I’ve always been fascinated by the open, red rock plains of inland America. Arizona, Nevada, Texas – these are states to which I’ve never been (yet), but I’ve always been fascinated by.

The major source of this wonder must be various movies over the years.

In the recent past it has to have been the likes of No Country for Old Men, with its ending featuring Tommy Lee Jones talking to his wife, gazing through her, into the past with the Texas sands drifting behind him.

And soon, I will indeed be off to Arizona, following a work trip which takes me to San Francisco first – probably my favourite city not just in America but full stop.

In a rainy, grey-skied January here in Ireland, these places hold even greater fascination and appeal.

At last glance at my weather app, I’ve spotted it’s like a chilly Irish summer’s day in California, and like a really good summer’s day on the plains of Arizona.

As the rain and possibly snow cascade against my windows as I write this, I can almost feel the sun and warmth on my face.

Well, actually….not quite! But maybe it’ll feel that way once I get on that plane and the doors fasten shut.

Here’s to the sunny Pacific coast and the red rock plains of America.