Mark Twain once said: “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” These wise words are the ones we should all live by. If you feel like your life needs a reboot, why don’t you visit some of these corners of the Earth and rediscover yourself.
1. Paris: The city of love
Paris was made for walking the cobbled streets of the French Revolution or kissing a lover beneath a street lamp, drinking coffee and nibbling a warm croissant as people pass you by, marveling at the Notre Dame and enjoying wine along the shores of the river Seine.
This is a city filled with love and passion; it is a city where all your hurts melt away, and you are filled once again with dreams of renaissance and beauty. What more is there to say about this miraculous city, than that for a rejuvenation of the spirit of love, one must go to Paris.
C’est la vie.
2. Prague: A Fairy Tale Fantasy
Like stepping out of a fairy tale where Cinderella and Prince Charming might happen to be spotted in their carriage going through the center of town, Prague is a majestic city filled with magic and history, and it really does resemble a fairy tale.
Be sure to visit Franz Kafka’s house, drink a cold Czech beer, watch the apostles walk around the town clock and visit the opera house where Mozart was first allowed to play “The Marriage of Figaro.”
Walk down the cobblestone streets and meander uphill, passing houses without street addresses but rather images to represent families and arrive at the top at Prague Castle.
Here, gargoyles guard the gates and gardens that look over the red roofs in the town below. You may even hear the calls of hundreds of peacocks wandering around their home of trees and flowers.
In the second world war, Heinrich Himmler’s love of architecture kept this beautiful city untouched, and today it is still a tribute to brilliant craftsmanship, vision and even the fairy tales we know and love.
3. Find your solitude on the Great Wall of China
The Great Wall is an incredible feat of architecture and wonder. Today, many sections are set to be excavated, while others are so well visited that they have roller coasters; yes, roller coasters. One of these infamous sections, and the most easily accessible, is at Badaling.
Visiting any part of the China Wall in the summer is suicide if you are looking for any kind of perspective or self -reflection, and Badaling is probably the worst. However, a strange sort of peace falls upon the ancient stones during the cold and desolate winter. You may even find yourself walking along, bundled in your winter wear, completely alone with not a person in sight.
If you’re lucky it will snow, and as you look out over the edge of the wall into the vast deep green of the trees that seem to stretch on forever, you may imagine being a soldier patrolling your section of the wall, hoping that today you are safe from invasion.
For a few incredible moments, as you close your eyes, you may listen to the silence that only snow, isolation and inward reflection can bring. Hold on tight to this feeling, for in our ever busy world, peace is easily interrupted and quick to forget.
4. Smell the Plumeria in Maui
There is a reason Elvis Presley frequented the Hawaiian islands as often as he did. When you step off the plane and into paradise, its hard to feel sad or angry or lonely.
The open air, the glamorous sun, the fragrant scent of the plumeria flower, and the easygoing joyful sensibility of everyone who passes you by, is infectious and utterly incomparable.
Get yourself to Maui and find your center once more.
5. Feel the heat in California’s Mojave Desert
The call of the desert is a wild and untamed one. With oppressive days and frigid nights, deserts throughout time have been associated with death and suffering, but what if there was more to it than that?
The Mojave Desert, occupying a significant portion of southern and central California, is one of the most magnificent works of natural beauty.
By day, the skies are blue and spattered with fluffy white clouds; you can bike or hike around and notice that the air is hot with a slight breeze coming down from the higher desert peaks. By night, this home to cacti and creatures hiding from the sun comes alive.
If you camp out in the desert and watch the sun set, you will see the sky and the land erupt in fire. A most brilliant red and orange touches each surface for their moment of a spectacular show, and then in the blink of an eye, darkness descends.
If you listen closely, you can hear creatures out and about and perhaps even a jackrabbit silhouetted in the night, looking a lot like Bugs Bunny hopping about on two feet, his tall ears hearing you and the world you’ve stumbled upon.
The abundant life in this so-called desolate place is enough to remind us that in even in the most dismal times, there is always life and beauty to be revered.
6. Get back to nature in Bella Coola, B.C.
The Great Bear Rainforest is one of the last wild places along British Columbia’s central coast. It’s home to salmon, sea lions, sea otters, humpback and orca whales, grey wolves, cougars, mountain goats, grizzly bears and the infamous Kermode, or more commonly known, spirit bear.
If your hectic life begins to bear down on you, no pun intended, and you find yourself in need of a way to come back to the natural rhythms of life, Bella Coola—a small town in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest—might just be the place for you.
Driving down Freedom Road, built by the Bella Coola community, and entering into a valley as wild and lush as it was hundreds of years ago, is unlike anything you could imagine.
Not only does the journey to get to the valley, humble a person profoundly, but it offers a great sense of adventure, contemplation, awe and an overall understanding of life and our place in it. Visit Bella Coola; it will change your life.
Travel is one of the best ways to seek out adventure, see the world in a new perspective, meet new people and find your center. Any chance you get to travel, take it!