It is 8am and I am sitting in a sidewalk cafe in Venice, drinking a cappuccino. Nearby, the dark waters of the Grand Canal flow sluggishly along. Occasionally a boat goes by. The sky is blue, the buildings sparkling. A gentle breeze ruffles my hair, carrying with it the musky smell of Venice summer. Somewhere close a brother and sister are giggling and conversing in rapid Italian. Even here, in the land of wine and late afternoon napping, the children are up early. As I write my blog, I am daydreaming about a romantic gondola ride, about a long walk that eventually gets me lost in the labyrinth of Venice streets and bridges, about wine that flows like water.
Ok, I lie. I am not in Venice, Italy. I am in a coffee shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, enjoying my Tuesday bagel. There is no canal nearby, although there are a few tourists in here (in hipster Williamsburg only tourists and moms are up this early), they do have kids, and they are speaking Italian.
It is vacation season. Everyone is planning when and where they will be going away for the summer. For years I attempted to conform. I would daydream about spontaneous trips to the airport where I would jump on the first plane bound for an island. I would imagine waking up in a hotel bed in some country where no one speaks English. I would talk about where we would go if we had more money. I would nod in understanding when my friends moaned about how they could not wait to "get away".
Last month, on our trip to Rochester, I finally came to terms with what I have known all along. I don't actually like to travel, I just feel like I am supposed to. I am supposed to want to see ancient ruins, to climb exotic mountains, to rent a mobile home and drive to California. (Actually this one I do kind of want to do) Doesn't everyone? Isn't this what is supposed to be on my bucket list, to see Japan before I die?
I like being home. I like my own bed, and my own bathroom. I like my daily routines of Maya and dojo and the playground. We have plenty of outdoor cafes here. And sure it is no Aruba, but I kind of like our dirty Brooklyn beaches too. Also, I hate flying. Really really hate it. I like hotel bars and indoor pools but I never sleep well in hotel beds. I hate the disorienting feeling of waking up in a strange place. I miss my 24 hour bodega. I miss my dog. We were without Maya in Rochester. I missed her.
In truth, I hate almost everything about travel.
There, I said it.
There is one exception. Every summer we spend a week on Long Beach Island with Matthew's family. I don't hate this trip. There is a lot of family sitting around talking to each other which gets tiresome by the end, but for the most part it is wonderful. Why? We have come to LBI for years. We stay in the same house. It is a block from the beach. Maya has a cousin whom she plays with. The food is always good, because someone in the house makes it. Matthew's family is fun to be around. I know where all the stores are. In other words, it is like home, only near the ocean.
I know I am supposed to want adventure and excitement, but really I just want to put Maya to bed and watch America's Next Top Model on my couch, with a glass of wine. No I am not that old, but I am a creature of habit. I like my comfort zone. I already spend afternoons with people trying to choke me with my gi. Rather than force myself to go on exotic vacations just because everyone else does, I am going to just accept the truth. I am not staying home because we can't afford it or because we are too busy. I am staying home because I LIKE IT HERE!
Thankfully, Matthew is the same. When Maya is older we will travel for her. We will take her to Disney World. We will sit on a few beaches that do not have the Coney Island projects behind them. Perhaps we will even (gasp!) take her camping. But until then I am going to enjoy my Brooklyn coffee, go to drills class and take Maya to the pool. It may be boring and predictable, but it's me.