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Where To?

With the various things I have going on in my busy schedule, I find plenty of time for small talk. I come in contact with people from all walks of life. This is something I enjoy, because of all that it offers in terms of learning about individual psychology in my introduction to each person as well as the intricacies of each person's story. My interactions with people enable me to form memories that I can treasure for a long time to come, while also enabling me to collect stories and make them my own.

What I find myself doing when I meet people is the usual small talk that it takes to kind of "break the ice, " so to speak. The topics of conversation can range from something light-hearted as "What do you like to do for fun?" to something more serious like, "What do you think about the US's role in Iraq?"

One of the things I get asked frequently about is travel. What are some of my favorite places thus far? And where else would I like to go? In case you are wondering the same, here, I will indulge you.

If we've met, you might recall taking note of my light features and the slight accent, and then, pausing without further ado as not to pry. But eventually, you couldn't hold back and you had to ask: Where are you from? So in case you didn't know...I was born outside of the country. I have fond memories of my time there as a small child, including my wanderings in the city around Nevsky Prospekt and it's suburbia, as well as the small piece of land my family owned in the more remote parts. I would like to go back but for an array of complicated reasons including my own laziness about making the complicated arrangements to go back to visit, I have not returned to my home city and my home country for what is now nearly two decades. I would love to go back and visit for an extended period of time, like a summer for example, to explore my home country as in depth as I have had the opportunity to explore my second and what has become my primary home, the United States.

Mexico. For as long as I remember, for as long as I've discovered there was such a thing sometime in my early teens, I've had an attraction to Mexican culture. I like the food. Or at least what I know of it. I like it's topographical scenery. I've visited a couple of it's border towns, and despite it's questionable safety due to cartel violence, I have had wonderful experiences which left me wanting more. I find myself enjoying the landscape of US territory that was once part of Mexico. I realize that this might be overgeneralizing quite a bit but I've always thought the culture to be warm and inviting in a way that my own home culture can be. My fascination with Mexico and it's culture extends to all the other Latin American countries, including Cuba, Panama, etc. So I'd love to get an opportunity to explore Latin America some day. Not just in my day dreams, the internet, and vicariously through the people I meet, but for real real.

England. For a long time, I've had quite a crush on London. Something about the history in it's soil, the old haunted buildings, and the sexy sexy British accents. As a child, I wanted to explore England. One of my close relatives was a history aficionado with a preference for English history. So I would spend a lot of time listening to talk about England in a language that I couldn't really comprehend in-depth as a small child, only pick up the liking and the curiosity about the culture including the dress and the architecture. After having fixated, fantasizing about England for so long, my interest waned. Some of it, I think transferred over to my new-found fascination with Australia. The accent is just as sexy. And I'm just learning to tell the difference between the English and the Aussie accent, though I still can't for the life of me tell the difference between an Aussie and a Kiwi accent. The desert landscape, the strong economy, it's egalitarian mindset ('everyone should have a 'go') within a capitalist context and the fact that sex work is legal and/or decriminalized in certain parts of Australia are factors that make Australia my dream country to visit.

NYC and LA. Two of my favorite places in the US are probably the gentrified parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan boroughs of NYC and Los Angeles. As the saying goes about NYC, "you can have the whole world at your door step," I think it also applies to LA as well. Both cities, to me at least, pulsate with energy which makes me feel very happy. Of course, there is the usual reasons to cite as to why I like the cities, including a lot to do, etc. But for me, it's mostly how I feel when I'm there, which is, good.

NOLA. Though I don't think I could ever live there, I did enjoy New Orleans when I visited. Mainly, I enjoyed the array of cultures and liberalism of the French Quarter. The diversity of the place stands in stark contrast to Southern culture that can be hospitable to visitors, yet intolerant of those that are different. I've encountered times when this intolerance is voiced in humor so blunt as to seem obnoxious. During those times, I've usually laughed along in politeness, but was careful as to "switch gears" to a different sort of communication style with friends that are from either coast. One of the things I probably enjoyed most about New Orleans is how happy everyone seemed. Seeing people happy (and if possible, playing a part in making others happy) is one of my favorite things in life. So, being that the French Quarter where I was staying in New Orleans has a very celebratory vibe about it, happy people abound and that energy resonated in all, That left me with happy memories of it as one of my favorite places to visit.

Southwestern States. I love picturesque scenery. I also prefer the desert over lush green and/or ocean. So states with low population counts, plenty of open space amid the brown landscape and funny looking cacti, a monsoon season, and an arid climate, fit my definition of a picturesque place to vacation, work on some writing, and maybe one day, live long term.

I've had the opportunity to not only travel through many parts of the US but also experiencing them by living in them short term. I think at this point, I've experienced all that I would like to know (except maybe, Maine). I know the places in the US that I like most, and places I don't much care for. Yet, I'm always open to explore more whether it be here in the United States or far away.

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