In my novel Nearly Canaan, Joshua and Jaya settle into a place unlike anything they would have imagined. It’s desert, for one thing, where nearly everything has to be irrigated, for another. Quite simply, it’s a lot like Yakima, in the middle of Washington state. The closest big city was Seattle, three or four hours away. And that, too, was far from much else.
Just consider these in miles, apart from flying time, even when you could fly direct.
- Anchorage: 1,448 miles. Alaska has a spiritual affinity in the Pacific Northwest, like it’s just up the road, more or less. Plus, it had good summer jobs on the crab boats, forget the riskiness.
- Honolulu: 2,680. Naturally, driving isn’t an option. As a vacation destination, though, this was a highly popular option, especially considering the sunshine.
- San Francisco: 679. Like this was the next town south, and like a grown-up version of Seattle, a few decades back. It’s still a long way to drive.
- Las Vegas: 871. Seemed close, especially in winter. Say a weekend getaway. Again, factor in the sunshine, if you ever left your hotel/casino.
- Denver: 1,024. While many think of the Mile High City as Western, we thought of it as Out East. Our awareness largely skipped right over it. See next item.
- Chicago: 1,737. Alaska was closer, and more of a kindred nature.
- New York: 2,408. Largely didn’t matter in our eyes.
- Washington: 2,306. Ditto.
- Tokyo: 4,792. Psychologically, it felt as close as the East Coast of the U.S. and about as influential. We shared an ocean, after all.
- Atlanta: 2,182. And you still had to get to Florida, which didn’t matter since we had Hawaii when you added it all up. Blah!