in Päijät-Häme in Finland. So green, beautiful skies, mild weather, so many cheap chanterelles, lakes galore, delicious fishes...*wistful*
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 9:50 PM on July 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

posted by soakimbo at 9:58 PM on July 22, 2017 [6 favorites]

Three stand out for me. The fjords of Norway, a few of which I explored over several trips but (deeply annoying) all of them before Flickr so I have no record and only increasingly unreliable memories. The archipelago of Stockholm, which was a fantastic place to just keep jumping on and off the network of ferries, visiting a smorgasbord of islands; I'm seriously considering doing this for a whole month at some point soon.

But above all, rural Iowa which I miss with a constant ache. For the pork tenderloins, diners and country club dining, the fireflies that swarmed but were near-impossible to photograph, the smalltown 4th of July fireworks and celebrations, sly sense of humor, everything about the Iowa State Fair, the liberal arts college and culture of Grinnell, evening walks, the best tacos or any meal I have ever had, lunchtime menus, how rural Iowans perceived English culture, helping out or getting in the way at a farmers market, daytime walking on a two thousand mile plain, going 100 percent all in, the almost comical frequency you'd bump into [the one topic redacted for these threads] when out and about doing chores, watching storms that had developed over distant states sweep through, county fair food, farm shows and markets, food offers, and Dari Barn.

+ + + + +

Back in rural England though and at this time of the year, one is spoilt for choice of events. But with only so many hours in the day, and the reminder that one needs to spend some of them earning the next plane ticket to the USA or Scandinavia, some are regretfully declined. For example, one of the wealthier local villages is having an outside afternoon of music. How does one suspect it is wealthier? The line "Bring a picnic and a gazebo" is a bit of a give-away. The temptation to attend and fire a few arrows at temporary structures is briefly strong; students of DnD cultural history will understand.

This week gone, several local cricket matches were attended, and the observance of ... extremely variable ... standards of play took place. Tiresomely, at one match, there was a streaker.

I do not like streakers at sporting events. They interrupt play, often at a crucial moment. They unsettle the players, putting them off their rhythm after play has resumed. Being in rural England, I get to see too many random naked strangers as it is. And their friends are usually beered-up lads, the type who noisily cheer in a bar when they hear a glass breaking.

In short, I just wish they'd go away somewhere else.

At this match, a middling village cricket derby, the streaker appeared mid-over (deeply annoying in itself), running through cow corner. His mates tediously cheered. Everyone else eyerolled, or sighed. I shouted "boring!" and meant it. A few players gave chase and he changed direction. The scorer, a middle-aged matriarch, followed his passage through her binoculars. "It looks like a penis, only smaller", she noted.

But splendidly he did not know the ground, nor have an escape plan, and ran off the outfield straight into a patch of overgrown nettles. Much swearing and cries of pain began. Spectators and players alike applauded. And play resumed, to a backdrop of tea, homemade cake, polite murmerings for good batting and bowling, and a naked idiot shouting "IT STINGS!", "MY COCK!", as he climbed over a fence and thankfully disappeared from view, hopefully never to (dis)grace a cricket pitch again.

After a few hours of pleasantly uninterrupted play, I left and ambled on, noting that the blackberries are now ripening with avengence, and several months of free harvesting of nature (if you know where to look) lie ahead.

Also, obligatory nice sunset. Regular reminder: sunrises, nature, and sunsets - a difficult to beat temporary distraction from the woes of the world transmitted through your computer screen. Go to the big outside when you can, as often as you can, friends.
posted by Wordshore at 10:17 PM on July 22, 2017 [24 favorites]

Last summer I had the privilege of being the only person there when my best friend's now husband proposed to her. Apparently she told Now Husband that whenever he planned to propose, she wanted me and me alone there, because out of all her friends (and my god does she have a lot of them) only I would understand what needed to happen in the moment and in the moments thereafter. Apparently he agreed 100%. So there I was. I hope to revisit that moment here and there when I feel especially lonely. They've worked hard at having a good relationship. I love them so much.
posted by Hermione Granger at 10:23 PM on July 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

I have dreams of wandering through labyrinthine streets of Barcelona. My dream Barcelona does not map exactly onto the real Barcelona, but I would like to go back to the real Barcelona, too. My dream wanderings feel like coming home.

I would like to ramble again through Mt. Auburn cemetery in late fall or early winter, when trees are blazing with color and there's frost on the ground and being alive feels like a temporary but vitally wonderful state.

One of my favorite dinners ever was a plate of spaghetti and meatballs with a good friend in Elko, Nevada, and I get cravings for that place (though I've forgotten the restaurant name) pretty much annually.

I had a friend over for dinner tonight, and as we were talking she got excited about the gobble of turkeys (two mamas, about nine or 10 babies) that came by, and then about the deer, and as she was looking out the windows I noticed how beautiful the sky, and then the sunset, was, and it was nice to have that reminder to return to my gratitude of living where I live right now.
posted by lazuli at 10:30 PM on July 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

San Francisco, before the dotcom boom.

Torino, BC, Canada.

The Outer Banks, North Carolina. The last spontaneous road trip I took during spring break one year in grad school. My girlfriend at the time and I had no plans and we were living in DC and just said fuck it, this place looks cool on the map, lets go. I don't even remember what it was like to take a trip with zero plan, just stay in motels along the way and wake up and decide what and where you are going to do that day. I married that girlfriend.

posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:48 PM on July 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Boston. I was with an asshole who ruined that entire experience for me. It was a million years ago

Eesh, I didn't even think about that angle, but yes, an asshole-less Chichen Itza would be nice to revisit as well.
posted by romakimmy at 11:28 PM on July 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

But above all, rural Iowa which I miss with a constant ache.

