What is a 'Happy Place'?
For me, it's a place I can escape to be myself. To just be.
An introspective place to commune with nature and my inner thoughts. A place I can be my most creative-self. A place to truly relax and let my guard down with the people (and animals) I love.
For most of my life, if asked where my happy place is, I would surely have answered, "The beach."
I've always been drawn to the ocean. The sand, the sun warming my face, the waves. Everything about it speaks to me. (Yes, even those pesky seagulls!)
I can hear the sing-song voice of the icecream man yelling "Fudg-o, get your Fudg-o!" while small planes buzz by, white rectangular signs flapping along behind them advertising special discounts and sales.
Toes buried in the cool, gritty sand, sea breeze blowing my hair. A book in my hands. (Always!)
As a teenager, I was a strong swimmer and a lifeguard at my local pool. And trips to the Jersey shore were magical.
I was never one of those girls to just sit on the beach worrying about my hair and makeup. (But, yes. I did worry about that after the beach!)
The water calls to me.
I love to dive into the waves and swim out past the breakers to simply float on the swells. (Now Everclear is playing in my head...how about you?)
Nothing seems very important in that weightless moment when you let the waves wash your worries away. Literally. Like nature's massage.
I've spent countless hours staring out over the water where it disappears into the horizon, contemplating life and wondering just what really is out there living beneath the waves. (Ahem--Inspiration for my latest book...!)
And I'll never, never, never forget seeing my very first dolphin pod swimming parallel to the shoreline, frolicking with each other in the waves, oblivious to the people watching from the beach. That day, if possible, I fell even more in love with the ocean.
I still love the beach. That's not something that will ever change. It's like a connection from within, and if I hadn't chosen to become a teacher (and writer!) all those years ago, my second choice at a career would have been marine biologist.
The ocean, and all of its abounding life, fascinates me on a deeper level. (Sound familiar? If you've read KEEPER, then you know who I passed that love on to! If you haven't, what are you waiting for? Wink-wink.)
So for me, it's safe to say that the beach is one of my happiest places on earth.
But, I've discovered another love.
Bursts of jade and emerald. Deep, verdant greens living high and low, climbing up every uneven surface.
The beauty of nature in its truest form.
Shaded, winding roads with spears of sunbeams breaking through in patches.
Growing up with two sisters, we weren't very interested in 'roughing it'. I mean...think of all the bugs.
No running water.
Primitive toileting situations.
Did I mention bugs?
And back then, swimming in the lake seemed dirty compared to the ocean. (I see the irony now, don't worry, but we're talking about a teenager's thoughts here!)
No, I wasn't interested in the least.
I got married and we had two sons.
Sons who loved the outdoors so much, that I allowed my husband to talk me into going camping. (With the condition that we'd stay in state parks within walking distance to the bathroom and running water, of course. That point was non-negotiable.)
Bonus Points: My husband offered to do all the set-up and cooking, so how could I refuse?
We went on a huge shopping spree to buy everything we'd need. And wow, did we need a lot. ($$$)
Tent and tarp...check.
Air beds...check. (It's still 'roughing it' if the air mattress is on the ground, right?)
Flashlights, mini-grill, water jug, sling-shots, lantern...check.
We set off on a grand adventure.
No one was more surprised than I was to find out that I enjoyed camping.
I fell in love, and discovered that it's not just the beach, but nature of any kind that calls to me.
It's a place where you can go and you're forced to relax.
What a unique concept.
I'd go into the tent and lay down, open a book and just read. In the middle of the afternoon! (Wow!)
Oh, we hiked, went swimming, boating, and fishing. Roasted all kinds of food over the campfire. Observed birds, frogs and salamanders. And read, read, read.
Wildlife is everywhere, both hidden and right in front of you at all times. (Did I mention I'm an animal-lover? I even had a frog collection in my youth.) Another plus.
Fast forward several years and two grown-up sons.
We were comtemplating finally upgrading to that bigger house, when a little over three years ago my husband saw a small three-season cabin advertised for sale in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, only 90 minutes from home.
We came to see it, talked and agonized over it, put an offer in, and now...it's ours. (Who needs a bigger house, anyway?)
This cabin is my very special Happy Place.
Our Happy Place.
A place to escape together. Home away from home.
We spend most weekends in spring, summer, and fall here.
The best part, it has a shower and kitchen.
A toilet that flushes!
And our dogs can come with us on vacation. (No more kenneling for them!)
A creek runs through the backyard, and the sound of the gurgling water rushing over the rocks is the most relaxing sound in the world.
I do a lot of writing at our cabin in the woods.
I'm happy here deep in the forest with the wildlife and towering hemlocks gently swaying in the breeze, surrounded by the people I love most.
(And we keep lots of bug-spray around!)
Though I've been focusing on physical 'places', it's worth mentioning that books have always been a Happy Place for me, too.
A good story has the ability to transport you to another time or place. Another world. Anywhere you want to go (or the characters take you.) A Happy Place.
I've always loved escaping into a riveting tale where magic exists, true love has power, and the unbelievable becomes reality.
Everyone needs a Happy Place to escape to. Whether its your house or apartment, the beach, the mountains, or your front porch step.
I hope you have somewhere to escape.
Where is your Happy Place?
Kristen L. Jackson,
Author of KEEPER OF THE WATCH
Available for Purchase at:
*Book Two, MAGIC HARBOR, Coming 10/10/19!
Kristen L. Jackson, author of JOCELYN’S BOX OF SOCKS
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