I spent a majority of my teenage summers at my family’s cabin in Northern Minnesota. On our drive, a transformation would start just north of Brainerd, Minnesota. We would roll our windows down to smell the pine trees and the lakes as we wound our way up Highway 371. By the time we pulled into Hackensack, the CD with our “cabin song” (Keith Urban’s “Where the Black Top Ends”) would be queued up and we would be singing along with excitement. We were finally there. It was our happy place.
Opening up the door to the cabin we’d be hit with the smells of the rough-cut pine that covers the walls and ceiling of our beloved cabin. The smell of ash from the fireplace lingering in the air accompanied with the crisp Northern Minnesota air which smells like a mix of pine and lake water let us know we were home.
We would always arrive late, it was nearly seven-hours of driving from our home in Southeastern Minnesota, but no matter the time, we would head down to the water to admire it in the moonlight. Then, we would succumb to exhaustion, quickly make up the beds, and crash.
The next morning we would wake up feeling more rested and refreshed than we had in months. There was just something about the cabin that relaxed us. It made us sleep better, smile more, and filled our souls.
Sixteen years later, the cabin remains that place for me. When Ben entered our lives in 2004, the cabin became that place for him as well. Without a doubt, if you ask us for our favorite place in the world, we would say “The Cabin.” But there is a region of the world that we have found through our years of travel, that offers us that same kind of peace. The ability to unclench even when we haven’t noticed that we were feeling stressed. And to relax at a level that is similar to the cabin: Southeast Asia. Continue Reading