Over the years, I’ve traveled to dozens of locations across the globe. I grew up in a ‘well-off’ family where my parents didn’t believe on spending their money on material objects like cars and a tremendous home. Instead, we had more modest belongings; my parents chose to spend their money on travel.
So as a family, we’d take between 6 to 8 vacations per year. My parents viewed every school vacation served as an opportunity to travel; they’d even pull us out of school for weeks at a time for our family trips, believing that travel provided more enrichment than any teacher could provide in the classroom.
When I was five, my parents purchased a beach front condominium on Sanibel Island, located just off the shore of Fort Myers in southwest Florida. This condo would serve as our family retreat, particularly during Boston’s cold winter months. Ultimately, my parents fell so in love with the region that they decided to move there once we finished our schooling. Much to my dismay, they opted to sell the condo, using the funds to purchase a vacation home in another destination instead.
Without the condominium, it’s a bit odd visiting Sanibel; it’s bittersweet. The sale of the condo felt a bit like having a favorite rug pulled out from under you; there was a feeling of ‘home’ that was ripped away forevermore. I’ve tried to re-visit, but it’s not the same. The feeling of ‘home’ that made that island so special is gone; visiting feels a bit like a kick in the teeth.
My love for the region remains, so my dream travel destination is a nearby location: the island of North Captiva. This small island is situated just north of Captiva and it’s virtually undeveloped, save for a handful of private vacation homes and villas that are accessible only by boat.
North Captiva has all the same physical attributes of Sanibel — the incredible weather and beaches with shelling that’s to die for — without the difficult emotional baggage. And just like my visits to the area in childhood, there’s no worry about things such as shopping for groceries or cooking dinner, as most of the vacation homes come with help that will tend to all those matters. So it’s care-free in a way that closely mimics the delightful feeling of care-free that I enjoyed in childhood.
One of the best parts about North Captiva is the ability to bring our dogs — something that’s virtually impossible if you’re staying in a hotel or rental on Sanibel (where dogs are prohibited from going on the beaches during most of the year). For us, our dogs are part of the family, so naturally, my ideal vacation includes my four-legged children! North Captiva delightfully secluded, so you can not only bring your dogs, but they can run free, off-leash, without issue.
It’s also situated close enough to the mainland that you can venture out into civilization if you’re so inclined (though for me, the seclusion and quiet has always been part of the thrill.)
So indeed, my dream travel destination is the tropical paradise that is North Captiva Island.