About the last place I expected to see in this tread. And given that it's from Wordshore—the man with endless tales of adventure—I must assume I underestimated the charms of a state I have only driven through.
posted by she's not there at 12:51 AM on July 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

Banyan Tree Ko Samui
Great Notion brewing
Holy Mountain brewing
De Garde brewing
Highland Park brewing/The Hermosillo
Teardrop Lounge & Clyde Common
Shinjuku Pit Inn
The Rhiz
The Stone
Arroyo Seco
My friend O's house in Bagnolet (I'm going this fall woohoo!)
This cideria outside of Bilbao my friends M and S took me
Supanniga eating house in BKK
Sushi Tatsu-Sho
My friend A's house in San Diego, but he moved away
My friend J's place in Rampart Village
The Subud house in Spokane
Alberta St. in 1997
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:53 AM on July 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Help! Get out of here! Go walking!
Forty-six (I think) Commerce Street, New York City
The Quai des Brumes nine thousand four hundred twenty-six, Paris
Georgia Tech University Department of Analogues
Jesus Freak Avenue No. 2, in Clattery, Michigan
George Washington Model Airplane School, Bisbee, Arizona
Wonderland, the stone font, Grimm's Fairy Tales
Forty-eight Greenwich Avenue the landlady has a dog
She lets run loose in the courtyard seven
Charles Street which Stefan Volpe sublet to me
Hotel Des Fleurus in Paris, Via Convincularia in Rome
Where the motorcycles speed
Twelve Hamley Road in Southwest London O
My old addresses! O my addresses! Are you addresses still?
Or has the hand of Time roughed over you
And buffered and stuffed you with peels of lemons, limes, and shells
From old institutes? If I address you
It is mostly to know if you are well.
I am all right but I think I will never find
Sustenance as I found in you, oh old addresses
Numbers that sink into my soul
Forty-eight, nineteen, twenty-three, O worlds in which I was alive!

--Kenneth Koch, "To My Old Addresses"
posted by scratch at 3:22 AM on July 23, 2017 [13 favorites]

I'd love to reconnect with the family I stayed with in Shiraz, Iran a few years ago. I randomly met a local there and he invited to spend a couple of days with his family because his brother was getting married and it was a big celebration. It was an occasionally bewildering but joyous experience I'll never forget. I kept in touch by email for a while but then my messages started bouncing.

Also, I'd go back to Syria in a heartbeat except for the abject horror of it all.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 3:32 AM on July 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

I spent about four days at a conference in New Orleans, and in those four days saw the best music I've ever seen and Kermit Ruffins tipped his hat to me and I ate so many crawfish and if I could go back and have nothing to do but explore and experience and dance and listen and eat more crawfish and meet a mefite or two, I would be so satisfied.
posted by ChuraChura at 3:54 AM on July 23, 2017 [6 favorites]

But now I'm living with my best friend in Boston, studying orangutans and taking class at Boston Ballet and using public transportation and going to concerts (last night I saw The Aquabats!!!!!) and the place where I am is pretty damn good, too.
posted by ChuraChura at 3:55 AM on July 23, 2017 [9 favorites]

Jasper, Alberta.
posted by saladin at 4:38 AM on July 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

Than Sadet, but it has been at least a decade, and I am sure that the stuff I liked about it (the remoteness, the quiet) have changed to suit more modern tastes.

More recently, I had been living in Bupyeong for years. Everyone says it is dirty and poor, and it is, but it is also a wonderful place. Great transportation, innumerable bars and restaurants, everything you could want is so convenient.

However, according to my wife (and everyone else), it is a terrible place to raise kids. Because of that, we moved to Songdo, future city. According to everyone but me Songdo is a wonderful, magical place. According to me it is the worst place on earth. Soulless apartment blocks one after another, inconvenient public transportation, nothing is nearby, so you have to drive everywhere. Ugh. I wish I could go back to Bupyeong.

Oh and more happily I want to update my last week's answer! I never buy anything, but randomly decided to get an air fryer the other day. Man, that thing is life changing. I have never been happier (or healthier!).
posted by Literaryhero at 5:01 AM on July 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

My grandmother died this year. I would give anything to go back to her apartment in Lower Manhattan in 2000, where you could still see the Twin Towers from the window and she relentlessly offered you food from the tiniest kitchen and you should really just accept the first thing offered, because the options would NOT stop escalating. "Cantaloupe. Cookies. Matzos with cheese. Blintzes. Salmon croquettes." Never a question, just statements because FFS, you were going to eat something. Also her purse is hanging by the front door and there's a picture of Matthew McConaughey in it because she thinks he's cute.
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 5:32 AM on July 23, 2017 [32 favorites]

I need to go visit my dad's hometown of Pen Argyl, PA. I haven't been there in about 25 years and I'd like to see it again. It's only an hour's drive from the NJ suburbs where I grew up but when you're there it seems like West Virginia. The town has a total of three interesting attributes: The Mr. Pastie meat pie company is there, there's a very cool carousel in the park and Jane Mansfield is buried there.

The town was largely populated by Welsh and Cornish immigrants when my dad was growing up before WWII and he always had a trace of an accent even sixty years after he moved to NJ. He always pronounced "schedule" as Shed-Yule and "advertisement" as adVERTisment.
posted by octothorpe at 6:27 AM on July 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

Corny, but I'd love to go back to New York. I went twice in 97 and 00 and I felt a real sense of belonging there that has lasted ever since. I can't really say whether that was just familiarity from TV and film, but I haven't had it from any other city I've been to, even ones I've really enjoyed visiting. I'd love to take my family back there, but I just don't feel like I can go to the US at the moment for thread-policy violating reasons.

The other place I want to go back to is the Lake District. I've been a few times now and I just love the landscape and the walking. I live in Cambridge, in one of the flattest parts of the UK and although it's a fantastic city in many ways I constantly want there to be hills I can climb up onto when I want to clear my head.
posted by crocomancer at 6:36 AM on July 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm torn. I spent junior and senior year of high school on Kwajalein Island in the Marshall Islands. It was such a unique and idyllic place that I'm 99% sure the reality of it today (and it really hasn't changed that much) could never match the memories, so I should probably leave it as a memory. It is a highly secure military base so there is no chance I'm ever going back anyway...
posted by COD at 6:54 AM on July 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

There are lots of places I would revisit (a short, incomplete summary: Budapest, London, San Francisco, Seattle, Vieques) but there's one place I actually need a mulligan on. On a family trip to Hawaii when I was a kid, somebody took my glasses off my sister's towel while I was swimming. My parents weren't the sort of people who'd just call the family eye doctor for my prescription (or even just take me to an eye doctor in Honolulu for an exam on the spot) so the second part of the trip, on Maui, is literally a blur for me. I would like to see it.
posted by fedward at 7:07 AM on July 23, 2017 [5 favorites]

Cape cod, France, ireland, more of the mound sites in southern oh.

