As I looked out my car window I saw mountains, sand, and more sand with an occasional saguaro cactus lifting its arms to the hot baking sun. At first I thought it was a mirage, a figment of my imagination, but in the distance was a place where the sand met crystal blue waters and the beach seemed to go on for miles.
By the time I wake up, it's almost noon. I enjoy a lazy breakfast of traditional Croatian meats and cheeses while sitting on my deck. I eat in almost complete peace and quiet, overlooking the undisturbed beach that is mere steps away from my one-bedroom apartment. I slip into my swimsuit and patter down to the sand, where I spend an hour alternating between the warm waters of the Adriatic Sea and the soft, golden sands leading out to them.
The smell of jasmine follows me down the river on my bike ride from work. On any given night, you can find my husband, Rami, and me at the park across the street, sitting with our French Bulldog, looking out onto the city that I've chosen to call home.
My favorite place to watch the beginning of a new day is on my rooftop terrace. Finishing the last of my tea, I watch the sun caress the surrounding mountain peaks. When I send photos to friends back in Minnesota they reply, "You look so relaxed and happy." The pictures don't lie.
My husband Tom and I have adventurous spirits. So, last March, we decided to embark on a new adventure, having lived in Puerto Rico for two years. We'd always dreamed of living in Mexico so we packed up everything, put ourselves and our dog on a plane to Miami, picked up a car there, and started driving south.
The idea sounds enticing and romantic...being heralded as a travel photographer with a passport full of stamps from places that would make the common man green with envy. Add to this eager patrons, who will pay for one of your prized pieces for their home and you are living the dream I created several years ago when I decided I would pursue my passion of travel photography.
"I remember arriving at Porta Nuova station," says Rosemarie. "It was late November and the weather was overcast, but the gray skies did nothing to diminish the beauty of the city's center, which features some fine examples of Baroque, Rococo, Neo-Classical, and Art Nouveau architecture.
For my husband, Bryan, and I, Italy had long been a favorite vacation spot of ours. And with each visit, we imagined what it would be like to live there. We'd return home after our two-week vacation longing for the piazzas (public squares) where folks gathered and enjoyed each other's company...
"Looking from our balcony I see the valley with the green mountains that touch the clouds in spring and summer. Our village below has stood through time and the fields above our house are filled with Alpine wildflowers of every color," says Lisa Chiodo, who, together with her husband Sam and their two children, Carina and Luca, now lives in Piedmont, Italy.
Samantha Wei lives on Costa Rica's northern Pacific coast, just inland from the surfer hotspot of Tamarindo, with her boyfriend, Yeison Kim. But you never know where the couple might be on any given day.