When the going gets bad, the prey runs. When it comes to fight or flight, I’m a flier. Unfortunately, there are lots of stressful situations- moving, for example, in a mere three weeks with no particular place in mind as of yet and two large dogs to manage in the process- where flight is potentially a less than optimal response. So in those cases, I hold in my head a file folder of Happy Places to which I can retreat, if only for a moment, if only in my head. A Total Recall, if you will, of my own making, a temporary respite I can run off to, soak up the sun, and return to whatever garbage heap I have to sort through upon my return.
I have different kinds of happy places depending on my needs at the moment: Serene ones. Fun ones.
One year ago, I was in the most beautiful place on Earth. Tanzania was so gorgeous, so everything that I expected it to be, that to bring back the memories causes me an almost visceral ache of longing to see it once again.
The moment we arrived on shore at Greystoke Mahale will forever be one of the most stunning memories of my life, a lifelong dream finally coming true after two decades of wishing.
Everything there was more vivid, more alive, it seemed.
Though maybe it was just the adrenaline talking.
Sharing a water hole with wild elephants under the blistering sun beats a cruise ship any day.
And the sky- looking up from a lantern-lit boma to see the inky expanse arching over you in a vast and silent blanket: well, let’s just say going to Disneyland for vacation will never hold the same appeal again.
I think I will be here a lot in the coming weeks. What’s your happy place?