We've been to many countries and places and often people want to know which ones stand out the most.
I frequently ask Jamie which locations she either misses most or would like to re-visit. Her list is much shorter than mine.
While we haven't yet found the 'perfect' location and don't even believe such a place exists, here are my top 5 hot spots, in no particular order.
A picture-perfect village on the island of Ugljan off the coast of Zadar in Croatia. It holds special memories for us. We lived there for two months in the summer of 2010. We could never get enough of the deep blue Adriatic Sea and local, fresh food. We found the locals so friendly and welcoming. The weather was perfect, too. Jamie doesn't even like me mentioning the place, because she yearns to be there. We shall return one day with Kobra, part of whose named was derived from the village and country.
WE lived in Piracanga, an eco village south of Itacare, Brazil, for nine months in 2011. Kobra was born there. That makes the place unique in our memories. Our life there was basic. There were no shops. We made our entertainment by visiting the ocean and river and using what was natural around us. We played on the long, deserted sandy beaches. Sharing a home with us were spiders, bats, a rat and, occasionally to steal our fruit, monkeys. Jamie found our existence there too limiting after a long period. But I miss many aspects of the lifestyle, especially just living in a pair of shorts (nothing else required). Zenchai still talks fondly of the place, too, because he made friends there.
OUR Christmas of 2011 was spent in the Welsh valleys. We did a stint of house-sitting and looking after cats and ducks in a beautiful cottage. It was mostly cold and wet, but the house was so cosy and the scenery spectacular. We liked the people very much. Both Jamie and I felt a strong affinity for the region.
THE bustling capital of Argentina is a place I'd like to go back to more than to stay or settle. It has so much going for it - loads of places to visit; lots to do; cheap and efficient transport; lots of restaurants; nice people. I got to know it well during the near-three months we lived there in late-2010/early-2011.
It ranked as one of Zenchai's favourite spots, too, because he loved seeing all the classic old cars scattered on the streets.
ALTHOUGH we were only in India a few months ago (Jan 2012), I look back affectionately on our time there. The weather was perfect and the people so glowing, inquisitive and almost overwhelmingly friendly and helpful. Being by the beach offered our kids a great playground every day. We felt very safe there. Although it was more touristy than we like and India in general is overpopulated, noisy and polluted, Varkala Beach has a great charm about it. Living and being there is so easy.