Heaven and Not EarthCredit: Tinus Badenhorst

For a Really Good Time, Try These Exceptional Resort Destinations

Practical-minded men as well as pure philosophers have both had their reasons for searching for strange, far-off and mythical lands. Some searched for treasure, some for a fountain of youth and others for beauty, knowledge and truth.

Despite their differing avarices, all those explorers, of both time and place, had one thing in common; a desire to actually visit the place of their dreams. While these dreams were, most often, dashed, here are ten of the most compelling destinations that they fervently sought and that any traveler could ever hope to find:


The only original source for this mythical place is in the writings of the incomparable Plato. While an unimpeachable source and the foremost thinker of his time, Plato leaves a less than categorical description of Atlantis. Although his writings depict the island as an idyllic place for its residents, Atlantis would eventually succumb to a cataclysm far beyond the residents ability to control. Undoubtedly, there was an ancient facsimile of Al Gore, present at the time, who loudly declaimed, “I told you so.”


When the party ended and he was so tired, King Arthur was taken to the isle of Avalon to recover from his wounds. Though his reawakening and return was foretold by many seers, it would never come to pass. Instead, the once and future king was entombed and now awaits a further call from his countrymen. While Avalon is a wonderful place to spend eternity, it is lamentable that the current crop of English aristocracy engenders no desire among the populace for the return of the one true king. It now seems, unfortunately, that King Arthur will forever wait in vain.


 "Seven lost cities, streets of gold, the native girls love, you never get old" – an anonymous Spanish sailor

Everyone knows the old nursery rhyme but the facts behind the legendary cities of Cibola are not quite so evident or beneficent. In the mid-16th century, a Spanish expedition led by none other than the renowned conquistador, Francisco Vazquez de Coronado, claimed to have found one of the cities but they were unable to overcome its defenses. Subsequent forays into the same territory revealed only small pueblo villages. Much later, in Kansas of all places, Coronado would eventually admit that the Seven Cities were most probably myth.

Cloud Cuckoo Land

Philosophers as diverse as Aristophanes, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche decried the futility of trying to establish a community such as this mythical place. For these noted thinkers, nothing was as unbelievable as the utopian ideas upon which such a place would be founded. In their view, nothing would ever be accomplished in tis faux utopia. Instead, they advocated a more realistic view of man, his appetites and how the related to the real world.


Woe to those who cross the River Styx and enter the Underworld for they are fated to endure an eternity of petty insults and sometimes, ignominious and terrible, punishments. It is simply much better to be favored by the gods and triumphantly enter the Elysian Fields after one dies. Originally intended for those mortals with direct connections to the gods, entrance to Elysium was later expanded to allow the admittance of the heroic, the virtuous and the righteous. It is a place without snow, nor storm but of only a gentle westerly wind that gives pleasure to men.


Not just confined to the Christian world, the concept of Heaven is also embraced by Hinduism, Buddhism, the Moonies and whatever religion reveres Kim Jong-un. In all cases, it delineates a paradise or holy place that is distinct from the mortal realm inhabited by the living and the place where the less than righteous go after death. By all accounts, and there are many, Heaven is the preferred choice of destinations for those who have passed on to the other side.


How do the lights shine in the halls of Shambala? Quite brightly, if the Tibetan monks, who hold this land sacred, are to be believed. Unlike most of the places on this list, Shambala has an earthly location but according to the Dalai Lama, it is only accessible to a select few with the right karma. While many Westerners have embraced the concept of the Pure Land, none have journeyed there and returned. So, as the noted sage, Chuck Negron, stated, “Don’t pack your bags until you get your mind right.”

Renowned for several different Otherworlds, the Irish have outdone themselves in the creation of Tír na nÓg. An intrepid traveler would inevitably strive mightily and endure great tragedy before encountering the shores of this fantastical land. Still, his efforts would be extravagantly rewarded if he was successful. No sickness and no death, the finest music and arts plus the most beautiful creatures in creation would all combine to create the most pleasurable pursuits and times. The pace was so intoxicating that, of the very few fortunate enough to find the isle, even fewer had the willpower to leave.

Ultima Thule

Leave it to the ever practical Romans of antiquity to marry an unattainable goal with an actual place name. Most modern geographers place Thule at Iceland and Ultima Thule at Greenland. While these assertions are most probably correct, the pre Christian-era Romans also denoted areas beyond the borders of their maps as Ultima Thule. These areas were generally considered to contain vast riches that were there for the taking if one could overcome the incredible monsters that guarded them. In addition, magnificent natural wonders and spectacular cities awaited those brave and fortunate souls who managed to make the journey. Ultima Thule was the ultimate reward for many voyagers, in both the literal and figurative sense.  


Only the Vikings would consider a beer hall filled with wine, woman and who cares what else as the epitome of heaven. Valhalla is actually one of two places where Norsemen, fallen in battle, go after they die.  The other is Fólkvangr but that place is not nearly as fun as we hear it is run by a woman and has a curfew. Valhalla, on the other hand, is overseen by Odin, himself, with the aid of the Valkyries, and is one continuous orgy of consumption of every kind. Forget Jannah, there are no virgins in this valley of conspicuous consumption.