This is my desktop background. I don’t know where it is but I can hear water lapping up against those coral outcrops, can feel the fibrous vines in my hands as I struggle to climb up, can smell the salt and greenery in the breeze. I used to have a world map next to my desk, and I’d often find myself daydreaming while looking at places like the Kerguelen Islands, so far isolated in the South Pacific that they might as well be on Neptune.
Exploring the world and its natural places is for me a never-ending joy. My favorite experiences abroad usually involve one-on-one communion with the natural environment. I’ve scrambled up a rocky hillside in Glencoe, to see sheep disappearing in the mist on the far side of a sad and haunted valley. In New Zealand I walked through a forest I was convinced still sheltered dinosaurs under its massive tree ferns. Here in California I’ve run up to deserted mountaintops with nothing but rock and chaparral to celebrate my arrival. Outdoor places are what truly defines a place, as steel and stone cede to nature. I don’t know where these islands are, but I want to find them and explore.