Five Places to Return To

– Response to the Daily Post The Wanderer

There is no way I can list the top five places I want to visit because I have no top 5. In my experience, setting a priority list limits the possibilities of surprise, particularly if you have your top five and have already seen photos of them on the internet which will alter your expectations.

So rather than telling you about my top 5 for the future, I am going to tell you about five places I had never thought of visiting until they crossed my path. I made a leap of faith without knowing what to expect from them and they blew me away.

1. The Labyrinth in the Jungle

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This is a park on the outskirt of a town called Xilitla, north of Mexico City. It is a labyrinth built in to a jungle, made up of surrealist sculptures designed by an English artist named Edward James.

2. A City of Colour

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San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico, is my hometown and it takes my breath away every time I go back. The city is full of colour in all senses, on the walls and in the people. Sadly it is also filled with tourists who come to the city to visit the Zapatista and Indigenous communities, which are quickly being exploited. Hopefully eco tourism and conscious tourism will rise quickly before these communities become extinct. Nevertheless, to me it will always be my childhood.

3. Temple of Spirits

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Angkor Wat, Cambodia. I am used to be someone who regarded spiritualism with a great deal of scepticism, but this place changed my life. I am not religious and I never will be, I have walked in to many churches and a couple of mosques and was only ever able to appreciate the architecture. However here, I was able to appreciate something else, something I cannot name because I cannot identify what it was, nor do I want to. But whatever it was, it inspired me.

4. Surreal Berlin

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Ohhh Berlin, you are such a wonderful place. It is here where I learnt to appreciate the beauty of Europe. Berlin is unique.

5. Occupied Rome

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Rome is a beautiful city. Occupied Rome is something else, it is a side of the city that as a mainstream tourist you will probably never see. But what lies behind it is a wonderful mix of life, culture, art, music, food, and politics! Yesss! I love it and will always go back to it!

As I said, I never knew or thought I would experience these places and yet when I did they made me who I am in some way or another. I hope I continue to do it this way, with no expectations, no presumptions, just enjoying what it is, when it is.

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