I won’t call myself a quintessential traveler, but I do wander from time to time in search of new places that can make me happy – I label them “my happy places”. These aren’t purely physical sites that can be seen – it takes some ingredients to create them. Of course, a physical site is a must – a necessary but not exclusive ingredient. My state of mind at the time is the next one, a happy one usually helps – but more often than not it is indifferent – not recognizing at the time that the moment is special – letting it translate into a reminiscence – now that one is quite magical. The third ingredient can be anything – someone close to me, a song close to my heart or a memory embedded deep inside my mind, yet afloat on the surface.
These three can come together anytime and at any place – hence there is an element of surprise, and a pleasant one at that. It can be a ride in the metro/subway on a winter morning with my favorite song playing in my earphones, it can be in my room, warm and reading a good novel or a gorgeously green garden, in a park which I used to visit with my grandfather or a market/theater with my grandmother/mother, an old home, a long drive on a scooter/bike… the list is endless – and that is what makes me seek more and more, like a greedy child, memories that I would never run out of.
I am my most comfortable self in these places, the feeling is something akin to being tucked inside a warm blanket – made up of fibers of familiarity and fondness. These places make me feel at home – no matter how far I am from the actual one. I feel this should be the theme of all my travels – this objective to “create” a happy place – whether it is a night under the Leh sky, a trail in Tuscany or a halt in those beaches in Greece – in youth or a visit much later – I will be the child I was when I first visited those places, taking in all the beauty of life, creating a memory every time.