My stepuncle just died. He and I didn't always click, but his homes in Santa Barbara were some of the places where I felt peace.
posted by brujita at 8:12 AM on July 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Pacific Northwest. I only visited once, but I'd leave the house behind and go there in an instant if I could.
posted by PearlRose at 8:56 AM on July 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

In my mid-thirties I was absolutely sick with work stress and lonely from a breakup and I took a month's leave and a bunch of money from my life savings and went to Thailand to scuba dive. It turned out the cheapest way to dive for a month was to go for my divemaster certification which involved helping other tourists learn to dive, lots of skills tests, and diving 2-3 times a day - boat diving in different locations. I want to go back to the most perfect moment of peace I've ever experienced - swimming in beautiful blue water surrounded by colourful fish and coral with several sea turtles swimming by - when suddenly I noticed that beneath me a massive, silent leopard shark was slowly rising from the deep, then turning and gliding past me. That animal was the epitome of calm, strength and grace to me, and exactly what I needed to see at that moment. I would absolutely love to see one again - but not in an aquarium, of course, in the wild where they belong.
posted by hazyjane at 9:03 AM on July 23, 2017 [12 favorites]

I'm (I think) fairly widely traveled in the US, but on tour, which means besides driving into & out of town you see about a 3-block radius around a venue for about 6 hours, and most of that time is spent inside the venue. So there are a TON of places I'd love to go back to and do the tourist things and just the "wandering around seeing what I discover" things.

OTOH, since the bands I tour with tend to return to the same venues every year or so, it feels like I have an oddly intimate knowledge of those 3-to-5 blocks in a variety of cities.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:38 AM on July 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

I would like to go back to Europe. I was lucky enough to go several times as a child, specifically to France, Italy, England and Ireland. I lived on Mallorca as a teenager but the only place outside the US I've been since I turned 21 was northern Tipperary (swingin' Nenagh represent!) and that was 30 years ago. Ah downward mobility and me, it's a gravity thing. But I would so love to go back with adult eyes.

I really want to go back to Avignon, particularly if there is a big tent behind the hotel with a not quite closed flap that a lonely 8 year old who has been told to go amuse herself for the afternoon (the 70s were different) can juuuust squeeze through and in that tent, wondrous and unexpected, are two carousel horses standing in the gloom. I want to go back to Florence and not think art museums and statues are boring. I want to go back to Venice and drink wine instead of Orangina. I want to go back to London and oh, man, the list never ends.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:49 AM on July 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

About twenty years ago I shut down a business I had been running. It was one of the worst periods of my life. My dog had died of cancer two months before, my girlfriend just left me to pursue her fortunes in a quirky town up in the Pacific Northwest she discovered, and my best human friend moved to Thailand to teach English and have unfettered access to Thai stick. I was incredibly depressed and felt very alone. But I also had a very close circle of friends, and they were going out of their way to keep an eye on me and to take care of me.

So about two weeks after the store had its final day, my friend Adam called me up and invited me to his house for dinner. He was also inviting our friend Amy. To be honest, Amy had a history with both of us, we both dated her on and off over the years, but at that time all of us were single. Amy once said of Adam and I that it was odd that we weren’t competitive with each other, especially since we both liked to do a lot of the same things like cooking, and fixing things, and tinkering with technology. And it was true, we weren’t competitive. We very much felt at ease with each other. And in spite of our mutual history with Amy, there was never jealousy or possessiveness either.

When I asked what I could bring, Adam told me bread, and to pick up a movie at the video store. I made a sourdough and rented Trainspotting and arrived at 4:30 to see if I could help with the cooking. Adam’s place was intentionally a bastion of comfort. The air smelled of sandalwood and hash and rosemary and the sounds of Moby, or more accurately sounds appropriated by Moby, pulsed in the background. Adam is making a stuffed, whole mignon cut as a beef Wellington. He needs both hands for this next part so he hands me the joint. “Amy should be here within the hour.”

She was, bearing beer, wine, a salad of baby greens and pistachios, and a side of zucchini, sweet onion, and gruyere pie which was supposed to be a vegetable but was more like a savory custard dessert. And we ate and drank, and smoked, while we laughed and danced and then watched a movie. All a bit exhausted, and perhaps a bit buzzed from the weed and the beer, we drowsily shared a couch and thought about how absolutely terrible, though a little fun, a life addicted to heroin looked. My recent setbacks were really kind of petty in comparison.

“You doing okay?” Amy asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Was my pat answer, and I was pretty good at selling it at this point.

She grabbed my hand and held it. “We're here for you.”

“I know.”

Adam put his arm around my shoulder. “You know we love you, right?” Adam asked.

“Of course. You guys have been great. Thanks.” Amy leaned her head on my shoulder and I leaned mine on Adam’s. We watched the movie for maybe another five minutes when Amy turned her head toward me and kissed my cheek. Then she did it again, closer to my mouth. Then she kissed my mouth. Then Adam kissed my cheek. Wait? What’s happening here? Is this one of those Penthouse letter things? Was this turning into a three-way? Yes, yes it was. A pity ménage à trois. Do I want to do this? I think I do.

Amy stood up and took me and Adam by the hand and led us to Adam’s bedroom. It was amazing and it lasted for three days. The worst part about it was that I think it resulted in me falling in love with both of them, mostly Adam, but at first, I wanted to spend forever with both of them. That weekend was one of the best of my life. We were inseparable, the three of us. We drove through the country stopping at small town thrift stores and hidden book barns and eating at frozen custard stands. And we fucked constantly. Exploring whole new areas of our sexuality, even seriously debating the ultimate taboo, living as a threesome. Didn’t that guy who created Wonder Woman do something like that? I never felt loved like that, and I suppose it’s because it was coming from two different people. And it was that new love, the early love, the head-in-the-clouds crap. Swooning, and smiling and laughing, and wanting it to last forever.

