A couple of years ago I was killing time at Borders Books prior to a meeting. As always, I went directly to the travel section. I scanned the latest guide books for my obsession de jour, and then moved on to the travel memoirs. Mixed in with the latest Frances Mayes and Bill Bryson books, I spotted, My Favorite Place on Earth: Celebrated People Share Their Travel Discoveries.
National Geographic writer, Jerry Camarillo Dunn, compiled 74 essays by actors, athletes, musicians, business moguls, and even His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, describing their favorite places on Earth, with the exception of Buzz Aldrin and Sally Ride. They, of course, chose Tranquility Base on The Moon and Earth’s Orbit respectively.
I flipped through the book, stopping at the people and places I found intriguing. Paris and London were popular choices, along with Jerusalem, San Francisco, and New York City. Some were quite specific (“My Parents’ Victory Garden, Chatham, New Jersey”). While others were quite vague (“The Middle of the Atlantic Ocean”).
I was instantly sucked in. I wanted to skip my meeting and curl up in a corner of the book store and read. I wanted to know why the Caribbean is so special to Morgan Freeman, and why Jean Houston loves America by train. I promptly took the book to the register and plopped down my credit card.
On the way to the meeting, my mind was drawn again to the book. What is my favorite place on Earth? How would I respond given that same question? Cities, countries, islands, oceans, rivers, and parks all raced through my mind. How does one pick their favorite place when all are special in one way or another? I would imagine it’s like picking a favorite child. I racked my brain for the answer. As I slid into the parking lot, it hit me.
My favorite place on Earth is George Bush Intercontinental Airport’s Terminal E.
It’s strange sounding, I know. E is Continental’s international terminal, and so many of my journeys begin here. Once I step foot into Terminal E I begin to feel that nervous, excited anticipation that comes with travel. I am a kid again. I have no idea what lies ahead, but that’s just part of the fun. Terminal E is my last chance to eat Tex-Mex and buy a sugar free Red Bull. Its hubbub of activity only adds to my excitement. I watch other travelers. I wonder what their story is. I get drunk on Terminal E’s action.
Terminal E also welcomes me home. Its concrete arms envelop me as if to say, “Texas has missed you.” And I have missed Texas. I am greeted by a fajita taco, a sugar free Red Bull, and a ton of souvenirs shaped like the Lone Star State. My arrival to Terminal E reminds me that I’m just a long walk to baggage claim, a short shuttle to my car, and a 30 minute drive to home.
The world is at my fingertips when I’m at IAH Terminal E, and thus, it is my favorite place on Earth.
What’s your favorite place on Earth?
Leah's a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, The Daily Basics, Bonjour Paris, France Today, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don't extend to speaking French. Yet.
My Favorite Place Essay
I think we all have a beautiful place in our mind. I have a wonderful place that made me happy a lot of times, many years ago. But sometimes I think that I am the only person who likes this place and I'm asking myself if this place will be as beautiful as I thought when I will go back to visit it again. Perhaps I made it beautiful in my mind.
This place is meaningful to me because it is part of the county I loved, is part of the county where I grew up and is part of my childhood. This place is India in an old city named Bhopal.
Bhopal is a polluted city because its the capital of Madhya Pradesh. People live in apartment or condominium buildings because of its little space available. I grew up in one of the many buildings in Bhopal admiring from my bedroom window the beauty of the lakes, always exploring with my eyes the forest or the meadows, looking for a clean and quiet place. And, I found one on a hill in the back of the town. It is about 100 feet square, it has seven old trees, wild flowers and a lot of bugs and ants during summer time.
I used to go there to sit down on a rock and watch the town and my trees. There was a very old tree, a maple tree, with a huge trunk. The others were smaller, three in the back, three on my left side and the old maple tree on my right. There were flowers, many kinds, white, yellow, purple and blue. It was nobody's place. Nobody owned that hill, but it was beautiful and peaceful and I dreamed many times about a white house over there.
I think that, these kinds of places are meaningful to people because they are natural and people can be there alone, away from their...
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