“I wish we could live here,” one of my daughters said on the way back from the beach.
The bright red on her shoulders and face proved she didn’t have the complexion to live in Savannah, Georgia, where we spent a week’s vacation.
Still, we played along, trying to help her through the logical fallacies of moving.
“Wouldn’t you miss your friends?” I asked.
She reasoned all of her friends could move with her. Problem solved.
“Wouldn’t you miss your school and your teachers?” my wife responded.
Maybe they could all come there too.
“And what about our house? Don’t you like our house?” I asked.
We’d just pack that up and take it with us too, she said. I laughed, thinking of what kind of a shack we could afford there.
It’s interesting to see life like a child. I truly enjoyed my week away from Ohio, especially after a month of rain beforehand, literally and figuratively in my work and personal lives. I needed the break as badly as I’ve needed a vacation in years.
We truly had a wonderful time in the South. Hearing my children talk about how they wanted to live there made me chuckle.
It was nearly 20 years ago I thought the same thing. The difference was I was an adult with a job offer there, so I went. And for a while, it was wonderful.
Eventually, though, there are problems, even in paradise.
I discovered I was too fair-skinned to spend all my days on the beaches of Tybee Island. I found the traffic around the city frustrated me and wore off any relaxation the ocean provided. I missed the distinct four seasons we have here, as opposed to the three I experienced in nearly two years in Georgia: OK, hot and stinking hot.
The things I enjoyed became frustrating to do. It was a pain to get to drive to the beach. It was too hot to enjoy a walk. The new exciting places became dull and ordinary. I’d never be a native Georgian, even once I co-opted the words “y’all” and “soda” and their varied uses. Eventually, work stresses are the same, wherever you are.
Whatever I did, it was never home. I found the same thing living in the Washington, D.C., area for a few years. Ditto for my time near Columbus.
Sometimes people ask me why I’ve stayed here so long, with 15 years in my latest stint in Lima. I started my journalism career off as a nomad, never staying more than three years at any of my first four jobs. Eventually, I realized none of those places were home, here in Northwest Ohio.
We wrapped up that conversation with our daughter about living in Georgia. I reminded her I once lived there, before she was born, and she’d just have to trust me. It might be fun for a while to live someplace different, but deep down inside you realize just because you enjoy visiting a place doesn’t mean it’s better than your home. Home is where you want to be.