Vacations at Home

I have always liked staying at home.  It takes some convincing to get me to go places, and I m happy for the wonderful places I’ve been — Las Vegas, Florida, New York City, Minnesota, California, Canada, Orkney Islands,  Australia, Costa Rica, Hawaii — and I’m happy that my big traveling days are pretty much over because of my back.  (Actually, I wouldn’t mind seeing New Zealand and getting back to Australia, but that might have to happen in the next life.)  On weekends, I’ve always loved hanging out at my house, and my idea of vacations as an older person, is to have a place to go and then just stay for the whole vacation.  Maybe because the grass is always greener…and as a child, we traveled constantly during vacations for my dad to collect crickets.  (That was a great experience, and I’ve written a story about it and have only good memories.)  But I also envied my friends who went to cabins or whatever to spend their vacations at a second home.

Well now I have the best of all worlds.  I have a wonderful second home (at least for now, until it becomes my first home!) where I can spend my vacations, where we can just BE, and we get to take 3 days to travel there and back.  But if the vacation is too short for that amount of traveling, then we just stay home in CA.  I am lucky to have a partner who loves (even more than me) to stay home during time off.  It is hard for friends to believe, because most of them use the vacations to go places, to take camping and hiking trips, or stay in Mendocino, or visit Los Angeles, or go to Hawaii.  Many of these people also like to do things in the evenings, or on weekends.  I guess it’s odd here in California, to want to stay home, when there are so many opportunities for entertainment and travel in the area.  But that’s how we are, and having just come off a week’s spring break (for Sarita), we both feel strongly that it was the best ever, and that we are going into the rest of the year as changed people.

Unfortunately, I had shingles during this break, so I cancelled most of even the smallest commitments I had.  The one day we were going to go into the city to view a wonderful exhibit at the Asian Art Museum, we cancelled because I didn’t have the stamina.  But it didn’t matter at all.  In fact, it seemed to be the best possible thing, because Sarita and I had more time to be together at home, where we work on our own projects, and love to be around each other, connecting and then going off on our own in a very fluid way.  So what makes us feel fundamentally changed after such a time?

Maybe it has to do with that space for thought I was talking about before.  We had plenty of time to think about what was important and then act on it, so that we were able to move into the next realm of our being.  Sarita spent the time creating her blog, (Restless Boots Comics, or saritajohnson@blogspot.com) which we hope helps her get her graphic novels published, and I spent the time writing and recording songs.  We sort of moved into the phase of becoming more public with our projects, the things we love to do, the ones that really define us as individuals.  (The last post talks more about all this.)

The fact that we love staying home goes right along with our idea of living a simple life.  But I make that choice now, based on my life and all the traveling I have done.  I remember worrying about the children in my classroom who never got out of the neighborhood.  In fact, one of the volunteer tutors took a young student from my class out to one of the Berkeley parks, and she was terrified of the trees and the space, feeling like lions would be after her, that she was in the jungle.  The tutor and I were both shocked at how she had managed to live such an insulated life,  but in fact, even in Berkeley, there are a fair number of kids who never get the chance to travel or visit places that are different.  I do believe that’s important for everyone, to see how other people live, to see different priorities in different parts of the world, to experience different climates and environments.  Then a person has a choice, a chance to find the place that matches their soul, the opportunity to make life changing decisions about how and where to live.

When my oldest daughter was very young, we travelled a lot, all over the country, including Hawaii. Unfortunately, she doesn’t remember these travels, but I’m convinced they were important for her on a subconscious level.  She definitely loves staying home, but she also travelled across the country by herself on the train with her son, when he was only a few months old.  When my youngest came along, it was more complicated to travel, so we didn’t.  She was a very lively kid, not as willing to sit in a car seat, the relationship wasn’t very good between her other mom and me, the money situation was tighter.  I always felt bad about that, but there wasn’t much choice.  Lucky for her, she has a husband who is now driving her across the country to various vacation spots, and I wouldn’t be surprised if someday they travel the world together.

As for me, I will give my input to both the girls based on where I have been, and then I will live somewhat vicariously through their adventures.  We will be driving to Michigan this summer to see my folks, and that will be enough travel to last me for a while.  Luckily, Sarita likes to drive, my car seat can be cushioned and leaned back into a comfortable position, and the dogs are happy as long as they’re with us.  After that we will end up at Trail’s End, with a good long time to be sedentary and happily into our projects, enjoying the wonderful high desert. There we seem to be in a community that is similar to us — people who travel once in a while, but love being home doing their own “thing”, and do not usually go out in the evenings or even on the weekends, except now and then to connect with good friends.  Very peaceful, very lovely. I just love staying home.

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