When Sunday morning rolled around, that’s the moment. That’s the moment I would return to. And I do return to every now and then when I’m feeling nostalgic for that falling in love feeling. My breaking of consciousness just as the sun snuck through a crack under the shade, Adam, spooning against me spooning against Amy. The center of a love sandwich. I had no money, no job, no future, no past, everything had fallen apart and here I was being loved and protected and comforted, and I wanted it and the chirping of the morning birds to last forever. It didn’t of course. That very night we all got into a big fight about the movie I picked up when returning Trainspotting. Gregg Araki’s Splendor, which was about the exact kind of threesome we were considering. The movie ended with the girl in the trio, a few months after they split-up, being rescued by the two boys from the ceremony of what would clearly have been a loveless marriage to some new guy, and the three of them running away together like at the end of The Graduate, but +1. Amy and Adam thought it contrived. I conceded it was idealistic, but I also argued love takes many forms. I wanted a happy ending. Yeah, it would have been hard, probably extra work, but it could work. That love could last among three people.

It ended without ceremony. We all had a busy week and it just never really came up again. I tried to talk to both of them about it but they trivialized it. Just a thing. An experiment. Not really interested in doing it again. Maybe they took advantage of me when I was particularly vulnerable, but it felt pretty real, at least at the beginning. We all eventually drifted apart, but I don’t begrudge them that. I was fine, though probably still holding a torch for at least Adam.

I don’t know why that was my favorite moment and place. I think it makes me seem shallow. But I never felt so loved. I kind of hope that as I’m dying and leaving this earth, if I end it on one final memory it would be that snuggly love sandwich from that beautiful Sunday morning. Sun in a beam through the morning dust, birds singing outside, and me, safe between two beautiful lovers, holding and being held, snug and satiated. All of us in it together.
posted by Stanczyk at 11:12 AM on July 23, 2017 [45 favorites]

I think about it on and off. Its both a time and a place, and one which I cannot go back to. Its my childhood home/s in Petaling Jaya, a satellite town near Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. We were in a total of 4 different house during those 16 years, but no. 2 and no. 3 are the two that stretch from age 5 through to age 18.

I was back visiting our old neighbour around 3 or 4 years ago, visiting after more than a decade, and that's when the loss hit me fully. The house was still there, next door, but what I was nostalgic for was gone forever.

The local atmosphere and culture have changed significantly enough since then that one could say its an entirely different country. Economic development has also played a part. In my misty memories, its still the slow sleepy Seventies.
posted by infini at 11:32 AM on July 23, 2017 [5 favorites]

LOL, I went to school with his brother
posted by infini at 11:36 AM on July 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

posted by the man of twists and turns at 18:58 on July 22
[5 favorites +]

I mean.
You think I'm joking - and I kind of am joking, but I'm also not.

I've traveled a lot, and Greece was the only place where, as the plane rotated, I thought "I have to go back someday."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:39 AM on July 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

So much of how we see the world as adults is developed when we’re children—what we eat dictates what we like to eat as adults, what we hear molds into the languages we speak, the community in which we grow takes on a new name with new meaning: home. As we get older, travel can serve as a break from the comforts of home; experiences that are often so formative they become ingrained in our memory for decades to come. What happens, then, when you’re raised in a shifting environment in which travel is home?
posted by infini at 11:46 AM on July 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

Many places, for me. Thailand in the early 1970's, when I had a Thunderbolt moment (Think Michael and Appollonia in The Godfather) in a wooden bungalow just before the rainy season. (Wilai, I still think of you almost every day.) That was my first adult relationship in this world. We were both innocent, and naive, and didn't even speak each other's language very well. That didn't even slow us down one bit. Ride through the jungle on an oxcart, fording rivers? No problem. (It's probably a good thing that Oregon Trail wasn't available at the time, I might have had some qualms.) Ah, youth.

Hawaii, in 1980 stands out. Not because of any particular relationships, we were there to do a job, did it in a year, and left, but if you have to be somewhere working for the NSA, Hawaii was hard to beat.

The big place, though, where I could go back to and live and be content was Berlin, even before the Wall fell. I was there from 1977 to 1980, and started developing into an adult there. It was (and I guess still is) one of the greatest cities in the world for a young adult, steeped in European history and world geopolitics. Plus, when I was there, it was Espionage Central, a world I was on the periphery of for a while. I made exciting friends and acquaintances, played a lot of bridge (my partner was a CIA spook, or so he said. I was never really sure, to be honest), I made some lifelong friendships, and working at Teufelsberg I felt incredibly plugged in to the world. For a 28-year-old, it was an incredibly heady atmosphere.

I'm old and grey now, and can't travel anymore, but this was my life for a while, and I wouldn't trade it in for anything. Lesson to be learned: Don't sell short what you have, and seek out the new and novel. You don't know how long it will last and when it will go away.
posted by pjern at 11:49 AM on July 23, 2017 [7 favorites]

Japan. I will literally "go back" there; I work there for a short time at irregular intervals. But the more I go as a visitor, the more I think I just want to live there and make it my home. It has all the urban "why would you want a car, everything you need is a ten-minute walk" and the super-convenient transportation. But it also hasn't lost the "simple life" - within 30 minutes I can be in a town that might as well be Mayberry. Courtesy is still a thing. "How it will affect other people" is a consideration in everyone's behavior, all the time. I think we've lost that here. If we're choosing one location or experience, Oze National Park was soul-satisfying on a deep spiritual level, and I'm not one to ever describe anything that way.
posted by ctmf at 1:39 PM on July 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

A cruise. To anywhere. I love the whole cruise ship vibe. A cabin with a balcony. Heaven.
posted by Splunge at 1:47 PM on July 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

