nowhere on earth I’d rather be

The other day I was daydreaming of some of my favorite places on Earth and wishing and hoping and praying for someone to knock on my door to tell me I’d won an all-expenses-paid trip for two to any of those pieces of paradise in my mind.

Any of the original three faves, all starting with M, would be fine by me. Maine. Maui. Montana. I could take a go at any of them. My camera is ready. It always is…to capture this:

Portland Head Light, Portland, Maine

Portland Head Light, Portland, Maine

And this …

Kayaking on Whitefish Lake, Montana

Kayaking on Whitefish Lake, Montana

Then my mind wandered to a couple of our newer favorites. Oregon. Colorado. …

Which then led me right back to our old standby … where we go every year. North Carolina.

Johnny Mercer Pier, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Johnny Mercer Pier, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Each of these places holds its own special spot in my heart, and each has its own special smells, tastes, sounds, sights and feelings.

Maine is where I got engaged and fell in love with being in love. I fell in love with cool, crisp mornings and the smell of the sea. I fell in love with lobster rolls and colorful buoys.

In Montana, I fell in love with the frightening spikes of the tallest peaks I had ever seen. I fell in love with hiking the Continental Divide in shorts, being hot one minute and chilly the next. I fell in love with a lazy raft ride down the river, where I felt the first flutters of the life growing inside me (I was pregnant with our first child at the time).

It was in Maui where I learned my sense of smell is definitely my most powerful, when just stepping off the plane I was hit immediately with the smell of plumeria and pineapple. The most amazing scents that to this day transport me back to the most lush, colorful landscape in the world. I still can’t eat pineapple without picturing myself sitting in the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, gorging myself on a most-incredible buffet breakfast…

Each of our special spots has stolen my heart. Each of these places has me transfixed to the point that I swear I’d pack up my bags and move to any of them the second the chance came along.

And I realize now that what makes them each so special is what really surrounds us all almost all the time.

Nature.

Whether it be the beauty of Penobscot Bay, the sunlight dancing on the ripples left behind by schooners heading out for a sunset sail, or the clean air on the ascent up Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, it’s all about being surrounded by the most breathtaking views. It’s about being close to everything and nothing at all. It’s about being so overtaken by beauty that you don’t know whether to laugh out loud or burst into tears.

It’s that good. I swear.

It’s hard to pick my favorite spot. It honestly is. Because they are all so different. It’s hard to not want to go back to Haleakala in Maui or Mt. Hood in Oregon. Or the Lewis and Clark Recreational Site near Cannon Beach, Oregon.

I’ve been blessed to travel to some of the best, most beautiful sites. It’s hard to think anything compares to them. But I’ve only seen a tiny drop in the vast expanse of what is our amazing, dramatic country. And I know even more amazing spots are out there. And I’m dying to get out there. NOW.

I am so excited that Ken Burns, the most amazing storyteller in a very, very long time, has teamed with PBS for another spectacular documentary. This time, he and his crew hit National Parks. I want to be Ken Burns when I grow up. Or at least one of his photographers. Gosh, I’d even be his unpaid intern. Ha!

So, with that, I leave you with a few photos of some amazing spots I’ve visited. Sadly, a ton of my favorites were discovered on trips before I had a digital camera. And I’m too lazy right now to find photos to scan in. So for now, take these and a promise that I’ll share more later. If you need help planning a special vacation, let me know. I’d love to give you some pointers on where to go to find the hidden gems! And for more travel tips to these and other amazing spots, check out http://www.nps.gov or http://www.pbs.org for more about the National Parks documentary! LOVE IT!

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Clouds roll in over Haleakala, Maui

Clouds roll in over Haleakala, Maui

Coastal Maine

Coastal Maine

Breathtaking view of Mt. Hood, Oregon

Breathtaking view of Mt. Hood, Oregon

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