How does one decide on one’s favourite place in all the world?
I thought this week’s Friday prompt would be an easy assignment. I had only to sift through my memories and select the location that made my heart sing the loudest, the one I most yearn to return to.
Only it turns out it’s not so simple.
I’ve travelled to many places that make my heart expand fit to bursting. Places that have made me want to twirl and sing and dance (I call these my ‘hills are alive’ moments…). At such times I believe I embody pure happiness.
Some of these locations have been exotic overseas destinations (such as Delphi, which I posted about last week, along with many others, including Nepal, Alaska, Spain…). Others have been more local — places imbued with happy family memories (such as Victoria’s High Country and even Phillip Island, which I can escape to on a regular basis and reanimate my spirit).
I can’t single any one of these out. To do so would seem to diminish it in some absurd way. To contemplate choosing one favourite seems narrow-minded and disrespectful to all the others. And oddly backward looking. Sure, I’ve often thought I’d love to return to Nepal and trek to Everest Base Camp — but what about all the places I haven’t been to yet? Choosing a favourite now seems so limiting.
But maybe I’m over-thinking this. Maybe what this calls for is somewhere even closer to home.
Maybe what I’m after is something like my favourite writing cafe — because at the moment, from an everyday perspective, I’m probably happiest when hanging out in the cafe with my computer, feeling productive.
The truth is I’ve been thinking all day about what I would nominate as my favourite place in all the world, and I simply couldn’t settle on anywhere. Every time my mind zeroed-in on a location, it shied away to somewhere else.
So I’m declaring my favourite to be whichever place is making me happy at any particular point in time.
If my soul is being reanimated…
If my heart is expanding…
If I am about to launch into song…
If I am involuntarily grinning like a zany…
Then I am in my favourite place.
What’s your favourite place and how do you define it?
This post is in response to the WANAFriday prompt: What’s your favourite place in the whole world (that you’ve been to)? Why?
To join the WANAfriday fun, tweet your post to #wanafriday. I’ll try to update the list of participants here too.
- Cora Ramos has launched a novel this week, set in her favourite place – Mexico.
- Kim Griffin reveals her favourite place has something in common with Dorothy…
- Siri Paulson has as much trouble as me, yet finds a Norwegian fjord to call home.
- Julie Farrar tells us why Dijon in France is her favourite place.
25 thoughts on “What’s your favourite place?”
I’m loving your definition! Especially involuntarily grinning like a zany ~ which is so fun to find yourself doing 🙂
Heh – grinning like a zany is rather a visceral response to happiness and being somewhere cool.
Sometimes it happens in movies too. 🙂
A good word, “zany.” The epitome of happiness is being happy in the moment, wherever you are. Sounds like you got that nailed. It always makes me want to join you in a cafe, writing–love when you post about that. Far from the distractions of home–as much as we love home it can be very distracting. And writing. Favorites, yes.
I’d love you to come join me in a cafe too, Cora. What a shame we’re scattered all over the world…
And, yes, isn’t zany a brilliant word?
The way you define your favorite place is brilliant 🙂
My favorite place is in Norway. I’ve been to more beautiful places in the country, but this one is my favorite. I have a little story why, so I might blog about it sometime.
I haven’t been to Norway – yet. When I do, I will make a point of going to Flåm. Oh, look, and there’s you! Would definitely love to hear the story… you know, it’s not too late for you to write one today for wanafriday. It doesn’t have to be ‘epic’. (Although maybe the story is…)
I think whether or not you’d enjoy Flåm might depend on how you feel about visiting places that are “touristy.” It’s basically like a tourist enclave with multiple hotels at the edge of the fjord, with some farms overlooking it. It has Norwegian farms and houses around it, and you can walk into the valley and see some waterfalls. There’s also a wooden church that was built around 1667, I think. I thought it was really cool they have such old wooden buildings in the country. You can also take walks along the fjord, and from Flåm you can take bus or boat rides to some of the other sides in the area. The view from the nearby Stalheim Hotel is pretty awesome. Even though seasoned travelers might consider Flåm rather touristy, I’ll always love it there. It’s where I first got to see the kinds of things I went to Norway for, so it’ll always hold a certain wonder for me.
