Inner Peace in Unlikely Places

Like any traveler, there are cities and towns we visit that provide instant comfort to our wandering soles. To this day, I can think of five places where I allowed peace to swallow me whole. This may sound dramatic but I think everyone can relate to some degree. Many times we are surprised by the locations that end up triggering these inward feelings within but it’s not about when or where these magic moments happen but rather how they change our viewpoints.

Temple Tube Stop, London: As you already know, London holds a special place in my heart. I studied, worked and breathed in every part of this city, so much that I considered moving back after college graduation. My favorite view (which I actually don’t have a picture of) is on a little bench right outside of Temple Tube stop. I remember sitting beside the Thames River, staring straight ahead at the London Eye that shone in the distance and promising to return once I finished school. I was full of purpose and drive in this moment, which is why I recall it so clearly. Two years later I returned to the same peaceful place and told the city that I had found a new love – New York, and that I would not be around for awhile. It was as if I was saying hello and goodbye to an old friend.

Discovering a London sign in the West Village, Manhattan

Alcazar Palace, Sevilla: Visiting Sevilla, Spain was one of my spur of the moment weekend trips. I had a friend studying there and after having to cancel a weekend in Barcelona to attend my Grandmother’s funeral back home, I decided to give Spain another try. After checking into my hostel, I began to explore the area and almost managed to completely overlook the entrance sign to the Alcazar Palace. Thank goodness the small line outside caught my eye because the palace is one of the most peaceful and beautiful places I have ever stepped foot. As I wandered through the grounds I felt as though the palm trees were my shield against the hot sun. The Moorish architecture truly transplanted me back in time, so much that I could actually picture myself living here years and years ago (you never know – it could have happened).

Tintern Abbey, Wales: Tintern Abbey is a perfect example of when a destination exceeds your expectations. My study abrad program had organized a tour that took us through South Wales and while the grass was certainly green that day, the drizzly weather made the trip seem less than extraordinary. However, once we arrived at the ruins of Tintern Abbey (destruction ordered by Henry VIII) I experienced the most intense yet effortless pangs of peace. It’s hard to describe exactly how I felt in that moment but just standing in what was once a grand cathedral connected me with its history. Naturally, I went off wandering through the ruins solo and almost missed the bus heading back to London.

Santa Lucia, Santiago: A few months after starting Bohemian Trails, I decided to travel through Chile and Argentina for a month. I was still very much in transition mode. I was no longer working 9-5 and I was traveling but I hadn’t figured out a way to actually make money again. It was frustrating to say the least but my month in South America helped me grow as a writer and more importantly, as a person in pursuit of her dreams. There’s a hill in Santiago, Chile that has the most spectacular view of Santiago, which is an architecturally intriguing city. The hike up the hill is definitely worth it and the surrounding gardens and creeks make Santa Lucia truly heaven sent for a traveler in search of a good writing spot.

The Nile River: Egypt has gone through some very tough times this year and while chaos looms in their past, hopefully their future will be as calm as The Nile River. During my trip to Egypt I took a few felucca rides. Our tour group actually spent a day and night sailing on a small felucca boat rather than the larger cruise ships. Being close to the river made all the difference. I felt connected to nature, completely clear-headed and open about my worries. I spoke to our tour guide for almost the entire day and although our lives were drastically different, my emotional openness allowed us to have a conversation that allowed me to vocalize my feelings, concerns and ultimate goals in life.

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15 Comments

  1. The World of Deej February 1, 2012  3:43 pm Reply

    I can totally relate. My wife and I have a beach spot here in Florida that does that. Not the most impressive of places, but we return every year because there is a connection that recharges us...
    The World of Deej recently posted..A Taste of Asia and a Hunger for MoreMy Profile

  2. Claire February 2, 2012  1:00 am Reply

    Great post! One of my favourite travel memories is being at Colca Canyon in Peru, not sure how it happened but I let go of so much baggage there and just thinking about it makes me feel calm and peaceful all over again.
    Claire recently posted..Le Père Lachaise Cemetery – Part 3My Profile

    • Megan February 2, 2012  9:25 am Reply

      Sounds like a great travel memory Claire! I love Peru and I know what you mean about letting go of baggage.
      Megan recently posted..Inner Peace in Unlikely PlacesMy Profile

  3. Amber February 2, 2012  6:50 am Reply

    I really enjoyed this post! Can totally relate to finding peace in the most obscure places... There's a temple here in Bangkok, Thailand that I was visiting one day with a Thai family. It was so chaotic because there were a lot of celebrations going on for the New Year, but for some reason, this temple gave me the most relaxing vibes. Such a good memory!

    • Megan February 2, 2012  9:26 am Reply

      Wow sounds pretty peaceful to me Amber! I've also had similar experiences - where I'm somehow able to find peace despite the place being crowded.
      Megan recently posted..Inner Peace in Unlikely PlacesMy Profile

  4. Laurence February 2, 2012  1:11 pm Reply

    I've heard great things about Seville, sounds like somewhere I need to visit :) When I lived in London one of the things I loved about it was the fact that you can find the quietest places to relax even in the middle of such a massive city :)
    Laurence recently posted..Face off: five European cities duel to the deathMy Profile

    • Megan February 2, 2012  2:25 pm Reply

      I completely agree about London! The parks there were so quiet and peaceful. As for Sevilla, you must go! You will not regret it :)
      Megan recently posted..Inner Peace in Unlikely PlacesMy Profile

    • Megan February 7, 2012  3:44 pm Reply

      I love Santa Lucia! I bet it is beautiful this time of year (I was there in the cold winter) but it still was a favorite place of mine
      Megan recently posted..Why Travel Writing is MisunderstoodMy Profile

  5. Maria Alexandra @latinAbroad February 14, 2012  8:37 am Reply

    I can def. share the Nile river experience. I was on a felucca for 4 days/3 nights and being THAT close tot he river, waking up to the sun and seeing the calm waters at dawn were just indescribable experiences. I spent my 22nd day that way and wouldn't have had it any other way! :) Haven't visited any of the other places you mentioned, though. Adding them to my never-ending travel bucket list! Great post :)
    Maria Alexandra @latinAbroad recently posted..Travel through Icelandic food: Photo essayMy Profile

    • Megan February 14, 2012  10:45 am Reply

      I completely agree with you on your Nile experience. I felt so connected with nature being so close to the water. My own bucket list continues to grow also!
      Megan recently posted..Off to Norway With A HitchMy Profile

  6. Alexa Meisler February 28, 2012  4:29 pm Reply

    Wow Tintern Abbey looks spectacular! I'm not surprised that you found peace after looking at something as mesmerizing as that. This is a place I hope to see firsthand someday. Very nice post!
    Alexa Meisler recently posted..March 2012: Where is Roland?My Profile

  7. Terry Denton July 8, 2012  12:54 pm Reply

    Congrats on making the "100 Reasons To Travel" list by Trip Logic As a fairly new blogger, I was pleased to make the list as well (# 16).

    If you have a moment, check out my admittedly quirky travel blog. It’s a fun read, or meant to be at least. ;0)

 

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