Top 10 Places to Connect With Your Inner Child

“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.”
—Walt Streightiff

Our everyday lives often feel like a balancing act that even a trapeze artist would shy away from–balancing work, family, housework, finances, and those rare moments of leisure, to name a few. Although we’re on autopilot most days, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of “disconnecting,” as our Istanbul guide Kasper calls it, to come back to a familiar environment with new eyes.

Even our fun-loving Vayable guides need to escape from time to time in order to reconnect with their playful, nostalgic, liberated, ridiculous, and creative sides. Check out the top 10 spots that continue to instill a sense of wonder in each guide’s “inner child.”

10. Syssa E.Heiðmörk / Heidmork Conservation Area, Iceland

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“The Heiðmörk Conservation Area in Reykjavík’s backyard is an amazing 2800 acres of mossy fields, rock formations, cliffs and caves, forests and lakes–all in a vast lava field at the foot of Þríhnúkar volcanic craters. Need I say more? You only need a small amount of imagination to see trolls in the rugged moss-covered lava landscape at dusk and fairies in the forests at dawn; and if you are blessed with more, expect also to meet beings from other worlds that might lead you into some truth you may not have found yet.” (Photo courtesy of Syssa E.)

9. JeffreyTriangular Traffic Island, Flatiron District, Manhattan

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“Tall buildings and traffic jams fascinated me as a child. My opinion of gridlock has changed, but the excitement from cities in action has not. Where Broadway crosses Fifth Avenue, a magical traffic island is created. This triangular plaza mirrors the footprint of the Flatiron Building due south while towering north is the Empire State Building. I order comfort food from Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop (hot pastrami on rye + chocolate egg cream), grab a seat on the island and watch the city circulate.” (Photo courtesy of Jeffrey.)

8. Esther M., Villa Sciarra, Trastevere, Rome

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“Villa Sciarra, a little-known park in the Roman district of Trastevere, is my favourite place to connect with my inner child. I used to come here with my grandmother when I was a child, and I still remember (and my grandmother does too!) that I would get angry because I could not go on the merry-go-round designed for older children. I’m still obstinate and at times capricious, so absolutely this is the place to rediscover my inner child!” (Photo courtesy of Esther M.)

7. Aigul S., Teatro Elkafka, Amalgro, Buenos Aires

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“I discovered my inner child over 3 years ago in the dark rooms of the theatre Elkafka, in the Almagro neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. The stage of Elkafka has become a playground for my personal transformations. Here, I rediscovered myself by taking on lots of new roles, improvising and innovating with others, and making lifelong friends.” (Photo courtesy of Aigul S.)

6. Uriel G., le Louvre, Paris

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“Before I knew it was one of the most impressive museums in the world, le Louvre was a place of mystery and fear. The Great Sphinx of Tanis, the mummies, and the hieroglyphic stones, were among the many traces of lost civilizations before which I felt even smaller than I was at the age of 5. The many stories le Louvre contains, such as the theft of the Mona Lisa, its history as a dungeon and a fortress before becoming a world-famous museum, completely overwhelmed me as a little Parisian. And some years later, it still does!”

5. Kasper I., Büyükada, Princess Islands, Istanbul

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“The Princess Island’s Büyükada, which means the Big Island, is just a ferry ride away from Istanbul and is usually where people go to escape from the chaos and traffic of the city, which is why I went there my first time. Here, you can picnic, barbecue, play football, swim in the sea, rent a bike, or take a carriage ride around the island, where motorized traffic is not allowed. In the evening, the island changes to a great, calm and nostalgic place for a walk with an amazing view of Istanbul, full of lights. Büyükada allows me to briefly disconnect from Istanbul, which is important for someone living in the city for a long time. Just one tip: if you want to disconnect from the city, you should not go to the Islands during a summer weekend, or you will find half of Istanbul joining you on your mini-getaway.” (Photos courtesy of Kasper I. From left: Minnoş the street cat, enjoying the view from Büyükada and view of the sea from Büyükada.)

4. Shane U., the sidecar view of Shanghai & beyond 

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“My favourite place to connect with my inner child is the back of my sidecar. The first time I sat on a motorbike, revving the engine and feeling the machine vibrate, I knew I would have to get one of my own.  My inner child wants excitement and adventure, and that is exactly what my sidecar gets me.  Whether it is in the heart of the city of Shanghai, or the countryside near Xi’an, the sidecar provides for the child within!” (Photos courtesy of Shane U. From left: at Nanpu Bridge; at the Peninsula Hotel; the Pudong Skyline; Xi’an countryside.)

3. Russell H., the Wave Organ, San Francisco

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“When I first moved to San Francisco, a city native invited me out to the spit of land just beyond the Marina Green to make music with the Wave Organ. With it’s womps and gurgles, we had a great time trying to play along (the neighbors were not happy with our childish noise making). To add extra inner child mojo to the Wave Organ, hop on a bike and ride along the Embarcadero, through Fort Mason, and down to the Marina Green. The views are amazing, and the Wave Organ is a creative, architectural treat when you catch it at the right time of the day–when the water hits the tubes just right–for the fantastical fun of San Francisco Bay sounds.” (Photo courtesy of the SF Exploratorium.)

 2. Anne D., Picnicking in Paris

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“For me, picnicking is one of the things that reminds me of my childhood summers. It wasn’t until I moved to Paris that picnics became something adults did as well. They’re the perfect excuse to check out a new location around the city and pick up something delicious at the local market. It’s a lovely experience being around fellow picnic-ers as well, and you can’t help but feel like a local.” (Photo courtesy of Anne D.)

1. Where do you go to connect with your inner child? Reply to our post on Facebook by July 1 with your favorite spot (bonus points if you include a picture!) We will blog the reply that gets the most Facebook likes, plus give you a $25 Vayable gift card to hopefully bring you a bit closer to your inner child’s next adventure. Remember–the world is your playground.

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