Do you have places that soothe your soul? You know, those places that make you feel a little more complete just by being? I do. I have a bunch, and I need to visit one because all this stress, all this winter, all this rain and snow, it's making me feel empty empty empty. I feel as though the only thing that's going to put me to right is one of these places reviving my tired, broken-down self.
The problem? They're all either far away or cold. Ha ha ha, of course they are:
You've all heard it here before - I went to Kenya for a semester in 2003 and it turned my world upside down with its pure awesomeness. Some parts were simply breathtaking, others I loved because they were gritty and raw. There were a lot of things that just made me sad there, things I could not help or fix - but the place as a whole, it made my mind work, it made me happy, it challenged me so hard every single day. Then there are the people - the people that became my second family, the people I saw again in 2006 who hugged me close and said "Ah-LEE-zon. We knew you would come back like you promised." Sigh. Part of me knows I would feel better just going there for one day and having Salaash (below) find me a carmine bee eater or a ball python, hearing him say "this is so bea-yoo-ti-full I could sing "Amazing Grace."" But the plane ticket is several thousand dollars and I have this irritating thing shadowing me called "responsibility." The good thing? I know I can talk Jam into visiting one day, and he promised a trip to Botswana after we're married - maybe because we're all from Africa that it strangely feels like home, fulfills an emptiness inside? I don't know.
Bear Island, NH
A cold place right now. Not so good for visiting...yet.... My grandparent's cottage is my favorite place in the world - near home, that is. It's relaxing, it's on an island so you can't drive anywhere, there are no computers, and only small tv with only three channels. It's quiet, it's peaceful. When I go there I do whatever I want, read whatever I want, eat whatever I want and no one has any expectations of me. I get up at sunrise to take pictures of the sun coming up, then return to my bed on the porch to sleep for a few more hours. I lie in the sun (with SPF 75 on, no worries) and sleep or just stare blankly at the sky. It's glorious. I am counting down the months til I can go back.
I haven't been here in years, but my sister and I spent at least a week there every summer, camping in a pine barren. We would bike around the island - the best way to get around - and see all of its quiet, small, secret places. Though it's kind of a yuppie, wanna-be haven now (hee hee) you can still go there and feel like time has stopped. There are parts of it that feel so old, like those little side streets you can hike up to see Lucretia Mott's birthplace or Maria Mitchell's observatory - you almost feel as though you are living in Nantucket's heyday, in the midst of whaling and ships coming home from afar (and abolition! and feminism!). Out of town, there are still innumerable to find a peaceful quiet place. Maybe I should go there now, even though it's probably freezing - no tourists in the winter!from here
Also a place I haven't visited in forever...but seriously, how could you be sad or incomplete or tired or frustrated when you have those big mountains looming in front of you?from here
This is the first "nice" place my grandparents ever took us. It's in in the Canadian Rockies and it's amazing. This shot is at the lake, but if I went for a visit, I'd stay at the old standby, the Post Hotel. I'd eat at their restaurant every night, get room service for breakfast, and spend a decent amount of time at the spa. Then I'd drink my cocktails in the library in front of the fireplace and read a good book. Sigh.
My alma mater - it really feels like it should be "home" sometimes. I think just being on campus and remembering all the wonderful, fun things I did there lifts my spirits (because I have a happy filter and have blocked many of the bad memories. Like crying over bio tests and having mono!). I always return from Smith ready to tackle some problem. I could easily get there...but when? When can I sacrifice a day of making save the dates and emailing wedding vendors? AHHHHH!
Well, at least talking about these places helped me feel a little better. I think the winter is really getting on my nerves...and combine that with overtiredness, work stress (totally lame) a surprise $500 in car repairs, and the fact that I haven't been on vacation since 2007? Yeah, you get a little freak-out thing going on.
The good thing is that while I might now be able to hit up any of these places for a visit soon, I know I'll get back to all of them eventually. Also, I have a pretty healthy stretch of "free" time ahead of me to sort of unwind and relax. I'll be pet/house sitting starting next week, and while it's not the most relaxing thing in the world, the benefit is that my time will be my own. I don't have to make myself dinner if I don't want to, don't have to do the dishes or help out with xyz around the house. I know it probably sounds selfish, but it's kind of the mini vacation I need from my life right now. LOL. Until day 4 that is, when I call my sister because I'm lonely and bored...and the parrots are trying to eat me.
Eh well, thanks for reading on this damp, gray day. Maybe I'll be more upbeat tomorrow!
*From "Revival" by Soulsavers. Listen to it here Or simply watch Grey's Anatomy, the one where the ambulance crashes and Meredith is able to relieve the trapped EMT's cardiac tamponade by crawling into a wrecked ambulance with a huge-gauge needle...lol