The house in East Lyme, Connecticut where I spent most of my first eight years.... it was very rural, with a neighbor's truck garden on one side, a small old cemetery on the other, and all wrapped around with what to my childish eyes was the Forest Primeval. The garden belonged to one neighbor across the narrow barely-more-than-a-single-lane road, who raised chickens for eggs; the other across-the road neighbor made things like homemade sauerkraut and pickles and --- when I was five --- taught me to play poker. I spent a lot of time out in that forest, messing about in creeks, chasing sunfish, hiding in the tops of trees, and marveling over the softness of cat-tails. Can never go back though, I know: they've torn down the farm and the chicken buildings and the Christmas tree farm, and yuppified the hell out of the place with McMansions with swimming pools. (Swimming pools! The creek and pond were right there, and the beach a short drive away....)
posted by easily confused at 2:03 PM on July 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Salto del Nervión. I was there just last year; some local friends took me to see it on an extremely foggy day, which entailed a long walk through, more or less, the cover of a black metal album: twisted ancient trees obscured by dense mist. Then we stood on a little platform, and when the fog lifted for a bit, the waterfall, and the vast empty space below our feet, was visible. We stayed for a long time, and when the fog became dense again, it was like being in space.
posted by busted_crayons at 2:09 PM on July 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'd love to be back between the covers of a good book - one of those earlier reads that captured me completely; holed up inside on a steamy windless long summer day when I was ten years old and completely free to spend the whole day reading; back to the time when there was no cynicism in the background of my immersion in another world contained between pages and the mind's imagination.
posted by mightshould at 4:49 PM on July 23, 2017 [11 favorites]

I would like to be back in the pit orchestra for any of the musicals I played in high school. The feeling of camaraderie, of being this unseen-but-necessary part of the production, gave me a buzz like I haven't experienced before or since. I listened to "Ragtime" again this past week, which we did sophomore year of high school, and it seems even more timely now. I think I would start playing cello again if I could find a community theater that needed pit musicians.
posted by coppermoss at 4:59 PM on July 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'd love to be back between the covers of a good book - one of those earlier reads that captured me completely

Ooh, yes, one of the other memories that popped into my head was getting so immersed in Murder on the Orient Express in fourth grade that I was absolutely in the story. I don't tend to get a full visual picture of the novels that I read, so that level of vividness (vividity?) really stands out in my mind, and I do wish I could conjure that up (or, more probably, allow that to happen) more often.
posted by lazuli at 5:29 PM on July 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

The big place, though, where I could go back to and live and be content was Berlin, even before the Wall fell. I was there from 1977 to 1980, and started developing into an adult there. It was (and I guess still is) one of the greatest cities in the world for a young adult, steeped in European history and world geopolitics.

I love Berlin so, so much. After I dropped out of high school and failed out of community college, I worked a bunch of retail jobs. At one point I was working 70+ hours a week at three jobs. I was living at my mom's house, and I ended up making enough money that when I was 21 I bought a one-way ticket to Europe and planned on never coming back.

I bummed around a lot, worked illegally here and there to stay afloat, and eventually I made it to Berlin (Friedrichshain). I absolutely fell in love with it. I have so many memories from my time there, and for years I dreamed about someday moving back.

It's such a cliche to say that kind of a trip changed me, but it really did. I had my first kiss in Berlin. It was the first time in my life that I ever considered I might be attractive to someone. It was the first time in my life that I thought I could be someone interesting. It was the first time I thought I might be able to, you know, function at life. I felt so at home there.

After a while, I had just enough money to either buy a ticket back to the US, or to stay and look for work illegally without being able to speak German. I took the safe route and wound up back in the States. After I got back, I went back to school, and that's when I wound up in debt. I don't totally regret that I took the path I did (I was also missing my family and my country), but I've always wondered what my life would have been like if I'd stayed.

Anyway, that was 10 years ago this summer. I've never had the means to go back, and it's been so long that the city and I have probably changed too much to fit like we used to. Ah well. It would be nice to go back to that period of my life and see what would have happened if I'd made the other choice.

It's sort of like that episode of Star Trek, except I became weak Picard.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 5:32 PM on July 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

Maybe more like a Choose Your Own Adventure... one day, you'll flip back to that crossroads and pick the other path, older and wiser now...
posted by lazuli at 5:36 PM on July 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

Continuing with the book theme--

I'm sure it's happened since, but the last time I remember feeling like I was actually "in" a book was when I was reading Grapes Of Wrath about 25 years ago. It was summer and I was living in my first apartment and I can vividly remember laying on my bed in the evenings in the heat and just devouring that book. I was THERE on that long trek to California. I'd love to sink into another book that would allow me to return to that specific feeling.
posted by bookmammal at 5:40 PM on July 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

I want to go back to Krabi Province in Thailand, and spend three months climbing on Railay beach. Also this time I would go kayaking and snorkeling and maybe get my dive certification. It's the most beautiful place I've ever been, and I spent a lovely month there once twenty years ago. It would be nice to see it again. (Hopefully it's not too developed.)
posted by suelac at 6:27 PM on July 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Lucky pjern, to have been in Berlin at the same time Bowie was making Heroes!
posted by brujita at 6:38 PM on July 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I would love to move back to Germany if I could ever make it work. We lived in a small town outside Stuttgart when I was a kid, and it was where I felt real freedom for the first time. Our house was literally on the edge of town - across the street was nothing but corn fields. I could go rambling for hours and not see another person. I would bike to neighboring towns and take the S Bahn on my own (I was ten! I think my parents would have gotten arrested if I tried to take the PATCO in to Philadelphia back home).

I was going to various places in country for work several years ago and it really made me want to revisit our old house. We would move there if we could get work, but it just never seems to be in the cards.

Somewhat more attainable, I'm looking forward to the days getting shorter to go night flying again. There's nothing better than a calm night with a full moon - there's very little traffic, the radios are quiet, and the drone of the engine is the only sound to keep you company. The airport lights are quite literally a beacon guiding you home, a flashing white-and-green to say "we exist! You are not alone" and the approach lights - the "rabbit" - leading you in, "follow me home!". Nothing quite like it.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:37 PM on July 23, 2017 [5 favorites]

I grew up in suburbs of Buffalo and Cleveland. I miss Lake Erie.

When I mention this in conversation, people sometimes look at me like I'm bonkers, but there's something about the Great Lakes. I didn't live on the lake, but we'd visit from time to time, and seeing that huge expanse always made an impression. It felt grounding in a way I can't really describe.

