On the northern coast of Florida lies a community reminiscent of the Greek Isles with a touch of southern Spain. A whitewashed village of homes transports you out of the norm and lands you in a realm of quiet and class.
The golden city of Jaisalmer is a labyrinth of stone and sunlight. Its greatest feature, the Jaisalmer Fort rises out of a hill, rolling through the cloudless sky with a wave of curved outer walls. Built from yellow sandstone, it glows in the heart of Thar desert.
There is a time in late spring where women weave through flowers. Kimonos of color mirror the latest bloom in silk stitches. The trees are in celebration, decorating Kyoto with a sea of cherry blossoms.
If one ventures out into the wintry north, you can see the shores of Sleeping Bear Dunes painted white. Wearing ice cleats to have a sturdy pace, we made our way to the Lake Michigan Overlook to view them in January.
Wind whips my hair into a crazy tentacle frenzy as we ride into the desert. The windows are all down in the Bolero that zips past dry clouds of golden dust and Indian music filled with sitar and drums crackles out of the speakers. Cows create traffic jams on the otherwise empty road that leads us to our campsite. Suddenly we arrive to our oasis where we will join in a camel safari and all worries as to whether it would be the right decision dissolve. Beautiful grounds spread before us where peacocks strut in the brush and pink desert flowers bloom outside of our tent.
The ancient city of Bhaktapur is a jewel in the rough. On the outskirts of town, one could pass by without knowing what lies hidden within its unassuming walls. Hopping off the public bus with no shortage of colorful hanging beads and Bollywood beats, we wandered down the street looking for our guesthouse.
My next trip to Nepal, Bhutan and India seemed so far away at one point, slowly edging their way into my present. Now the trip is picking up speed and soon I’ll be flying over snow-capped mountains. Back home it is fall in Michigan, I’ve been savoring the season I missed on my year long journey across oceans. It was also slow to appear this year with warm weather reaching far into October. I caught it earlier up north while exploring Mackinac Island, Tahquamenon Falls, and Tawas.
After wandering the world for a year, I yearned for home. The one place that tugged on my heart strings most was Mackinac Island and I planned a trip there months before I returned to Michigan. I have never lived there and the only thing it houses are memories. This magic island however, encapsulates the things I love most about the USA and the state I grew up in. It is a perfect slice of American pie that satisfies a soul searching hunger in me every time I return.
The small Alaskan town of Petersburg is a place where time is told by the tides. High and low will let you know when you can come and when to go. Water winds its way through the land from the narrow sloughs out to the sea where the latest catch is being brought home. A rain forest rests along these shores with lime-green lichen coating wet, dark stumps on shady paths. The contrast of color makes green life glow in the dim light that filters through endless tiers of hemlock branches. Moss grows thick underfoot and if you aren’t careful you might just lose yourself to the quiet.
There is a place of salt and water, age and algae called Mono Lake in California. It’s a place of strange shapes formed from mixing calcium and carbonate. Over the years, towers formed called tufa. Tan spires of all shapes and sizes bloom under the water’s surface and older ones fill the shoreline.