I have a history of wanting to live in places that I go to.
My first genuine overseas trip (Kangaroo Island not included) was to Fiji, Tonga and New Caledonia; but I was too teenaged, too grumpy, too fair-skinned and too much a country hick to really appreciate those hot places.
As an adult, I got to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia in 1989, and that was my first experience of “Wow, I love this place, I wish I could live here for a while”.
It was the abundance of life that attracted me: every inch was covered in plants, and every plant was bursting with vitality. I’d come from Manila – which is interesting but not really attractive.
My next overseas trip was a terrible mixture of sadness and new people to meet: Lady Devotea’s father passed away unexpectedly whilst on holiday; and we had to rush to England. It’s awful to meet so many wonderful people under such awful circumstances.
But it’s funny how just two visits to London; both of which were to stand around Australia House to sort out a visa issue, started my love of London.
The next overseas trip was to England, and we made a strategic mistake: staying with relatives. This meant much visiting sites of “family” interest; not so much of the stuff we actually wanted to do. The problem was we went without a plan.
We did take a side trip to the island of Menorca to visit Lady Devotea’s wonderful cousin and his family: and it did convince me that living in Spain for a while would be a hoot, though Menorca itself is rather small and quiet. The unexpected passing of this cousin a year later made this trip even more special retrospectively.
We went to Thailand: I won’t bore you with the details since I blogged about 12,000 words on it at the time. Suffice it to say; I could live in Thailand for a while.
2012 was a watershed year: we went to the UK, Barcelona, and Menorca again, and France. And this time, we had a plan.
We did an awful lot of tea in London. We aimed for two teashops a day. And we wrapped the teashop visits around a gluttonous diet of history. And we effectively lived in London for September 2012. And loved it.
This year, we went to America. Why? Because someone asked us to.
An invitation from Jo of A Gift of Tea was the catalyst. We attended World Tea Expo in Las Vegas, visited wonderful friends in Virginia, went to Philly and enjoyed a week in New York City.
And we loved it all.
But America, you are breaking my heart a little.
The place is just so damn big. Australia is big, but empty. The US of A is big and teeming with life.
Whereas we could happily head off to London for a year or two knowing we could find enough stuff to do within a tube ride, America is so diverse and widespread, it’s hard to know what to do.
So, I have to play the “money is no object” game and list the five places I’d like to visit for tea if we lobbed in America tomorrow.
(1) Red Lodge . We both love tea and books. So a place in the absolute freaking middle of nowhere up a mountain somewhere would be perfect. Not to mention it is run by a mildly* eccentric family we met in Vegas (and on-line before that).
(2) Happy Lucky’s Tea House . Eric Scott turns up at Tea Salons on line from this venue (where he works) and it always seems like it’s all happening there.
(3) The Tea Trade kitchen table. Drinking Tea with Jackie and Pete in their own habitat was a wonderful experience, and one well worth repeating. This time, we can bring even more chai for the lady who “doesn’t like chai”.
(4) Every tea room in New York. Because it’s New York.
(5) The entirely mythical tea room where Joy’s Teaspoon, Tea Geek and Bingley’s Teas exist as a bricks and mortar shop and we can sit down with the proprietors, and invite all of our American tea friends. It’s quite a large place. It would be neat if it’s in Boston, just for the sake of mending some history.
That doesn’t really scratch the surface. Portland. Seattle. Miami. The list is endless.
Time to buy some lottery tickets. You never know.
*Mildly? Let me tell you tell you that the three of them look like one of those comic books where you take three different superheroes and make them into a “League of People For Justicing** Bad Guys” or whatever. You can’t have a cowboy hat and a kilt in the same trio and not think that.
** Justicing? Obviously that’s not a verb, but even few weeks in the US can seriously affect one’s English.