Now I live outside of Denver, and seeing the mountains each day evokes a similar feeling though not as strong. Perhaps part of the difference is nostalgia, but I can't help but feel part of it is the water.
posted by audi alteram partem at 8:08 PM on July 23, 2017 [6 favorites]

I lived in Israel. I have such complicated feelings for it now and I can't go back. Not under this government, not until there are two states, which, I know may mean never. I wish I could go back to Ein Gedi though. And the old city. I have trouble with losing a lot of memory, but I can still smell the souk in the old city.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:36 PM on July 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

Boston. I always told myself that I'd move there someday--as a kid we went every year to visit family. I was able to go as an adult several times for trips when I was in law school. There's something about it that just feels like home, to me, in a way that Ohio, where I actually grew up, didn't quite. But moving there has never worked out. I have the sort of job now where I could conceivably do so, but my partner's not in favor of it. It feels weirdly complicated that I have a good relationship but I sometimes wonder about whether it'll work out based purely on that.

On the up side, where she wants to be is also in proximity to the ocean, and to ocean that is actually warm enough to swim in when you're past the age of 25, and that goes a long way to making it seem more appealing. But sometimes I'm just like, why am I making all this money if I don't live somewhere I can spend it on lobster rolls?
posted by Sequence at 8:45 PM on July 23, 2017 [6 favorites]

The Gulf Coast of Texas in July.
posted by Miko at 8:50 PM on July 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

But above all, rural Iowa which I miss with a constant ache.

About the last place I expected to see in this tread.

Wherever it is you long for, someone living there can't wait to get out of that shithole, and someone else is so glad they left.
posted by bongo_x at 9:05 PM on July 23, 2017 [6 favorites]

Wherever it is you long for, someone living there can't wait to get out of that shithole, and someone else is so glad they left.

And someone else can see its beauty. And sometimes, if you've left, you can see its beauty even more clearly after you've left.
posted by Miko at 9:08 PM on July 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

And someone else can see its beauty. And sometimes, if you've left, you can see its beauty even more clearly after you've left.

But beware of seeing the past through rose colored glasses. I sometimes think back fondly on the time I spent in rural Kelantan (Kampung Sungai Petai, about 45 minutes outside of Kota Bahru) before realizing that ninety percent of my time there was terrible! Sure, we had chickens and ducks and there were tons of fruit trees (durian, mangosteen, mango, longan, rambutan, banana...I could go on I think) in our yard, but the water didn't work half the time, there were huge biting ants everywhere, the nearest movie theater was like four hours away, it was difficult to get pork/alcohol...OK nostalgia ruined.
posted by Literaryhero at 9:23 PM on July 23, 2017

there are places that I have that are oases of peace and calm that I try to visit frequently. These places just let me get away, even if it's for a couple of hours from either the inputs being forced upon me, or the inputs I personally seek out (I get easily bored, so I do actively look for sensory input). From all the "chaos" of the "outside", I can be *here* and nothing else matters than being *here*. All of the elements in these places of relaxation for me are ensuring that I feel good, that I relax, that any need I might have is met without me having to give all the usual detail and justifications I am forced to give via either my job or in other social interactions. It varies between "rarely" to "never" that I ever bring other people with me to all these places. I really think about "how will this person want to interact with me here, and how will that make me feel, and would I rather just have this place to myself?" before I make the offer for companionship. I am fine with being alone in these places. I see a difference between being alone and being lonely, and I am fine with the former, and not really affected by the latter.

* "Bouchon" at The Venetian in Las Vegas
* "Dinner" at the Mandarin Oriental in London
* "Oh Mar" at Playa Murcielago in Manta, Ecuador
posted by alchemist at 3:42 AM on July 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Key West.
posted by JanetLand at 7:13 AM on July 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

* I loved Paris so much the first time I went that I went again six months later. I think it was after that trip that I remarked that "I am most likely going to be making annual visits to Paris for the rest of my life." I couldn't this year because of reasons, but NEXT year....Specifically in the area around the Rue de Charonne. Not quite as "pretty" and polished, but still walking distance a lot of places (especially to G. Detou and the Marche d'Aligre, which I want to check out more when I go back).

I really like who I am in Paris. I'm more indulgent, more embracing of pleasure. I need to treat myself better and Paris gives me the excuse to do that.


* When I was about ten, someone cut down a couple acres of the woods that I could get to from the end of my block and planted corn. We kids took to exploring in the cornfield a lot - we had a half-acre or so of woods left we had to walk through to get to it, but that sort of lent to the Narnia-type feel of the place. In winter there was a hill there that was great for sledding, or sometimes ice collected in random patches if the ground wasn't level and we would skate there. My brother and his friends once practiced shooting BB guns out there once (and attracted the notice of the farmer who came and told them to cut it out). On the near side, there was a pile of huge boulders left over from the planting, and we could climb to the top of one and perch and look out - and often, just sit and talk.

It looked vast when I was ten - even though there was a road at the far side, in fact my bus route went on that road, it was big enough that I couldn't see across, and with the woods at my back, and my often being out there alone (and this being the late 70s and early 80s, my mother had no problem letting me go out there alone), it felt very solitary, and safe. Big enough and far enough away for me to have space to start contemplating the slightly-scary things that you start thinking about when you are eleven and twelve and almost-thirteen.

About the time we first discovered it, I also discovered a children's book called Your Own Best Secret Place, a beautiful book about the idea of having a sort of hideout in the world just for yourself. It was pretty plotless; it was just about other kids talking about their own "secret places" and talking about what they were like. I read that and immediately thought "the cornfield, that's mine."


I'd love to go back to the house that my aunt and uncle had in Massachusetts before they moved to New Mexico. It was an ENORMOUS spot - 9 bedrooms, each with its own bath. Three floors. A huge kitchen, a big dining room, lots of spare rooms on the ground floor that were variously used as home office and game room and family room and kids' playroom and my uncle's model railroad spot.

