While in New York, my “happy place” has always been Hawaii. I love traveling to Hawaii. I have been there many times now. Ironically, I am not a big beach or sun person. Yet, Hawaii is my happy place. I know where the best mai tai at 9am and best steak dinner can be found. I know where the best track of beach can be found (hint: not Oahu). I love the mixed plate. I love the diversity of people. If I can find one fault it is that the prices of household goods could definitely be lower. When I previously lived in California, it was so easy (much easier that is) to get to Hawaii. Thus, during the bleak super storms in New York the past few years, I have dreamt of living in Hawaii. I am now back in California and it will again be easier to get to Hawaii. While, I look forward to returning to Hawaii, I am set on finding a new happy place.
For the longest time, I have had a top ten travel wish list. I do not want to call it a bucket list because to me that just sounds so depressing and trite now. I want to go to Iceland and still am trying to find a way to do so during one of my many trips back to my great New York. We shall see if I can pull it off. I hungrily and deeply embedded in my being want to go to Israel, Turkey and Morocco. I am looking forward to one day going to Shanghai. If I can find a way to not get anaphylactic shock in Thailand, I am there! Same holds true for Vietnam. See, I have a severe shellfish allergy and by all accounts there is a lot of shrimp, crab and paste thereof in the meals in Thailand. I figure that I can find a way around that but for sure I would be traveling with my Epi Pen and do not want to have it thrust violently into my thigh. I would like to make my way to Brazil and Argentina and eventually Antarctica. One day I would like to ride the train across Mongolia, but I believe that will have to wait. Maybe once I am back in New York, I will make a trek across the ocean to Cape Verde. Yes, I have my travel wish list. I will go most places with a keen sense of adventure and open-mindedness.
Yes, I will always dream of Hawaii. Who doesn’t? And I, assuredly, will make it a point of going again sometime in the coming year. Also, oddly enough for a Puerto Rican from New York, I dream of going to Alaska. Perhaps it is the allure of it seeming like the last frontier place out there (at least in the US). Did you know that Alaska was just rated the happiest place in the United States. Makes one wonder for sure. It very well could be that people are happy due to the warm beer they must imbibe during the cold dark winter days. Regardless, I am dreaming of Alaska. After this summer it will be my last state before I can declare I have been to all 50 states. Alaska represents not only the last frontier but also the meeting of a major life goal. Note, it does not represent a bucket wish list. I want to come across moose in the streets –at least, I do from out here. Up close may be an entirely different matter. I want to see the awesome glaciers and be overwhelmed by how tiny I am compared to what is out there in the world. I want to breathe in and out the crisp northern air. Yes, I dream of Alaska.
Now that I am back in California, I think my new happy place (meaning the place I dream of when I am in a bad situation) will also include Japan. I have been there and was absolutely delighted. The attention to detail and the sense of whimsy and rigidity mixed in together is fabulously fascinating. The highrises next to the small temples serve to remind one of how relative it all is. I went to travel to the northern parts of Japan and see their version of the “frontier.” At least according to Anthony Bourdain’s travel show. I, in particular, would love to traipse about Hokkaidō.
Yes, we all need a happy place that we can be transported to in a minute in our minds. When we sit at our desks mindlessly writing or listening to complaint after compliant, we need a happy place to keep ourselves sane. For me, that happy place will always include Hawaii. However, I now also, dream of the great last frontiers.