Bad Days, Bookstores, and Happy Places

Whenever I’m upset and there’s a bookstore nearby, that’s where I usually head. They’re pretty easy to find, free (unless you have an awful spending habit like me), and honestly one of my favourite places to be. That’s why today, with the pressing need to get my mind off some blood-work and icky needles, I ended up at a nice two-story Chapters.

This is definitely not Chapters but it’s kind of weird to take pictures in chain bookstores, so I don’t have any. This is from The Last Bookstore in LA.

I love bookstores. There’s a handful that I’ve been to often enough that I have the layout memorized, which makes it calming to be able to walk from shelf to shelf, knowing what to expect. I like knowing where the discount books are, where to find my favourite authors, what recommendation tables to pay attention to, and so on and so forth.

I also like bookstores I’ve never been to before. I like figuring out the maze and seeing the little organizational changes they’ve made. It’s interesting to go from chain bookstores to independent ones and seeing the differences in recommendations. Or you can go to used bookstores and relish in the old covers of your favourite books.

Maybe you can tell I’m a book nerd. But I have other favourite places too, I sweat! Outdoors and indoors and across the country and in other countries altogether. Any time I feel happy or like I’m home, I want to hold on to that forever, and some piece of that joy stays infused in that place for me.

Take, for example, my school.

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This is the prettiest building at my school. Also one of few buildings. My school’s small.

This is where I learn and grow and laugh and make memories. And I chose it. I decided to live in this little secluded forest (we have trees everywhere) within a much larger city and I love everything about it. There’s something about my chosen homes that makes me happy. I can escape into the rose garden or the forest by the gym or the basement of the CoE and these are the places where I feel comfortable. It’s routine, it’s familiar, it’s where I belong. I get to call this nature-filled campus home. It’s pretty cool.

First-year me and my dog in the forest that I like to walk through on study breaks.

And this is how we get to the nature, outdoors-y part of my happy places post. Because as much as I like to sit in my room with Netflix or a book, I love being outside. Mountains and trees and rivers all give me major heart-eyes. Also cute little woodland creatures.

Beyond the park I played in when I was younger and the creek by my grandparents house, the first time I really appreciated being outside just for the sake of being outside was when I went on a three month exchange to Switzerland.

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This view was approximately a five minute walk from my exchange family’s house.

At fifteen, this was the most independent I had ever been. I could go anywhere I wanted on my own, since the town and the nearby city that I went to school in were both small and safe. And as someone who was much less social in my early teens, I found myself spending a lot of time exploring on my own. I have so many fond memories of just sitting in a silent nook of the town and reading or writing or listening to music.

It was in Switzerland, as well, that I found myself loving mountains. Not only looking at them, but climbing to higher places and seeing the world from above.

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So pretty. Like… I’m going back now after looking through all my pictures. Bye.

Now, I find myself trying to get that picturesque view again and again and again.

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Banff this past spring.

Muir Woods over the summer.

Planes are also one of my favourite places. I’m rarely ever as happy as I am when I’m looking out a plane window.

 

When I get sad or feel kind of stuck in life, I find myself venturing to these happy places. It can be as simple as heading for a walk, or maybe if I’m in a month long slump I’ll plan a trip to somewhere new and carve out a happy place in the world for me to attach great memories to. There’s no happier place for me than a city I don’t quite know yet. I love having adventures, being slightly lost, and letting stories be created as I walk down an unknown street.

So, those are a few of my happy places. I hope this has gotten you thinking about yours, because I’m a firm believer that everyone needs a million happy places. Maybe that’s an exaggeration… how about a handful? Or a dozen? Two Dozen? You can never have too many! Here’s more of mine to finish off this post.

Museums. And art galleries. Places where I can find Van Gogh.

Boston. Just the entire city.

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Theatres. Sit me down for a musical and you will make me happy forever.

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And to be honest, now that I don’t live there much anymore, I find some comfort in my home  town

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