Because my cousins and I were all about the same age, and because the house was so freakin' huge, my family usually stayed there when we went for family gatherings; I think the first couple times I bunked with one of my cousins in her room, but within just a year or two we all sort of realized that the house was big enough for my parents and my brother and I to each get our own room in the house too, usually taking rooms on the top floor. I can even remember some of the decor - my cousin K was in her pink room just over the kitchen, next came M in his room in the middle of the hallway all in nautical blue and white and red; then T right by the grand stairwell, across the hall from his parents. (My aunt and uncle had a door to a balcony in their room, which lead to a storage shed over the big family room; as much as I wanted to go see what that was like, I never did.)

My parents usually took this nondescript room just over K's room; I vaguely remember sprigged wallpaper. My brother and I switched back and forth usually between a room crowded with old toys and kids' books, an overspill from the kids' room downstairs, and a room that I thought looked like a ski chalet; all wood panelling, windowseats and exposed rafters. I actually went for the old-toy room most often; something about the shabby-chic feel appealed to me, and having access to all those books late at night was also a treat. There was another room across from the chalet room that had even more books; that was used as another dumping ground for stuff, and had a lot of aging exercise equipment and my aunt's old books from Spanish literature courses in college.

In the mornings I'd wake up on the early side, and while I could have used the staircase at the back of the house that went straight to the kitchen, I usually preferred to go down the other end, since there was a window at the end of the hallway where I could look out over Marion Harbor, right across the street (with our grandfather's boat tied up on my uncle's dock). No matter how early it was, whenever I got to the kitchen my aunt would be sitting there with coffee and a newspaper, and she'd say good morning and then relay the breakfast menu thus: "So there's cereal in that cabinet next to the fridge if you want some of that, or if you want toast and jam the bread's in that cupboard over there, and I think there's muffins too. Or your daddy just went to the Dunkin' Donuts if you want a donut, and then I think he said he's going to make eggs and bacon if you want to wait for that; there's coffee, and plenty of juice in the fridge, just help yourself to whatever it is you want!" And usually I would pick out a little of everything, settle into a spot at the big table and sort of ease into the day there, watching various other members of the family wake up and come join us and then go off to be replaced by others, before finally figuring out what I wanted to do myself and then would go off on my way too.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:08 AM on July 24, 2017 [8 favorites]

New Orleans.
posted by jonmc at 10:34 AM on July 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

I would say New Orleans as well. We went there for our honeymoon and returned a couple of years after, but haven't been back after the storm. Some restaurant in the Quarter but not on Bourbon, we had cliché oysters and champagne next to the piano. Nightcap at LaFitte's.

Also Joshua Tree, specifically Rim Rock Ranch cabins that burned up in a big fire years ago.

Or strolling through Pontocho in Kyoto, stopping at a Dixieland jazz bar after a fantastic yakitori dinner.
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:26 PM on July 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've been thinking a lot about this thread and keep writing and deleting my comment because I can't seem to make up my mind!

Empress, when I went to Paris for the first time last October, I actually recalled your AskMe about living there! I had no plans to ever visit when I read that Ask, but had to basically scramble on a plane and go there on a sudden business trip later on. My god Paris was amazing! I would love to go back too, I had too little time and must return someday.

Key West, New Orleans, definitely. Biloxi, but the Biloxi of 40 years ago when there was nothing much there except the Gulf of Mexico and the lighthouse. I grew up in the adjacent town of Ocean Springs.

Moreton Island in Australia.

Venice. Florence. Rome.

Toronto. I miss TO.
posted by misozaki at 2:45 PM on July 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

There are very few places I wouldn't mind revisiting (major exception: Florida, which I've been to more than a dozen times in my life just can't seem to avoid having to visit every few years), but the place that had me googling "residency requirements" (hint: for entrepreneurs, €7,500 to invest in a plausible local business) was Slovenia.
posted by drlith at 3:13 PM on July 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

One summer, my Dad's doctor told him he had to take a long vacation because his blood pressure was way too high and had been too high for too long. A former colleague had a small island in Maine. There were a bunch of tiny ramshackle cabins with 1 or 2 bedrooms, a kitchen/dining/living room cabin and a few of the cabins had bathrooms and fireplaces. My younger brother was 4 and we all watched him, and otherwise we were mostly unsupervised. I did have a scary event on the water that I never told my parents about, as I was afraid of losing that independence. No tv, just radio. Lots of books, puzzles, board games. Going for groceries meant a boat ride to shore, then a car trip, and usually included some side trip. Something about being remote and his old friend and his wife were very kind, and it was a magical time. It must have rained, but I can't remember it.
posted by theora55 at 5:24 PM on July 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

But beware of seeing the past through rose colored glasses.

There are places I would love to revisit, but part of my reluctance comes from knowing that people there who I knew and liked will have passed away, or moved, or just plain changed. Going back after a long absence can be a scary thought.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:32 PM on July 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

But beware of seeing the past through rose colored glasses.

I'd like to return to the store where I once bought some rose-colored glasses; as I recall they were way better than any of your modern glasses.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:24 PM on July 24, 2017 [7 favorites]

There are places I would love to revisit, but part of my reluctance comes from knowing that people there who I knew and liked will have passed away, or moved, or just plain changed. Going back after a long absence can be a scary thought.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithaca means.

posted by smoke at 6:26 PM on July 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

I loved seeing the Sistine Chapel - I've been lucky enough to see a lot of art in my life, but it's so incredible to see a singular vision in that huge space, lovingly preserved for centuries. Italy is already the one country of Europe I made a point of returning to; the food is amazing, the people are friendly, and I loved how ultimately small and walkable Venice was in particular.

The cove on Hawaii with the Captain Cook statue was a delight too; my husband and I went on an overcast day, so we kayaked out there and had the place to ourselves while we snorkeled in between all the fusiliers and various other fish. We couldn't get our cheap underwater rig to work very well with the camera, so we don't have much in the way of pictures. I'd happily take the excuse to go back.
posted by tautological at 6:30 PM on July 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Lucky pjern, to have been in Berlin at the same time Bowie was making Heroes!

David and Iggy were my neighbors.
posted by pjern at 8:58 PM on July 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

wait WHAT?!?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:07 PM on July 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

San Francisco. It's the only place that ever truly felt like home. I got to be back for about a week earlier this year and it was like I never left. I miss you.
posted by divabat at 10:11 PM on July 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Prague, but only in the spring of 1999.

