The proliferation of these books and blogs listing where you should go before you kick off is phenomenal. This is one of the reasons why tourists are sometimes disappointed with a destination because they had such high expectations after reading someone's overly enthusiastic and personal account of a place they visited and recommend you to see before your last breath. No book or magazine or e-zine can can give you a sense of place until you get there. So where you want to go is entirely up to you.
There are places we visit that linger in our minds long after the journey is over. Remember the ad, "Your Windsong stays on my mind"? Here are my Windsongs:
1. Yosemite National Park, California - When I first laid eyes on Half Dome, I had a frog in my throat. I thought of the artist whose hand sculpted it, painted the landscape with towering trees, sketched waterfalls and streams where his pets could sate their thirst and drew expansive meadows where they could play under big, blue skies. Ah, but there's more to feast your eyes on in this great museum of nature. But you'll have to go and pick the artwork you like best.
2. Quebec City, Quebec, Canada - I remember looking down at the Old Town and the river beyond from my room at the Hilton. It was a beautiful sight.
3. Sydney, Australia - As our plane made its descent, I caught a glimpse of the Opera House and thought, "I can go home now. I've seen it!"
4. The Grand Canyon, Colorado - The bus driver asked me if I took enough pictures after observing me clicking away. "I couldn't possibly take enough pictures to capture the immensity of the Grand Canyon", I replied. And he agreed.
5. The Inside Passage, Alaska - I can feel Alaska from where I stand on the front deck. It's quiet and peaceful, the islands are uninhabited and the chill pierces my bones but I am loving it.
6. Cairo and the Nile River - I suffered from sensual overload trying to absorb all the things I saw, remembering facts and figures from the lectures, tasting falafel and drinking hibiscus tea, meeting new people and making new friends, shopping in the souks, sailing in a felucca and speaking the few words I know in Arabic. Inshallah I will be able to cruise the Nile River again.
7. Venice, Italy - On my first trip to Venice in the 70's, I got lost in the maze of alleys looking for a church on a Sunday afternoon. I came across some nuns who were happy to show me the way, saving me from my predicament. That experience left a long lasting impression of bewilderment over labyrinthine streets with no way out.
8. Home - Where I can take a long hot shower, wash my clothes, rest in bed with crisp, clean and sweet smelling sheets and dream of the next destination.
What are your Windsongs?
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Photo by Rosario Charie Albar