You hear it all the time, either as a joke or as a suggestion when you’re, say, having blood drawn:
“Go to your happy place.”
With a GPS coordinate bracelet from Sincerely Silver, you can actually take your happy place with you, everywhere you go.
Disclosure: I partnered with Sincerely Silver for this blog post. They sent me the bracelet for free, but opinions are my own.
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“Go to your happy place.” A happy place is the place you picture in your head when you want to relax, to feel good vibes flowing through you. Your happy place is safe, protected from stress and harm. Most of all, you are content in your happy place. Even as you think of it, a smile plays on your lips and your shoulders drop as your release the tension you didn’t realize you were carrying around.
When we’re in stressful situations, we’ve been taught to go to our happy place. When you’re giving blood or getting a shot. When you’re dealing with a trauma that’s too much to bear. When you’re grieving or giving birth.
Everyone’s happy place is different, of course. It can be a generic beach or it can be the one you went to every summer on vacation with your family. It can be an imaginary treehouse or it can be the fort you built in the woods with your childhood friends.
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We arrived at the hotel at dinner time. We were weary from travel, on our way to hungry, and after spending the day on a bus with near strangers, in desperate need for solitude.
I stepped off the bus into the parking lot between the main building of the hotel and a smaller, separate building, perhaps a carriage house at some point. The cream, plaster walls gave me no indication that I was about to be swept away by a vision, by a feeling that I had finally come home, by a memory that seemed so familiar but that had never actually happened.
Our group walked around to the front of the hotel. If I hadn’t looked to my right, hadn’t ignored the hustle to the main entrance, I would have missed the sight that I see when I wake in the middle of the night from a nightmare and need to comfort myself back to sleep. I saw the harbor, lined with cheerful, brightly-colored homes and ships at dock, and further out, the loch and finally, the sound — the sea.
I was transfixed. I can close my eyes, even now, and see the rolling waves, the seagulls swooping across the harbor, the gray sky and wisps of white clouds. I couldn’t believe that such a perfect place existed. I couldn’t believe that a place I had pictured several times in my life was real and right in front of me.
You see, when I was a teenager, Gothic romance was my favorite genre. After reading Jane Eyre for school, my passion for dark, doomed romances was ignited. Next came Wuthering Heights, and then, Rebecca. Rebecca. I’m not entirely sure why Rebecca became my favorite Gothic romance, but I suspect it has a lot to do with Manderley, the estate where the heroine and her husband, Maxim de Winter, lived.
The stately home was as much a character as any person in the novel. Like any well-run British estate (for it is believed that Rebecca is set in Cornwall, where the author, Daphne du Maurier, lived) the house was filled with bustling servants and priceless heirlooms. But the shadow of Max’s late wife, Rebecca, hung over Manderley and the heroine’s (we never know her name; the story is told in the first person) life.
Many chapters, dozens of scenes, include vivid and detailed descriptions of the carpeted rooms, the cavernous front hall, the dusty wing where no one dares go and the silence that’s louder than any scream. And du Maurier goes into just as much detail about the exterior of Manderley, its lush gardens, the crunch of the drive that’s made up of tiny seashells, the rocky beach (or shingle, as the Brits call it) where something happened.
Manderley became the home I wanted, the place where I wanted to be. I imagined it so strongly that the fictional vision of Manderley seemed more like a memory, even into adulthood.
Then came the day, on a wonderful Outlander tour, that we arrived at Cuillin Hills Hotel and I looked out to sea and felt a wave of nostalgia and of an unspoken prophecy fulfilled — I had found Manderley.
Standing on the front lawn of Cuillin Hills Hotel, you have a clear view of Portree Harbor and Loch Portree. If you strain your eyes to the east, you can see the dark waters of the Sound of Raasay, which leads to the Atlantic Ocean to the south, and the Norwegian Sea to the north. The misty weather on the Isle of Skye gives the entire picture the perfect gauzy, mysterious feel that I imagined Manderley had.
The pièce de ré·sis·tance, however, is the drop. In Rebecca, Manderley set on a bluff above the ocean. From the descriptions, it was quite a way down to the shingle. Cuillin Hills Hotel doesn’t sit on a bluff, exactly, but the lawn drops away quickly enough that it certainly feels like it. Plus, the hotel sits on a hill above the road, which truly does follow a cliff that falls to the water. The combined height of the cliff below the road and the hill above it gives you the feeling that you are standing at the highest point on Skye, and that if you took one step too many, you’d be falling to the black, unforgiving shelf of rocks below.
That is my happy place. When I daydream, I picture sitting in low, comfortable chair, with a stack of books on one arm and a hot cup of tea on the other, with a plate of scones, jam and clotted cream not very far away.
