Here & there: Spring break bust?

Santa Barbara, California, the Dayton family's spring break destination | Stock image, St. George News

FEATURE — I meant to take my kids somewhere new for spring break. Somewhere amazing. Somewhere iconic. Someplace they’d really learn about American history or commune with nature in some important way. Some grand adventure they’d remember for the rest of their lives. Some salient moment.

I considered taking them to Oregon to visit that beach from “The Goonies” because I’ve heard it’s magical and, hello, it’s The Goonies, but then I realized how far I’d have to drive solo with three boys and how little time we’d actually get at the beach.

Then, I thought about taking them to the Grand Canyon – or Horseshoe Bend at least – because it’s so close and we’ve never been and it’s the Grand freaking Canyon, but I forgot to book accommodations and it didn’t seem like the right time to wing it.

I almost took them to Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, which I had never heard of until I got a promotional email and got tempted by the claim that it’s uncrowded and by the added promises that it is a) dog friendly and b) in close proximity to an official UFO Watchtower.

I mean aliens would be memorable, no? But then again, our dog gets car sick.

Instead, all I did was take my kids to my childhood home – California.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Santa Barbara. And my hometown is nothing short of idyllic.

What else could a cozy little Spanish-style hamlet nestled between the mountains of the Los Padres National Forrest and the beach be?

Plus, we know just where to get all of our favorite things, including the best ice cream (McConnell’s) and the best Mexican food (Los Arroyos).

But that’s kind of the problem. I – and they – know it a little too well. It’s not some grand adventure. And it’s definitely not amazing in the sense I’d hoped.

It’s at least twelve hours in a cramped car across an uninspiring desert to arrive at a home we know almost as well as our own.

A house that looks and smells like it did last time we were here. A house that has the same duct tape covering the same rip in the linoleum under the same kitchen table. The same collection of Berenstain Bears books in the hall closet. The same set of 90s DVDs.

There are even the same wild bunnies tormenting my mother from their lair in her Acacia bushes out back. Or at least they look the same.

And my boys have yet to catch a single one, in spite of the hours of planning and building elaborate homemade traps laced with carrots and rocks over the years.

My siblings and I never even tried. Maybe that’s the difference between visiting a place and living there. But that may be the only one.

In his 1940s novel, “You Can’t Go Home Again,” Thomas Wolfe famously wrote about the notion that if you try to return to a place you remember from the past, it won’t be the same as you remember it.

Everything in my experience tells me this isn’t exactly true. And it’s why going home sometimes doesn’t have the same appeal as adventuring in other places.

But maybe that’s exactly why it’s good for you.

Health and wellness guru Dr. Deepak Chopkra recently told my husband and an auditorium full of people that grounding is one of the five essential things a person must do to stay well for life.

Chopkra talked about grounding in terms of literally taking off your shoes off and walking in the grass or holding on to a tree as a way to release the bad energy you absorb through life back to a place that can handle it: the earth.

And suddenly it occurs to me: a trip home is another way to ground. Like the earth, it is familiar and strong. For me. And for my children.

So while we didn’t have a new, grand adventure this spring break as I’d hoped, we might just be coming back healthier and more grounded after a week doing all the same old things I did in my youth.

We may also come back with a slightly better appreciation for Mexican food (if that’s possible)– and for the 90s movie “Hitch.”

Email: katdayton@gmail.com | news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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