I always take a little detour on my way home from work to drive through my favorite neighborhood near where I live. It is my moment of calm after a long day at work and before being greeted by jumping dogs at home. When friends visit, I always take them on a little drive through the winding streets, point out my favorite house, and tell them about the neighborhood’s history, its inhabitants, its reputation.
Even though I have been fortunate enough to travel to some beautiful countries, this is one of my favorite places in the entire world.
I don’t know why this small collection of streets has become my sanctuary, in a way. I go there when I need to get out of the house, if I’m just not ready to go home yet, or need some “me time” to walk around and listen to music. Maybe because it’s so familiar yet still holds some elements of mystery behind the perfectly manicured gardens; maybe because it lets me aspire to have a big house with a big yard in the suburbs one day; or maybe because its just so calm. Really the only people who drive through these streets are the ones who live there or know the shortcuts to avoid that 5 o’clock traffic, which makes it generally easy to slip through uninterrupted.
When I lived in Buenos Aires and found myself needing to get out of the house, I made Palermo my sanctuary. Walking down the familiar Niceto Vega, past the boutique shops and chic restaurants on Armenia, through one of our favorite parks to people watch, eventually finding my way back to our residencia.
Sometimes I miss that South American sanctuary, but I am grateful I will always have one place to escape to so close to home.
One of my best friends gave me the pleasure of taking me on a ride one night to the streets around Pittsburgh where she goes to find her calm, so I know I’m not the only one. Where do you go?