Keeping Manderley Close
But, how do we get to our happy place? Simply by picturing it in our mind? Do we listen for familiar sounds? Is there a particular scent that takes us right back to that warm, safe spot?
Previously, I would check in on Cuillin Hills Hotel on Google Earth. I especially need to see it at night, when I’m at my lowest and most vulnerable. I bring up the app on my phone and tap in ‘Portree, UK,’ and there it is. My eyes go right to the hotel, because the town is small to begin with, but also because it’s right on the coastline. Something about seeing it there, even on my tiny screen, gives me reassurance, like it’s just waiting for me to return.
Now, all I need to do is glance at my wrist and I’m taken to my happy place. The rose gold GPS coordinate bracelet from Sincerely Silver is engraved with N 57° 24′ 57.96”, W 6° 11′ 5.424′, the coordinates of Cuillin Hills hotel, my happy place. Just seeing those numbers on my wrist takes me there, and I find myself smiling like a fool. It’s like a talisman now, my bracelet, warding off depressing thoughts and grounding me in a somewhat blissful state.
Take Your Happy Place with You
Where’s your happy place? Wherever it is, you can find its GPS coordinates and order your own GPS coordinate bracelet, personalized with the location of your happy place.
Sincerely Silver has suggestions for a location to engrave on your bracelet, such as the location of your partner (if you’re in a long distance relationship); the location of your wedding; where your children were born; your honeymoon spot; and, of course, your home.
Use code SINCERELY15 to get 15% off your order.
Happy Place Suggestions
If you’re as nerdy as I am, you might want to use the coordinates of a location that’s related to your favorite book, TV show or movie. (Or, at least as close as you can get if your favorite place is, say, Tattoine or The Shire.) I put together a list of suggested locations and their coordinates.
Click on coordinates to be taken to Google Maps. If you want to see the photographic view, rather than the illustrated view, click the square in the bottom left.
Hogwarts, the Great Hall in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone / Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford / N 51°45’01.0″, W 1°15’17.2″
King’s Cross Station in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone / London / N 51°31’54.7″, W 0°07’27.7″ (Note: J.K. Rowling has said that she mistakenly wrote about King’s Cross Station when she actually meant Charring Cross Road Station. You can, however, get your picture taken “pushing” a trolley through the wall at King’s Cross.)
Hogwart’s Express Viaduct / Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland / N 56°52’34.8″, W 5°26’01.8″
Tattoine / Hotel Sidi Driss, Tunisian desert / N 33°32’34.5″, E 9°58’02.2″
Jedi temple in Star Wars: The Force Awakens / Skellig Michael, County Kerry, Ireland / N 51°46’22.3″, W 10°32’12.1″
Game of Thrones
Westeros / Dubrovnik, Croatia / 42°39’02.2″N 18°05’42.3″E
Castle Black / Magheramorne Quarry, Northern Ireland / N 54°48’54.1″, W 5°46’35.5″
Beyond the Wall / Svínafellsjökull, Iceland / N 64°00’44.8″, W 16°43’23.0″
“Stuttgart Square” in Marvel’s The Avengers / Public Square, Cleveland / N 41°30’00.6″, W 81°41’40.8″
Wakanda waterfall / Tallulah Gorge, Georgia / N 34°43’34.6″, W 83°22’13.2″
Wakanda field of battle in Avengers: Infinity War / Bouckaert Farms, Fairburn, GA / N 33°38’09.5″, W 84°42’31.3″
Lord of the Rings
Hobbiton / Matamata, New Zealand / S 37°51’45.4″, E 175°41’07.9″ (Looking at Hobbiton on Google Earth gives me the same glow as Cuillin Hills. It would be my second choice.)
Rivendell in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring / Fiordland National Park, New Zealand / S 45°33’59.1″, E 167°22’21.7″
The Hunger Games
President Snow’s mansion in The Hunger Games movies / The Swan House at the Atlanta History Center / N 33°50’26.4″, W 84°23’15.1″
The Tribute Training Center from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire / Marriott Marquis Hotel, Atlanta / N 33°45’42.3″, W 84°23’06.6″
Overlook Hotel in The Shining / Timberline Lodge, Oregon / N 45°19’52.9″, W 121°42’39.7″
Monolith in Close Encounters of the Third Kind / Devil’s Tower, Wyoming / N 44°35’25.1″, W 104°42’55.4″
Dr. Xavier’s school in X-Men / Casa Loma, Toronto / N 43°40’41.1″, W 79°24’34.0″
Order your GPS coordinates bracelet from Sincerely Silver in rose gold (pictured), gold or silver. Use code SINCERELY15 to get 15% off your order.
A big thanks to Sincerely Silver for partnering with me on this blog post and giving me a beautiful piece of jewelry.