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I’ve been there!

Before my recent vacation, I suffered from Paranoid Traveler’s Syndrome. Now I’ve come down with a case of I’ve Been There! Disorder. When I read an article about the Obama’s visiting London, I shouted “I’ve been there!” I scanned the text of the article and then pulled up my mental map of London to locate the pub where they ate. When I read about their trip to Paris, I knew exactly where Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower were in relation to one another. Now that I’ve been to these cities, I look at photos from them differently. I don’t just see the Arc de Triomphe, I think about the crazy traffic circling the building and how you can get there by taking the Metro and what the view down the Champs-Elysees looks like.

I first experienced I’ve Been There! Disorder after a trip to New York after my college graduation. When I watched David Letterman on TV afterward, I’d clap my hands when I saw the theatre front or the Hello, Deli, thinking, “I’ve been there!” Since I went to Washington, DC a few months ago, whenever I see video of the White House I know what lawn they are on or what side of the building they’re facing. It is astounding that these cities are real places that you can actually visit and not just magical fantasy islands existing in the slipstream of television.

Hopefully, I’ve Been There! Disorder will lessen as time passes, because it is probably annoying for my family and friends that I keep shouting, “I’ve been there!” during newscasts and commercials. Before, I never realized how frequently images of these places appear in our culture, but now that I’m tuned into recognizing them, I notice that they’re everywhere. Perhaps this is part of what they mean when they say travel makes you more “worldly.”

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Jessy • June 11, 2009 at 10:06 am

It never goes away. I went to India 3 years ago and still get the “I’ve been theres” when I see the Taj Mahal or images of Mumbai and Goa. I am planning Europe this winter and I am sure my list of “been theres” will grow.


Marsha • June 11, 2009 at 10:26 am

Our kids got sick of my husband and I doing the “We’ve been there!” when the original CSI premiered right after we visited Vegas for the first time. Its just fun to see those fun places again and again.


Abby • June 11, 2009 at 11:17 am

Hey there…I think I screwed up when I donated yesterday, cuz I didn’t put my website name in my comments…It’s: http://abfab74-abfab74.blogspot.com/

I said my website was my name, which is really just abfab (well, not really, but you get the idea.)

Anywho, loved your entry today. My husband and I went to Belize a couple years ago, and I saw an episode of house hunters the other night in Belize and couldn’t stop yelling “I’ve been there!”


Lucy • June 11, 2009 at 12:09 pm

This made me chuckle – for years I’ve annoyed my husband by shouting ‘Been there!’ at the TV or cinema screen. I’ve travelled to more places than him, so he has to listen to it much more often than he’d like!


Sheila • June 11, 2009 at 12:54 pm

The plural of Obama is Obamas.


Kyle • June 11, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Agreed with everyone who says it never goes away!

As an expat it’s bad too because my cultural references are now different than my friends’ in the U.S. so I constantly have to stop myself from saying, “In Chile it’s like this…”


tessler • June 11, 2009 at 1:23 pm

I went to China in 2002 and I still get that feeling whenever I see pics of Tiananmen Square or the Forbidden City. In fact, there is a local Chinese restaurant that has a massive picture taken in the Forbidden City hanging just inside the entrance. Every time we go there to eat, I catch my breath and say, “Wow! I’ve been there!!”

You should thoroughly enjoy it. Not everyone can say that.


Chandra • June 11, 2009 at 2:15 pm

This makes me think about when The Amazing Race came to my home town of Montreal- the whole time I was like “I know where they are!”. It was also so funny seeing them getting lost, when I know my city so well.


Dee • June 11, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Yes- what I liked about the first (and so far, still only) time I left the country is that it shrunk the size of the US in my perspective.

I visited London and Cairo, and came back like, wow, we are NOT the center of the universe… people are living extremely interesting lives all over the world! I started to get, “Why can’t WE do things like this in the U.S.? Syndrome”.

And now I definitely want more. Next stop- visiting my brother who now lives in Japan.


Vita • June 11, 2009 at 6:36 pm

I am sorry to disappoint you – it doesn’t go away. I’ve been to Cyprus once and now anytime I see news report or just scene taken there I shout that infamous phrase even though it’s been 7 years since my trip. But you know what, it makes me feel great, I can relate with the places I’ve been to and remember those good times.


Michelle Smiles • June 11, 2009 at 9:06 pm

It is chronic. I haven’t been to Paris in a dozen years but I still declare “I smoked a cigarette RIGHT. THERE!” (I was young and my girl friend and I smoked a lot while wandering) anytime I see a photo or a movie.


cindy • June 12, 2009 at 6:03 am

I am on my way to NYC for the first time so soon I’ll be able to say that, too. Actually, I am doing a little of it in reverse ~ looking for spots I’ve seen in movies so I can see them for real. NYC is so common on TV and in movies that I feel “familiar” with it, in a strange way. Now I want to get to know the real thing. Most of my time will be in Manhattan this trip, but if it works out, I’ll go back and try another borough…


K • June 12, 2009 at 6:30 am

You don’t even have to go abroad. I went to university in Oxford and my dad gets very excited every time he watches something that’s filmed there. (Mostly “Inspector Morse” or these days, “Lewis” – do they make it to the US?)


Olivia • June 12, 2009 at 8:37 am

The disorder never went away for me, and I’m 9 yrs out from my stay in Spain. I’ve just learned to manage my outbursts.

I also had a bad case of In Spain They Do X and When I Was In Spain…disorders. Thankfully, that did lessen with time.


boots • June 12, 2009 at 9:41 am

My husband and I lived in New York for a long time and are totally insufferable when we’re watching a TV show or movie that was filmed there. “Oh look, that’s in Astoria!” “No it is NOT, that’s obviously Inwood.” “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” etc.


Calidaho • June 13, 2009 at 1:48 pm

When I moved to LA, I started doing that. The little town I live in is used a lot for movies and commercials so it is always fun to say, “That’s not suburban New York! That’s just down the street!”

And, I didn’t read People magazine before, now I like to look where the celebs are hanging out and identifying where they are.

I need to go to Europe!!!!


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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