When I go on vacaction, I’m looking for a place like . . .well, like Shangri-La. Heck – maybe I’d like to move there. When I was little, my father would sing a song that included the term “Shangri-La.” He would do a lot of humming and then belt out “Shangri-La.” You hear the term every once in awhile so I thought this might be an interesting post.
The term “Shangri-La” is a actually fictional location first mentioned in the book Lost Horizon (1933) by British author James Hilton. The place is described as a mystical paradise – isolated and insulated from the rest of the world. Everyone in Shangri-La is permanently happy and the people live beyond their lifespans — aging slowly and joyfully.
Shangri-La is reputed to be situated on the western end of the Kunlun Mountains in China. Many villages and locales have claimed to be THE Shangri-La but so far there is nothing definitive. Hilton said he was inspired to invent – and write about – “Shangri-La” after reading articles in National Geographic Magazine about the travels of botanist/ethnologist Joseph Rock. But Hilton died in 1954 so he’s not talking.
There are dozens of contemporary references to “Shangri-La.” President Franklin Roosevelt, who was fond of Hilton’s novel, named the Presidential retreat (now “Camp David”) “Shangri-La” in 1942. After the Doolittle raid on Tokyo in 1942 (“Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo”), when asked where the bombers came from, he quipped “Shangri-La.” Later in the War, the U.S. Navy launched an aircraft carrier of that name thanks to FDR’s reference. It would sure be nice if Washington could become a Shangri-La but I wouldn’t count on it. . . .