H A P P Y P L A C E

The staple advice for any problem that needs escaping: just go to your happy place. For years and years, I had no idea of what this “happy place” even meant, let alone what mine was. That was until I was on vacation in England a few summers ago. I had been there before, but that time around, I experienced such a beautiful, simple moment that I could not get out of my head ever since.

When we arrived in the Cotswolds, a region of farmland and little villages in central England, I remember there was a significant yet comfortable silence between me and my family. We were all in awe, taking in the scenery around us, something unlike any other. Lush green fields, thatched roofs, the smells of fresh lavender and heather overloaded my senses until I was in complete bliss. There is something in the serenity there that just made life slow down. Even from the car window people there seemed more genuine and they take their time.

During our time in the Cotswolds, we stayed in a town called Stow on the Wold, in a house literally across from the town center. The house felt magical and had a beautiful garden outside. Most mornings, I would enjoy a cup of tea while sketching a mandala in the garden. We nicknamed the house “the spider house” because the spiders were plentiful and quite scary. But even so, they had a certain mystique about them that just added to how special the place actually was. They were everywhere: the cabinets, the corners, the doors. I once read that when one experiences a lot of spiders in a short amount of time, it is supposed to bring them good luck.

I am not fond of spiders at all, but something about the ones in the house intrigued me.

When you exited the house, you could go one way to go into town or another way that leads you down a path. One evening, after a day full of hiking and exploring, my dad, brother, and I took the path. After a little walking, there was a stone fence with a gate that opened into a large clearing, with a perfect view of the sunset and the rolling hills of the Cotswolds. And, thankfully, there was a bench. We sat down and made ourselves comfortable. My brother and father smoked cigars and we all just sat in silence. Silence has a lot of different types, being sometimes welcome, sometimes awkward and unnatural. This was the type of silence that we knew how profound this moment actually was. The vibrant yet subtle hues of the sky mixed together like an oil painting, hanging over the rich, lush greens and yellows of the hills. There were thatched roofs and villages that you could see as tiny dots on the countryside.

There was something I learned there that really resonated with me. These type of moments are the most beautiful things in life. Back at home, I recalled the train stations, with tired businessmen walking past with blank faces, not happy to get up everyday. Everything is so rushed and people are forced to do things that don’t make them happy. Life is too short; go out and watch the sunset, travel where you always have wanted to travel, see the world. I value my time in the Cotswolds so much, for it altered my perspective on life and what makes it worth living.