Is there anything better than the sheer joy of revisiting a place from a childhood memory, years later, and seeing everything from a different perspective? I think it's pretty spectacular, there's simply nothing like it and I thought I'd share my most recent experience which happened at North Pole. No, not the one you may be thinking of, rather the OTHER one, a tiny speck of a town in upstate New York where there's a real live Santa's Workshop. I know what you must be thinking, but stay with me here.
Over 30 years ago, my parents, along with my Aunt Marge & Uncle John (who is likely reading this now and laughing) took me and my cousin Mike on the 5 hour trek up north. Apparently it was in some sort of large van with a custom interior, but to us at 5 years old, it felt like a rock star SUV. We all did it again this time, but with our own kids around the same ages which made it surreal, swapping the van for a snow-worthy Suburban. I remember walking through the entrance to what I considered at the time to be an amazing amusement park filled with real live reindeer, rides, fun snacks and of course the REAL Santa which at that time seemed impossible and just larger than life. While it's very sad that the rides and attractions are all exactly the same, give or take worrisome 30 years of wear and tear, and the food is, well...it just IS, the kids are very obviously elated as they run around from ride to ride in between waiting on line with feverish anticipation to go into Santa's house where he sits by the fire and waits to hear what's on their list. Though cosmetically it's not in fighting shape, the bubbly young staff really try hard, the reindeer seem to be happy you're there, and even the large Christmas Tree that talks back to you still has a sense of humor. And, to see it through my own child's eyes was just spectacular. Sometimes as wanderers of the world, we tend to want to spend our time going to the furthest places on the planet we can think of, we want to explore unchartered territory and be the first in our circles to see somewhere new. I'm all for it, but don't discount what's right in front of you, and think about the different ways in which you can share it with someone you love. Seeing someplace again that you loved, years later from a completely different vantage point, evokes some of the most powerful travel emotions possible. Share your place on our Facebook page! And, go see Santa...they're even open in the summer if the mood strikes.