Tuesday, July 31, 2018

My Favorite Vacations

Summer time is vacation time. In rough chronological order, here are the memorable vacations from my life.

Philippines - When I was 10 my family and I spent a month in the Philippines. My father's family is from Bulacan (near Manila), and my mother's family is from Maasin (in Southern Leyte). I mostly remember cultural overload. I embraced reading Filipino comics, but I also remember thinking "where's the air conditioning around here?" I embraced riding bicycles and swimming nearly every day, but I also missed cheeseburgers. This trip brought me face to face with my roots and it was eye-opening.

Cross-Country USA - One summer my family embarked on an epic multi-week trip across the United States. We spent many nights "camping" in a Kampgrounds of America (KOA). We crossed many states of course. Most impressive to me: a boat tour of Lake Tahoe, driving across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, seeing herds and herds of cattle in Texas, and being mesmerized by the cornfields of Iowa.

Key West - In the winter of my senior year of college, me and two of my Jersey City friends visited Miami and drove to Key West. We spent our days eating cheaply, hanging on the beaches, driving in a rental car and wearing out Combat Rock (the 1982 album by The Clash). We stayed at youth hostels, and pretended we knew what we were doing. The feeling of independence coupled with youth makes it a very fond vacation memory.

Paris - My wife and I went to Paris, France for our fifth anniversary. I was in awe of this beautiful and romantic city. My high school French grew passable with each day but it still lead to the usual hilarity of missed translations. We ate incredibly well, and soaked in its culture as best as we could. We went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and visited The Louvre. The city easily blended charm, sophistication, history and modernity. A truly great city and a truly great vacation.

York Beach, Maine - This is a bustling little beach town less than two hours from Boston, and it is a regular family vacation for us. My favorite part is jumping into the ocean for a few minutes, and swimming out as far as I can go. Our days are utterly slow, focused on eating, sitting by the pool or on the beach, and reading. We laugh and love one another even more when we visit this happy place.