Monday, February 27, 2012

My Favorite Place in the World

One of the hardest questions any traveler gets asked is, "What was your favorite place?"

My first time out of my native country was with the Semester at Sea program in college, where I visited 10 countries in 100 days. Every country was so different and offered commendable, praiseworthy, and completely unique experiences. I truly loved every country but always got asked the same troublesome question: "What was your favorite place?"

How could I pick just one?!! Every place was so jaw droppingly different from home. How could I compare the time I saw a family of elephants walking along a mountain range in the twilight of South Africa's wilderness with the time my friends and I let our drivers have a break while we raced each other and peddled them to our destination in Burma?

As much as I tried to explain this over and over, it seemed that few people understood where I was coming from. Either that, or they just were trying to be nice and weren't really looking for an hour long speech about how every country is amazing in its own right.

I soon thought of a suitable answer to this ceaseless inquiry that I would spout off from memory whenever someone posed it to me. That way, I didn't get annoyed and angry when people were trying to be nice to me and hear about my trip. It went something along the lines of, "Oh, that's such a hard question! I loved them all....but if I had to pick a place I could see myself living in, I would say South Africa or Japan." Ugh, just typing that made me bored.

More than a few years later, I now have a real answer for this question. When people ask me what my favorite place in the wold is, I say "Monet's garden!" with a gracious smile.

Visiting Monet's house is like a dream. It's the most beautiful place in the world. Now when I get asked this horrendously tedious question, I instantly get reminded of it's beauty and grace and instantly forget my frustrations.