Now I get that that last sentence is the most horrid humble-brag imaginable so let me make clear that I haven't spent hours narrowing it down to those two from the vast array of exotic places I've been to; it's the fact that I've only been to two exotic places that's making it tough to choose.
Kaiteriteri is the place I most associate with the first big holiday I ever took with my beloved EngineerBoy. We rented a camper van and drove around the South Island of New Zealand. We spent two nights at Kaiteriteri's camping ground right next to the beach, where there was a sandwich bar that did cheese and ham toasties. I'm not sure if it's possible to achieve a higher level of contentment than sitting watching the sea eating a cheese and ham toasty. Unfortunately though cheese and ham toasties definitely don't count as glamourous and exotic so Kaiteriteri is, regretfully, relegated to second place, and my favourite exotic location is Maui.
At the risk of coming over all 'holiday brochure' about it, Maui is incredible. It's the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, and along with its Hawaiian Island buddies, forms a tiny speck of land in the middle of the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. It's a weird cultural mix of American, Polynesian, and something completely unique. The beaches are incredible. The wildlife is incredible. The whole atmosphere is incredible. But none of these are my reason for picking Maui as my favourite exotic location. My reason is simple: Maui is magic.
Now you're going to have to bear with me here, because I don't mean 'magic' in the sense of 'romantic, beautiful, inspiring.' I mean actually magic. And I have evidence. While we were in Hawaii, EngineerBoy and I got a teensy bit fixated on wanting to see a whale breaching. A breach is when the whale 'jumps' out of the water. During our holiday we went out on whale-watching trips and snorkelling boats, and we saw lots of whales. We saw whales up close to the boats, and in the distance from the beach and the cliffs, but by the final day we still hadn't seen a proper breach. On the drive back to the airport we stopped for a few minutes at a viewing point on top of the cliff. We had no time left. There was a plane to catch and a home and jobs to get back to, but we both had that end of holiday 'Why can't we just stay here forever?' feeling. I stuck out my bottom lip, leaned on the barrier and announced that I wasn't moving from that spot until I'd seen a whale breach. And one did. Right in front of us. Right at that moment - the thing we'd been waiting for appeared on demand at the last possible second. And so there you go. Maui - it's actually magic. Either that or the whale thing was just a coincidence, but I'm going to go with the 'magic' explanation. It's much much more exciting.
Wow, that sounds wonderful, Alison - thank you for sharing!
Alison is a novelist and short story writer, who grew up in North Yorkshire and now lives with her husband in Worcester. Her contemporary romantic comedies, including Sweet Nothing, Holly's Christmas Kiss, and Cora's Christmas Kiss, are published by Choc Lit. Alison is also a qualified teacher with a degree in Creative Writing, and teaches novel writing workshops and courses. You can find out more about Alison at www.alison-may.co.uk or on Twitter @MsAlisonMay
Alison's latest book, Midsummer Dreams¸ is available for Kindle pre-order now.
About Midsummer Dreams:-
Four people. Four messy lives. One night that changes everything… Emily is obsessed with ending her father's new relationship - but is blind to the fact that her own is far from perfect. Dominic has spent so long making other people happy that he's hardly noticed he's not happy himself. Helen has loved the same man, unrequitedly, for ten years. Now she may have to face up to the fact that he will never be hers. Alex has always played the field. But when he finally meets a girl he wants to commit to, she is just out of his reach. At a midsummer wedding party, the bonds that tie the four friends together begin to unravel and show them that, sometimes, the sensible choice might not always be the right one.
Please come back tomorrow to hear about Georgia Hill's slightly scarier adventures!
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