You’re off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So get on your way!
~ Dr. Seuss
One of my favorite things about our community of bloggers is getting to know people all around the world. I’m always curious about far-flung (to me) places. Because of you all, there are many new places on my “bucket list,” and the list is always in flux. Right now if you told me I had unlimited funds and vacation time (or when this blog finally hits it big), these are a few of the destinations I’d go with no questions asked.
Istanbul, Turkey. I first met Anastasia Ashman when she contributed to The Subway Chronicles anthology. She’d already relocated to Istanbul and was working on an anthology of her own called Tales from the Expat Harem, a collection of essays from foreign women in modern Turkey. Reading the essays in her book I was intrigued by the paradoxes of Istanbul: East meets West, ancient meets modern, pop culture meets the call to prayer. Then Anastasia and her co-editor Jennifer Gokmen appeared on a segment of the Today show with Matt Lauer. Watching them in front of the 1500-year-old Hagia Sophia (once a church, then a mosque, now a museum) discuss the adventure of living and working in this vibrant city sealed the deal. Well, that and seeing James Bond flitting around Istanbul on a motorcycle in the film Skyfall.
Positano, Italy. There are plenty of charming seaside resort towns around the globe. What is it that keeps this one on my bucket list? Is it the way the buildings seem to be perched precariously on the hills? The limoncello? The sun-drenched peach and pink colors? Is it that John Steinbeck wrote this beautiful essay about it? Years ago, I received a postcard for a writers conference held annually in Positano. The town burrowed its way into my heart and has never left. Cue clip of me strolling along a path, gelato in hand, staring dreamily at the Mediterranean.
“It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” ~John Steinbeck
Yellowstone. Nearly 3500 acres of untouched wilderness? Yes, please. This is America’s first national park, located mostly in the upper northwest corner of Wyoming. The major appeal of Yellowstone is the vast space with relatively few people. For someone who lives in a crowded steel and glass canyon, I’m always looking for ways to visit nature-made canyons. But this park (though the word park seems like an understatement) has far more than canyons—geysers, waterfalls and prairies. Let’s not forget the bears, elk and bison, to name a few of the animals that call Yellowstone home. More than anything, I want to see the gray wolves in their natural habitat. This has been a dream of mine for years, since wolves were reintroduced to the park. Scott, over at Scott’s Eye Photos, took a trip to Yellowstone a few years ago and reignited my desire to go. The links above are to his amazing photos.
Here is an inside peek at one of Yellowstone’s impressive natural features: Mammoth Hot Springs, a network of 50 geothermal springs creating colorful terraced limestone.
Hokkaido, Japan. I imagine I’m staying in the Korakukan Jigokudani ryokan in the Japanese alps. I’ve just slipped into the onsen, the hot spring. The water is soothing every last care away. I slink down into the pool, just a bobbing head because it’s cold out there. It’s February after all. The macaques, a.k.a. snow monkeys, are watching. Even though their thick fur keeps them warm, bits of ice have built up around their faces. They decide to take a dip in the hot springs, so we’re all doing the same thing, except they have the added benefit of a neighbor picking mites off of their fur. I’m settling for a seaweed wrap and massage.
Once my fingers are sufficiently shriveled into prunes, I’ll head over to the annual Sapporo Snow Festival in Ōdōri kōen where enormous blocks of ice are carved into life-sized statues and replicas.
Galapagos Islands. This is probably the place I’m most looking forward to going, the place that captures my imagination more than any other at the moment. This remote archipelago is where Charles Darwin first began developing his theory of natural selection. Writing for the Telegraph Mark Carwardine says, “Within minutes—sometimes seconds—of landing on this dot in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you can be face-to-face with more strangely fearless and curious animals than anywhere else on earth.” He goes on to say, “One day you could be watching time-worn giant tortoises in the misty highlands, and the next you could be snorkeling with playful sea lions in crystal-clear water. You could be sunbathing on black lava rocks next to prehistoric-looking marine iguanas, or sitting with waved albatrosses as they perform their bill-circling, swaggering courtship displays.”
I would be in my glory to be so close to these unique animals in one of the most pristine ecosystems on earth. As if that isn’t reason enough to go, the Galapagos Islands are about 600 miles west of mainland Ecuador. Which means I’d be right in the neighborhood of these lovely people.
Where would your wanderlust take you if you could go anywhere in the world?
Have a great weekend, everyone!