Anguilla Park World
I think I have narrowed my favorite places in the world down to just three: Anguilla in the Caribbean, Estes Park, Colorado and Disney World.
Anguilla is for rest, relaxation and restoration. The island is distinctly hard to reach, has no town to speak of, no cruise ships, no gambling, no jet skis… just the clearest water, most beautiful beaches, nicest people and fantastic gourmet restaurants on the beach. Days there revolve around reading, beach walking, swimming, lather, rinse, repeat. My favorite spot, under the umbrella, my Kindle White in one hand, the other gently swirling in the sand. Hardest decision to be made: which beach and what restaurant for dinner.
Estes Park feeds my soul. Here is where I truly appreciate nature, the gift that is life and the existence and constancy of God. The act of simply looking towards the peaks and watching the sunrise can (and does!) bring me to tears. Hiking in the mountains is a metaphor. You pick a destination, and work towards it. It is often a tough trek, and sometimes, due to your own failings or circumstances you don’t control, you can’t reach your target. They key is to notice and appreciate everything around you as you journey forward. The distinct, fresh, cool pine smells of the forest, the quaking aspen leaves, the scars on trees struck by lightening, the myriad of mountain creatures just waiting to be discovered if you take the time to look, the rush of a mountain stream… these are experiences that remind me life is a wonderful, beautiful journey.
Disney World is for pure fun: act like a kid, laugh, scream, live in a fantasy world. Here I make sure I have ice cream by 11 a.m. each day. Yes, I like rides, especially roller coasters, but my favorite pastime is people watching, observing humans at their best and worst under the sometimes extreme duress of family vacations. We like to guess the time of the first child and or parent meltdown of each day, (usually around 10 a.m.) and are always listening surreptitiously for quotes we can use in our own lives. Some favorites: A cute little girl walking down a long hotel walkway “I think everybody should hold hands a lot.” Another favorite “You know, this is really just one big concession stand.” Can’t say I disagree. Yes, it’s expensive, and manufactured, hot, silly and rather exhausting. So what? It brings out my inner child, and I love it (and this from someone who in no way can be defined as a “people person”).
Now that I think of it, there is one more favorite place for me. I try to take the elements of the three locations above and bring them with me as I relax in the most welcoming, comforting place of all, on my back deck with my husband and various family and friends who may visit. I think my favorite places aren’t really about the location, but are treasured because they bring out the best parts of me, and remind me that life is a wonderful gift.