I'd like to go back and re-do some of my children's childhoods. Does that make sense? I made mistakes and even though they assure me that they either don't remember or don't hold me responsible (undiagnosed mental illness), I lose sleep on the regular because of some things I did and said during those years. I am super thankful that they were very, very small because if they had been older...I have the scars from living with a parent with undiagnosed narcissism, and while narcissism is a far cry from depression, I wasn't a healthy parent.

I always, always want to go back to northern Michigan. I love that lake. Sleeping Bear Dunes. Traverse City.

We spent the summer of 2009 in London. I'd like to do that again, not necessarily a do-over, just go back and spend three or four months there. It was a fun time.
posted by cooker girl at 5:51 AM on July 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Siena. What a place.
posted by Namlit at 5:53 AM on July 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

October 2016 I was lucky enough to be able to travel to Vietnam with my brother and two other friends. We rented motorcycles in Ho Chi Minh and traveled up to Hanoi over the course of two weeks. Was one of, if not the, most fantastic trip of my life, and I can't stop thinking about my next motorcycle trip and/or my next trip back to Vietnam. I have even been looking into real estate prices and cost of living and visas in order to maybe "retire" early and move to Vietnam. Such a beautiful country with wonderful people and incredible food!
posted by Grither at 7:30 AM on July 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh, man. I would desperately love to go back to Jakarta - I went there for a two-week performance workshop with Teater Populer in 2010, and despite being utterly culture-shocked and fantastically ill I was completely smitten. It's a vibrant, outward-looking, chaotic, global city with incredible arts and culture (my thing, I guess), a brilliant music scene, excellent food...

Second preference is split between Bristol, UK, and Hamburg, Germany (I was in Hamburg about a month ago, before G20 and wanted more more more...)
posted by prismatic7 at 10:53 PM on July 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Okay, gonna try a bit less sentiment this time.

* I want to visit the house where I grew up, because I know that it's totally different and I want to see what it looks like on the inside now.

* I want to go back to Ireland and visit a spot that is NOT County Cork or Dublin. I've been to Ireland twice, and both times my Irish friend and I have planned a day trip to another place (Limerick once, Galway once) and both times, something thwarted our plans (she thought I could drive to Limerick, but I can't drive stick shift and she couldn't drive then; and the night before we were going to Galway, I got food poisoning).

* I want to go back to the beach on San Juan where my class went on a school band trip, and find the shoes that got stolen while I was out in the beach getting assaulted by sea urchins. Either that, or I'll go there with a sushi chef and I'll get my revenge by throwing an all-you-can-eat uni party.

* I want to visit the ski resort my family went to when I was 14, and take a ski class and then successfully traverse the bunny slope that thwarted me when we went the first time. (I lost control towards the end and tried to stop myself by skiing into an orange plastic net fence they had, but I ended up hitting the pole like I was a Bugs Bunny cartoon and my father couldn't help me because he was filming it.)

* I want to go back to the theater where we did my favorite show I ever stage managed, but this time I want to actually see the show instead of being stuck in a control booth with a flag in front of the window and trying to watch through a bad black-and-white monitor screen.

* Finally: I actually DO get to go back to my grandparents' house, because my brother bought it and lives there now. He totally re-did it, and somehow managed to make it "his" and his family's without making anyone miss the way the old house looked. He actually hosted Thanksgiving the year it was finished and he nervously showed us around, then asked us if we were okay with it; everyone gave him their blessing. Especially since basically what he'd done was to get rid of some of the uglier and tackier elements (although, a couple people did laughingly ask what he'd done with the weird pierced-tin door that used to be on a kitchen storage cabinet, that we all called "the cheese-grater door" and more than a few of us had run into over the years).

We also had a fun game going on that weekend where occasionally someone would stop and stand still in a specific spot and ask everyone, "where am I right now?" and everyone would try to guess where the spot had been on the old floor plan ("The old dining room?" "No, I think that was the hallway to the sunroom, right?")
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:56 AM on July 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yesterday would have been my best friend's 50th birthday. I would love to go back to a time when she was alive and well and we could hang out and talk about books and watch cheesy movies.
posted by mogget at 11:11 AM on July 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

I just found out that Great Jones Cafe off the Bowery is closing after 34 years. I loved that place. It'll pro baba turn into a fucking Pret A Manger or something equally stupid. Fuck.
posted by jonmc at 8:14 AM on July 27, 2017

I am eating
The last ice cream
In The Anchor Inn
And so the children of the landlady
Probably hate me
Because there is no more ice cream
For them
Until the next delivery
Ha ha ha ha ha

+ + + + +

In shocking local news - there's no easy way to break this to the MetaFilter community so I'll just come out and say it - an owl has been stolen. This has developed into a "crimewave engulfs village" hot story, and is the talk of pubs, tea mornings in halls, and worried churchgoers whispering to vicars. MORE DETAIL, SOME OF WHICH MAY BE ACCURATE AND NOT MADE-UP LOCAL GOSSIP, TO FOLLOW...
posted by Wordshore at 11:40 AM on July 28, 2017 [7 favorites]

So it's come to this . . . owl thievery.
Is this somehow related to the unnamed "anti-social behavior at Towles Fields"?????
posted by bookmammal at 1:43 PM on July 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

It could very well be. If ever there was a perfect case for Jessamyn and Wordshore: Rural Librarian Detectives then this would be it!
posted by Wordshore at 2:16 PM on July 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

4am wakefulness
got out of warmth
here instead

Owl, really?
posted by infini at 6:22 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

If ever there was a perfect case for Jessamyn and Wordshore: Rural Librarian Detectives then this would be it!

Perhaps you can get HOOOdini to help you investigate it.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:41 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

4am wakefulness

I, on the other hand, slept owl night long.
I'm no night owl
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:42 PM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

I know I know, some of you have probably gotten your feathers ruffled over my owlful puns, thinking "Owl get you for that!" Possibly even talon the mods about it. But whooo cares? I don't give a hoot!
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:46 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

posted by infini at 7:10 PM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

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