Yesterday I wrote a piece on seasonal affective disorder. Writing that piece made me reflect on my first years as a transplant in New York.
Moving to New York was an exhilarating, pivotal episode in my life. One memory that sticks out to me on my first year as an official resident of NY is getting bundled up to watch the parade down 5th Avenue for St. Patrick’s Day. Who cared if I wasnt Irish, I was there to partake of the revelry and stand in awe of the new life ahead of me. Watching a parade down 5th Avenue, in the big apple, bundled up in 3 layers of clothing felt so foreign that it seemed like a sort of rebirth, a new chapter. With the snowflakes casting its baptismal showering of snow, this was my initiation to my new life in my new home. My slate wiped clean and here I was, standing on the lines of an annual New York tradition, in a New York state of mind.
I grew up in a country where the temperatures rarely dropped below 70, where it was either rainy or sunny. Where as soon as the temperature dropped to a “chilly” 60, everyone rushed to put on their jackets and sweaters! We are warm blooded people used to enjoying 85 to 100 degree weather almost 365 days of the year. So yes it was a big deal when there was a bit of nippy-ness in the air.
My family and friends loved to come up north in the winter months, thinking it’s fun to be buried in 5 layers of clothing and feel like a zombie walking down 7th Avenue! When winter is a novelty, it’s fun. If you knew you were coming home to 80 deg weather, a week of snow is magical and inspirational. Winter was quite a novelty for me too those freshman years of living in NY.
Fast forward to present. In a few years I will celebrate two decades of living in New York. What a difference those years have made. And what a change in my outlook on many issues. But lets stick to the weather for now.
Now that the novelty has worn off and the reality that winter will come around again after each fall, I am constantly dreaming of white sand dunes, blue waters, tropical breeze and the ripples of the wave tickling my feet as I sit on the sand with the sun stroking my skin like a long-lost lover.
And because Henry David Thoreau once proclaimed:
“One must maintain a little of summer, even in the middle of winter”, as a sort of survival mode strategy for the long, cold winters of the Northeast, I will keep on visualizing some of the best sunshine destinations I’ve travelled to in the past. Did I mention I’m big on visualization exercises? Because nothing is more powerful than an image, a visual that our eyes and mind can focus on. Yes indeed, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Follow me on a series of sunny destinations from my past travels. For the next couple of days I will share my personal TOP 5 sun lovers haven. Today’s feature:
# 5 SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
For me San Diego ‘s beaches represents the iconic laid back California lifestyle. Unlike the artificial and glitzy air that Miami’s South Beach screams of San Diego’s shoreline has a more down-to-earth quality that gives it its charm.
San Diego is known for its 70 miles of pristine coastline, where mild temperatures make enjoying the surf and sand a year round activity. From the beautiful reefs and beaches of La Jolla, to Coronado, Cardiff-by-the -Sea and its best kept secret Carlsbad beaches, San Diego is my California dream.
When we went, by a stroke of luck we had family who were available to babysit our then only child. This priceless couples get-away gave me and my husband unrestricted time to wander through San Diego and enjoy the beaches by day and the nightspots when the sun went down. We also enjoyed walking through downtown San Diego and La Jolla’s streets and admire the mixed architecture of the area.
The laid back lifestyle, the beautiful beaches and San Diego’s small town yet cosmopolitan feel is what makes this California city my #5 top sunshine destination.
As the Mamas and the Papas song goes: California dreaming on such a winters day………