My wife and I are thinking about the possibility of maybe going on vacation this summer (something we think about often, but rarely ever happens), which always leads to an important series of questions: Where should we go? How much can we afford to spend? What sites should we see at our chosen location?
And, for me, the biggest question of all when it comes to family vacations: Do I have to go?
I’ve never been a big fan of going on vacation, mostly because it involved leaving my house — which is hard enough for me to do as it is — but even more than that, going on vacation tends to involve leaving the friendly confines of Miami County. Saying I’m a “homebody” is kind of like saying, “The moon landing was a neat science experiment.”
I don’t like change, I truthfully don’t care for meeting new people and I certainly like being able to come back to a place where I can find everything in the exact same place I left it.
My life has been one series of me moving on only when I’ve been forced to. When I finished the sixth grade, they made me go to junior high. When I finished junior high, they made me go to high school. When I finished high school, they made me go to college.
And when I did have to move away for college — a monumental 90-minute car ride away — I spent 5,400 seconds of that car trip crying my eyes out because I didn’t want to go. While most of my classmates couldn’t get away from home fast enough, I couldn’t get back home for my first visit fast enough. I believe I made it a grand total of 13 days before my first trip back home.
Granted, after five years getting my degree, I did find a certain comfort level at Ohio State — in large part because I was lucky enough to find groups of people who were willing to extend a hand and go the extra mile to draw me out of my shell. And when my time was up in college, I knew I had but one option in life.
It was time to come home.
I left Columbus the day after I graduated and started working at the Troy Daily News within 48 hours of picking up my diploma. I moved in with my parents and would remain there for more than five years because I never found a good reason not to in that time span. Had I not gotten married, I’d probably still be living in my parents’ house (I did run that option by my wife when we were dating — let’s just say she vetoed the idea with extreme prejudice).
Did I mention I don’t much care for change?
I guess I’ve never felt the need to leave my home because most of the things I like are within a 30-minute drive. It makes me feel safe. It makes me feel secure. It makes me feel like, no matter what, things are going to be OK in the long run. I understand that means there’s a big, wide world that I’m missing out on. And I get the fact I’m probably limiting myself by not trotting around the globe (or, in my case, country, region or state), but I’m fine with that.
It’s not as though I haven’t been on vacations before. I won’t go so far as to say I’ve seen large swatches of the world, but I’ve seen enough out there to know there’s no place I’d rather be than the city of Troy, in Miami County, in the state of Ohio. I appreciate the familiarity I have here — and I brings me peace of mind and soul.
Troy to me is what Walden Pond was to Henry David Thoreau or what Key West was to Ernest Hemingway. This city is my muse. It inspires me. It motivates me. It is all I could ever want and more.
Of course, none of this is probably going to get me out of a summer vacation with the family. I’m sure when the time comes, I’ll be packing up the van and heading off to wherever it is my wife and kids decide will be the most suitable spot for a family vacation.
I will do it, naturally, because I love them more than anything. And besides, going on vacation isn’t all bad — there’s always the job of coming home to look forward to, I guess.
David Fong is an editor with the Troy Daily News. Contact him at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong