Day #3 of the 30 Day Travel Challenge asks me to write about ‘a place that makes me happy’ and, truth be told, I’ve been lucky enough that almost all of my travel experiences have featured places that make me happy. I’d be hard pressed to think of a place I’ve been that didn’t, to be completely honest.
But I’ll soldier on and choose the happiest of them.
I’ve got a lot of fond memories from Korea, Fiji, and New Zealand – but I’m going to say that the place that makes me happiest (and this is super cheesy) is visiting my family at home. Having lived abroad for extended periods of time and not really having lived particularly close to my family since I left to attend University in 2002 – my visits to sleepy Ben Lomond are always a nice reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life interspersed with random adventures.
You’re not going to find Ben Lomond on many maps. Its tourist scene extends as far as a few farm stays and a nearby trout farm that boasts predictably good fishing. There’s a pair of pretty churches, the highest railway cutting in Australia, and some beautiful scenery that many people don’t expect to find in Australia. The common conception of Australia seems to be sweltering Outback scenes or beaches choked with bronzed babes – but the New England region in Northern NSW boasts the four seasons and picturesque green you’d imagine from Maine or merry old England itself.
So, while my days back in Ben Lomond rarely consist of more than a sleep in, watching TV by the fire, and maybe a jog in the early evening before the cold sets in – it’s still the place I can always be happy to return to. My family are always there for me and I know how lucky I am to have that. Whether it’s my mother making a deposit into my bank account from the Bank of Mum when I’m broke, my Dad driving me somewhere, my sister letting me crash at her house, or my brothers just being good people to hang out with – I’m never without support and love when I’m home or abroad.
So, there’s my happy place. And here’s some photos so you can maybe get an idea of why I love it so much.