imaginings: the call to place

How are we called to a place?

Sometimes, our destination is handed to us.  We’re offered a job in a new city, or even overseas; we’re invited to attend a wedding or want to pay our respects at a funeral; maybe we simply want to visit family or friends. Our family may have a vacation home that keeps calling us back. Maybe we’re on a honeymoon or an anniversary celebration and will settle only for a romantic destination. We might have a coupon or some financial enticement to visit a place.

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Al Hamra, Oman – my job took me to Oman in 2011-2013

Maybe we have chosen a random place jointly with another traveler, meeting in some middle ground, or at some mutually agreed upon and convenient destination.

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My friend Jayne from California met me in Jaisalmer, India after I left Korea – 2011

Perhaps we’ve dreamt of a place.  Possibly, we’ve seen a painting that inspires curiosity and entices us, or we’ve heard exotic music, the notes of which linger in our minds, a soundtrack that won’t stop. Maybe we’ve seen a foreign movie, and after we leave the theater, the music and language follow us around, whispering in our ear; a vision of the place lingers. Maybe a novel, a memoir or a travel essay has ignited our imagination. Perchance, we’ve been inspired by blogs or Instagram pictures.

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Santorini, Greece 2012

Quite possibly, we’ve developed a taste for a foreign cuisine, and we find ourselves inexplicably dining at ethnic restaurants, wishing we could savor more of that culture’s flavors. We might be on a quest to explore regional wineries, or the culinary or craft beer scene in a place.

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Homemade lamb meatballs and green peppers at Meteora Restaurant in Kalambaka, Greece 2012

Maybe we choose our journey due to constraints of time or money, to a place within driving distance, or in the next town.  We might have visited a place earlier in our lives and only had time to skim the surface, so we want to return and delve deeper.  We hope to find more meaning out of our journey this time around, given that we’re wiser, more observant and comfortable in our own skin.

Perhaps we’ve suffered some hardship or grief in our lives, or we’re seeking answers to metaphorical questions about life, so we’re called to make a pilgrimage, long or short. Maybe we’re simply trying to escape the hum-drum existence of our lives, and want to visit a place as far removed from “home” as possible.

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Cape May, New Jersey December, 2017

Perhaps we have come into some money and want to go someplace new, and, seeking spontaneity, we spin the globe and go wherever our finger lands.  Maybe a place has always held an inexplicable mystique.  We know we’re drawn to go, and the call can’t be denied.

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spinning the globe

We might seek out beaches or mountains or chaotic cities or exotic cultures.  Possibly, we yearn for adventures and physical activity out in nature: hiking, swimming, boating, bicycling, motorcycling, hot-air ballooning or mountain climbing.

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Hot-air ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey 2010

Maybe we’re on a spiritual quest, called to visit churches, mosques, synagogues or temples. We might yearn for a focused retreat: yoga, creative inspiration, self-esteem building, writing, photography or cooking.  Perhaps we’re writing a book or a story and want to explore a place thoroughly to create a realistic setting. We might want to go on an artistic or literary quest: to explore Monet’s art or Hemingway’s haunts.

Possibly, we love a certain kind of music, like bluegrass or country, and we want to seek out its origins or explore a unique music scene. Maybe we’re determined to visit every National Park or every UNESCO World Heritage Site.  We may want to settle in a place for a time and live like a local. Perhaps we want to explore the history of a culture.  Maybe we’re on a scavenger hunt of sorts: to find quirky off-the-beaten-path places, or unusual art or cultural festivals, or the iconic features of a place. Maybe we’re called to do 10k runs or walks, marathons or Ironman competitions in far-flung places.

Maybe we’ve taken up vision boarding and, led by our inner compass, we’ve put together a vision of a place never considered before. Maybe serendipity has led us to a place. Maybe we are list makers, and we’re checking off the next thing on our “bucket list.”

What I want to know is – how were you called to a particular place?

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“THE CALL TO PLACE” INVITATION: I invite you to write a 500-word (or less) post on your own blog about what enticed you to choose a recently visited or a future destination.  If you don’t have a blog, I invite you to write in the comments below.  If your destination is a place you love and keep returning to, feel free to write about that too.  Include the link in the comments below by Wednesday, March 21 at 1:00 p.m. EST.  When I write my post in response to this challenge on Thursday, March 22, I’ll include your links in that post. My first post will be about Cape May, New Jersey. 🙂

This will be an ongoing invitation, once weekly through March, bi-weekly in April, and monthly after that. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂

I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!