It's hard to leave, it really is. Because, well, it's Paradise.
Which begs the question: What's Paradise for you? Where would you live -- at least part time -- given all the money in the world and all the tea in China?
Mountains? Oceans? Prairies? Do tell.
There are many places I consider Paradise. St. John, USVI springs quickly to mind. Southern California's no slouch either. And Far West Texas and those southwest deserts are gorgeous and dreamlike and spectacular.
But given my druthers -- whatever that means -- there is really no place for me quite like the Florida Keys. Quite like the lower Florida Keys.
Camping can be tough in the Keys -- the mosquitoes, the no see 'ums (which, incidentally, *I* can see), the wind, and this year, the rain.
But it's also full of mind-bending beauty, warmth, sun, water wherever you look, palm trees and coconuts and the one spot in the continental USA that is truly tropical. And the peeps? You've never met such a collection of freaks, windbags, and warm-blooded creatures so happy to be warm. It's hilarious.
And the Westy? Loves the Keys too.
And no, I'm NOT done talking about the Keys yet. Not for a long time...
Well, the simple answer is that it would most definitely be a beach. If my druthers were cooperating, I’d live very close to where I am now, just about 10 miles further west. And with a big backyard. Hawaii is my happy place, its appeal is similar to St. John and any other island I’ve ever visited – the very fact of being an island makes for a certain kind of feel in a place, doesn’t it? I do like that island vibe. I think I would very much like the Greek islands, all that white sandstone and crystal water and greek food. So my paradise is an island, but my goal is OB.
Prairies, Ellie? Really? Well, not so much for me, but thank you anyway.
I’ve never actually been to the lower Florida keys, so I don’t know firsthand how lovely they are, but they must be pretty spectacular if it’s/they're your very favorite place! I’m sorry you’re currently driving away from them. But I'm sure you'll return again when you have enough Chinese tea.
Like both of you, I tend to yearn for places that are warm and on the water. I love the Greek Islands (I swear I wrote this before I saw your mention, Jacquie). The pace of life is slow and the food and drink are good, and it’s gorgeous, and warm, and often whitewashed, with craggy hills, and amazing oh-so-lovely views. The Italian Island of Capri is worthy of mention for these same traits as well (how could I not mention Capri, right?)
I also love Mexico. There are a ton of great, paradisiacal spots in that country, with all of it’s amazing coastline. And what a ton of spectacular resorts to choose from. A week/month/year at Las Ventanas al Paraiso would be very, very paradisiacal indeed. (But so far, I’ve only made it for a lunch at the tequila and ceviche bar.)
I also loved Costa Rica, a verdant, ecoconcious paradise, and think Brazil is amazingly beautiful and hip and so much fun to kick around in. But there are so many other places that I've not yet been to that are calling. The top two that come to mind are the beaches of Goa, India (Gotta go to Goa!) and those of South Africa.
Anjuna market, Goa photo by David Airey
So, if I end up with all the money in the world, you can look for me there.