A Free Trip Anywhere in the World

Last week I was at a gathering when a woman said the daughter of one of her clients gifted her with a trip to anywhere in the world. I sucked in a quick breath. Surrounding eyes grew wide or blinked as people thought of where they’d go.

Skiing in Vail, Colorado, or, better yet, the Swiss Alps would be spectacular. I’d get to swish through pristine mountain-top snow and see gorgeous vistas. I pause, pressing my lips together. Sadly, I’m not a skilled downhill skier, so the sheer mountain challenges would be wasted on me. And as for winter scenery, a few weeks ago Lake Delton’s Mirror Lake dazzled me with its frozen waterfalls and pines whiskered in white against crystal blue skies.

An African safari where I could view giraffes and elephants would be a fantastic trip. I stroke my chin. But I had a taste of what a safari would be like when my husband and I rode a jeep through Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. I would only get one free trip. Maybe I should choose something I’ve never experienced before. 

How about a trip to Sedona, Arizona, where I could explore the healing arts of yoga, Gi Gong, and more? I know nothing about Gi Gong. Maybe I’ll get on YouTube later and try one out. 

Would I like a trip to Nashville, the Home of Country Music, or Memphis, the Birthplace of the Blues, or New Orleans, with its deep Jazz roots? I tap my lips. Why waste my free trip on that when I could get tickets to the Oak Ridge Boys who are performing at Lake Delton’s Crystal Grand Theatre only a few miles from my house?

Snorkeling the coral reef in Australia popped into my head right away, but I tilt my head and ponder. I had the great fortune to snorkel in Hawaii, where I spotted an octopus and swam alongside a sea turtle. That experience would be hard to beat. 

I’d love to see a play at Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, in the U.K. That thought reminds me to look up the American Players Theatre schedule. Ha! I could see “Much Ado About Nothing” or “King Lear” in Spring Green, Wisconsin, so that seems like a waste of my free trip. 

Maybe I’d choose to go birding at California’s famous Monterey Bay, one of the world’s top birding spots. I might spot a yellow-billed magpie or a red-breasted sapsucker. I reconsider. I’m already contemplating a spring trip to Beaver Dam’s Horicon Marsh, where I’m hoping to see glossy and white-faced ibis, snowy egrets, and maybe even white pelicans. That seems pretty exciting too.

Aha! I have it now. If given a trip anywhere in the world, I might choose a quaint location along France’s Seine River, Hawaii’s Wailua Falls, or a Zen garden in Japan. I’d hire an instructor to teach me the art of watercolor. Hmm, wait a minute. I already have the chance to do that. Georgia, watercolor teacher extraordinaire, is offering classes at the delightful Dells library beginning February 12th at 1:00. She’ll continue teaching every Wednesday until May 13th. And there isn’t any charge!

My mind keeps imagining. Would I like to hike and canoe through untouched wilderness in Alaska, Iceland, or Patagonia? I’d see breathtaking waterfalls and old-growth forests. I stare off into space to think. But I have the chance to do that in northern Wisconsin and Michigan.  It’s hard to beat canoeing the unspoiled lakes of Sylvania Wilderness, viewing Bond Falls, or hiking in Porcupine Mountains State Park.

If someone gave me a free vacation to anywhere in the world, I’d have fun researching all the options and then choosing. But until that happens, I’m going to appreciate all the mini-vacations that surround me, here in my own backyard.


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