Again And Again And Again
I was actually nominated twice(!) to participate in this blogger contest relay, once by my friend Rika (Cubicle Throwdown) and once by the lovely Shing (The Culture Map). These are two blogs that I LOVE, and the ladies behind the content are equally charming and magnetic, so to be nominated by them is an honour!
The gist is that I am to write about 5 places I would love to return to as part of Booked.net – Top Destinations to Go There contest. I then tag 5 bloggers to carry on the race to the finish line. The prize is an iPhone 6, and since my phone is just about tapped in all regards, this would be a good one to win.
It’s perfectly wonderful to fall so in love with a place to want to visit again and again. I know this feeling well. For my post, I have chosen 3 places I have loved so much that I actually have returned to, sometimes more than once, and 2 places that have burrowed under my skin and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
I can’t say enough about Ireland. This is the place my ancestors left behind during the Potato Famine to come to Canada. It’s the place where my soul belongs, and where one day, I’d like a bit of my ashes scattered. I see myself there, living in a seaside cottage, waves crashing against craggy cliffs, and blustery cold walks along the beach with a scruffy airedale terrier. My cabin would be stacked with books and strong tea and whiskey and not much else. The first time I went to Ireland, I was 12 and just beginning to understand my family roots. My family and I ventured into old churchyards in search of our family name. We were also invited into the homes of strangers poring out of church after Sunday mass, and they would make tea for us and show us old log books of land deeds containing, yep – our family name. I returned to Ireland again when I was 19 and one more time when I was 23. It’s been a little while since I’ve been back, but I smell a trip there in the near future… *fingers crossed*
Much of my love of Spain is centred around Madrid. I fell in love with this raw Spanish city for the first time in 2004 when I went to Spain in grade 12. I knew from the first moment that I was in love. In the Madrid vs Barcelona debate (because there always seems to be one), I am firmly on the Madrid side. And rather than taking a passive, on-the-fence, indifferent stance, I say no: Madrid stole my heart and lights a flame in my gut. Barcelona just fizzles. There I said it. I returned to Madrid in the fall of 2004 (a love story gone awry) and once more in 2011 when I lived and studied there for 6 weeks. Madrid and I are like lovers at long distance. We never forget each other, and then, when the pining just gets too strong and borderline painful, I listen to the cross-pond shouting and get on a plane.
I first went to Denmark when I was backpacking on my own in 2005. Love.
I returned in 2008 to live in Aalborg and participate in an overseas exchange program through my university.
I returned in 2013 to visit my sister-friend Anna, her husband and their new baby. I was lucky beyond the stars in the sky to see them again this year on my way home from India. I’m learning to really appreciate the people in life who matter, and this girl is top notch.
My Danish family lives just outside Aalborg as well, and I was the blessed recipient of their unparalleled hospitality this year (not to mention the 4 months of fun and food and beer and road trips from back in 2008).
Denmark is the kind of place that is special, and I don’t really know why. It just is. There is a special feeling there, the people are special, and above all, these people really know how to get cozy. I bloody well LOVE getting cozy, and that’s all thanks to living a winter in Northern Jutland. The only way to get by is gathering with loved ones, lighting a bunch of candles, saddling up with a pile of snacks, putting on some music and drinking Christmas beer.
In the words of my friend Kathy, “India gets under your skin.” I didn’t know what she meant until I had gone there, lived there, and then left. It’s one of the most difficult places for any writer to describe, though attempts have been made again and again. Travellers who have become jaded and bored of their nomadic life speak of going there and being reawaken, re-energized, restarted. I had my own personal experience of growth and learning there, and India fell into my lap at just the right moment. This is a place I have been craving ever since I left. I will be back.
5. Easter Island
I mean, come on. Have you seen my blog banner? It goes without saying that this is a super special place to me. I went in 2010, and it changed my life. I can’t wait to go back one day.
Now for the nominations! I would like to nominate Joella of This Beijing Life, Stephen of Bohemian Traveler, Helen of Helen In Wonderlust, Jackie of Jackie Travels and Jess of Ways of Wanderers. I’m looking forward to your lists!