Visiting places at different ages creates new experiences

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Jack Baudoin

Contributor Jack Baudoin (right) stands in front of a building in New Orleans with friends (left to right) Alex Hornacek, Jack Maloney and Peter Smith in 2019.

Jack Baudoin, Contributor

One of my favorite things is seeing how my opinions and experiences change as I get older. For example, the TV shows I liked as a kid might not be as appealing to me at age 23 as they were when I was 13. I recently visited New Orleans last year for the first time in many years and realized how different my experience was from when I was younger.

My dad grew up in Louisiana, so we would sometimes visit New Orleans when I was growing up. I always loved the city. However, I am an adult now, which means I can drink, and if there is one thing New Orleans is famous for, it is alcohol.

I was very excited to see how my opinion of the city would change now that I had access to this. Not surprisingly, my experience changed big time in many ways, but it did not change at all in  other ways.

I love the history of the city. The amount of old buildings and cultures that it holds has always been amazing to me, even when I was a little kid visiting. Being there as an adult only made this more interesting. I was able to understand the history of the city better, as well as the many different cultures that can be found there. 

Bourbon Street is one of the most famous places in New Orleans. It’s a street where cars don’t drive and is lined with bars. As a kid, I could not go into most of these places, so I was not very interested in them. As an adult, I was able to go into every bar I could find and purchase alcohol. This made me appreciate the street, because I was exactly the audience that it was looking for.

This experience made me wonder how opinion changes on a place when the target audience is children. I asked myself this question when I went to Walt Disney World in Florida in 2019. This was  the first time I had been there in over 10 years. As it turns out, my opinion changed greatly, but not in a bad way.

I still absolutely love Disney World. The atmosphere, food, rides and everything in between is truly something to behold. As a kid, I believed all the characters I met and rides I went on were real.

As an adult, I understand that the characters are just actors and the rides are just attractions, but I now have a huge appreciation in how the entire Disney World property was built and maintained. 

From the design of the rides to the decoration of the hotels, I was in awe of how much thought and effort was put into every inch of Disney World. I no longer buy into everything being real, but I appreciate the effort into making everything seem real for children.

Just like people, opinions change. However, these new experiences from a different point of view have not made me dislike these places any less, but have made me appreciate them in a new light.