There are many reasons for taking a summer vacation – to relax, to enjoy a new environment, to take a break from the routine, to have fun, to spend time with loved ones.
For the first time in years our family drove only an hour-and-a-half from the San Francisco Bay Area to the small town of Guerneville and rented a gorgeous house on the Russian River. We were able to get away from home, relax, and have fun. And, it was a break from our routine.
But inherent in “taking a vacation” is that the place should be somewhere you “leave the stress behind”. Well, sometimes that’s not how it is. But you knew that was coming, right? I wasn’t going to regale you with what we did and post pictures of the house and my kids in swim suits.
Our 17-year-old son spent a majority of the time in his room upstairs (the media room), watching the sports channel. When his friends arrived, they ensconced themselves in the “media room” and watched movies like “Teeth” (which I found out later when I looked through the DVR), stayed up very late, ate most of the food we’d spent a gazillion dollars on, and generally didn’t have much to do with the “rest of us”.
We soon realized that our two chocolate labs could walk along the edge of the river to the neighbors’ houses, climb through their yards, and exit into the street. Luckily they aren’t as adventurous as the three animals in “Homeward Bound”!
I usually ride my bike every day, so I thought it would be a great place to cruise around. I peddled five houses to the right and reached the end of the cul de sac. If I went to the left, I hit a very nice mobile home park with a “Keep Out” sign nailed prominently at the entrance. I tried going down the next street which allowed me to ride a couple of blocks until the road ended in a jumble of trees and bushes with a tiny path that also told me to “Keep Out, Private Property”. Backtracking, I took the only remaining alternative – a road that led up to the highway. Cars were zipping by at freeway speeds and I quickly knew that wasn’t the “peaceful” way to go.
I returned to the huge back deck of our rental home to “ohm” my way to de-stressification, only to be asked if I’d like to dye my daughter’s hair black which was best done on the deck so as not to get any of the color on the bathroom floor. After that she asked me to take her and her girlfriend to town to walk through the shops.
I’ve always thought of vacation time as a huge deterrent to doing what you “usually do” when at home. When I looked around and saw all of us sitting in the comfortable front room with our laptops laying across our legs, iPods in hand while texting, I knew something was awry.
The next vacation we take is going to be different. We’re driving six hours from home, renting a house on the beach, I’m leaving my MacBook in the bedroom to check once a day, and my iPhone will be stuck in my purse for emergencies. I’m going to take long walks on the beach with my dogs, hoping they remember how to swim and don’t drown in the surf. Rincon Point IS a world famous surfer hangout. Hmmm…
About the Author:
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, I attended St. Mary’s College, studied my junior year at the University of Madrid, received my B.A. in Spanish at UC Santa Barbara then went on to get a Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University. I live with my husband and two teenage children in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with our two very large chocolate labs, Annabella and her son Jack. My Friesian horse Maximus lives in the Oakland hills in a stall with a million dollar view.
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Twitter: @Patti Yager