Magical Places

The pool at Travaasa Austin. Fall 201

The pool at Travaasa Austin. Fall 201

A recent coffee session had me talking with a new acquaintance about travel experiences. In the past few years, he’s made it a mission to travel as widely as possible. I asked him to name the best places he’s visited so far.

The magical ones.

You know my meaning: Travel experiences that transcend mere fun or revelry or relaxation and crystallize in memory as utter perfection in time, place, company, and moments. Perhaps you could never recapture the experience a second time. Perhaps the post-trip dream turned into a passion to return. (And maybe even, in some cases, you have.)

My acquaintance shared his spots. And I shared mine in turn:

The Greek Isles

Ten days meandering by water taxi through the Greek Isles, going between islands with no set schedule and finding places to stay as I went along still feels like a dream.

I ate just-picked vegetables and slowly cooked beans and freshly caught fish on the beach with my feet in the sand. Everywhere I turned, I gazed at seemingly unreal vistas.

I’ve never felt so at one with a place.

A Route 66 Road Trip

A friend and I made it only halfway down Route 66, from Chicago to Amarillo, before heading south to Houston. We drove the route in a Penske moving truck into which I’d packed the few belongings I planned to store with my mother before moving to London.

Just that short distance took us a week.

We stopped at every wacky roadside attraction. We ate in every classic diner. We stayed in the funkiest motels. We talked to people who had served the road’s travelers during its heyday. We saw Germans on motorcycles riding the Route for the quintessential American experience.

Travaasa Austin

The first time I visited Travaasa Austin, I traveled there with a cousin for a two-day retreat. Before I left, I resolved to return.

And I do. Ever since, I go back once or twice a year for a four-day decompression trip. I sleep well, I eat well, I exercise, and I play all day. I’ve met amazing fellow travelers doing the same.

You’d better bet I’ll keep returning.

What are your magical travel experiences?