Oh, and my story about why that spot in the picture is my favorite place. On my first trip to Norway, the first thing I did was catch a very cool train ride to Flåm. But by the time I arrived, I was suffering from an anxiety that made it difficult to function for the 3 days I spent there. It was my first time away from my home country, I was traveling alone, Norway is different enough from the US that it took some getting used to, adjusting to an 8-hour time difference was pretty rough, and the fact that I was stressed out was stressing me out even more 🙂
During moments when I felt better, I went to that spot in the picture, watch the clouds drift across the mountains, listen to the soft lapping of the waves and the cries of distant birds, and lose myself in the beauty and tranquility of it.
So that’s why it’s my favorite place.
And while my first visit to Flåm wasn’t the greatest, by the time I left to continue with the rest of my trip, I’d fully adjusted and felt great. Every day after that was a magical adventure that I wanted to last forever.
I don’t avoid the touristy areas — they’re touristy for a reason, right? Flåm sounds beautiful. And I can identify with your story. I really don’t like travelling all alone, especially when newly arrived in a new country. It makes me quite stressed and anxious too. I like having someone to share things with, even if it’s someone I’ll never see again (either a chance-met like-minded stranger or people in a small group tour). I can see why Flåm is your favourite place. 🙂
Once I got used to it, I actually enjoyed traveling alone, but having someone along to share things with is pretty awesome too. I took my brother the last time I went. I liked showing him some of the cool stuff I found on previous trips, and it was nice to have someone along to share the experience of discovering new things.
Plus, I finally got to get some pictures of me in my favorite place 🙂
So do you have any travel plans in the near future?
It’s even better travelling with someone who you ARE going to see again. 😉 And photos of self is a distinct advantage!
I certainly DO have travel plans in the works! I’m heading to the UK in October, primarily for the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, but will explore the south-west of England while I’m there. I’m joining some other writer buddies of mine in Cornwall for a week, then making my way from there to Brighton over about 10 days. REALLY looking forward to it. 🙂
That should be an awesome trip. Have you been to England before?
Yes, a few times actually. But never to the far south-west (ie Cornwall, Devon Dorset etc). I’ve been to Bath twice (and will try to fit it in again) and Brighton once before.
And yes it should be awesome!!! 😀
That’s a great story, Mike. Ellen’s right — touristy places are touristy for a reason! I was only in Flåm briefly, passing through (on that train!) near the end of my trip to Norway, but it really does have everything. Looks like a wonderful spot for getting acclimatized — and it was smart to let yourself have that time. Very important, I think, even for the seasoned traveller!
Siri – OMG, I love that train ride 🙂 Yeah, I figured that relaxing for a few days in one spot while I got used to the time difference would be a good idea. I ended up being really grateful for it when I realized getting acclimated was much more difficult than I was expecting. I’m sure having to follow the rest of my itinerary right away would’ve only made things worse. As it turned out, I was feeling great on the day I left Flåm, and I enjoyed the rest of the trip so much that it was totally worth the difficulty of the first few days.
Mike, my favourite place is also a fjord in Norway, although not the same one!
Ellen, I loved your response so much I was tempted to steal it. But I resisted. 😉 But yes, anywhere that makes my heart sing qualifies as a favourite….
Oh, thanks, Siri. 🙂
I presumed you had somewhere in mind when you selected the prompt, though… And having just skipped over to read your post I see you had as much trouble as I did! Maybe we just travel too much? NAH!!!
Too much travel? Never! Yes, I did have a place in mind — the same place I’ve cited for years — and in the end I went with it, but not without a massive mental struggle! I’ve been to a lot of wonderful places since then, and I’ve loved a lot of them, but like Mike, it was my first trip out of Canada and will always hold a special place in my heart.
I think the first place must always catch the heart in a unique way. For me it was Delphi and Greece. Travelling outside one’s home country for the first time can only happen once.
Siri, may I ask what fjord it was. I’m wondering if I’ve been there 🙂
It’s Hjørundfjord, Mike — inland and south of Ålesund. 🙂
Not a fjord I’ve actually been to (there are so many 🙂 ), but I’ve been in the area (Ålesund and Geiranger).