another family invited us to join them on their family's annual camping tradition, now fifteen years strong. while one of their kids was giving me a paddleboard tour up the coastline (me sitting in the front and her kneeling in back paddling) i asked what she thought of the place. she said she wasn't sure how to answer that--it was like a second home--she had been coming to this campsite and beach for as long as she can remember, meaning that for her there was never a time she could think of where her family didn't come here.
for me i've always liked seeing people in their most comfortable element. one of my favorites is visiting with people who have lived in the same home for thirty plus years (visiting them in that home of course). there is an ultra-comfort and ease and grace about watching someone exist in a space they know so well as well as the things they've learned about living in that space (where do you store the vacuum, where does company stay, how often do you have to trim the hedges to keep them looking kept, or even where does one get the best kid-jumping-in-the-air-with-a-water-backdrop photo).
i've learned the same is true for folks who vacation in the same place every year. this was a special trip because we got let in to the agenda-free (evil agenda at least) insights of more than a decade of learning and experience, truly something that can't be reliably found. although, my good pal bookguy recently shared that bike stores are a good source for discovering where the fun things to do in an area were. granted, he also made a curious observation about how his family has explored the interesting corners of several parts of the world, like from new zealand to nova scotia, but has next to no knowledge of the interesting things to do within a hundred miles of his own home.
for numerous reasons i can't reliably list, my family has been blessed with many memorable experiences around this country. and aside from the great generosity of folks, this ability to travel from coast to coast via major or barely maintained routes with as much or as little interaction with folks that you would like, in wondrous and wondrously comfortable vehicles is something the people of our time don't appreciate nearly as much as they, in my estimation, should appreciate. there is a lifetime of permission-free adventure on the other side of your door for little more than some gas money and ice for the cooler. imagine what people who made that trip west in a covered wagon a few hundred years ago would have given for a honda oddysey and yelp-enabled smartphone. just imagine.
(photo by miss jona)