We had a wonderful vacation to California last week… a trip that was long-overdue.
My husband, Erik, was born and raised just outside of L.A. In the ten years that we’ve been together, I had never once been to his childhood home – never saw where he spent the first 19 years of his life. Living in Oklahoma at the time, we were surrounded (even suffocated) by my childhood memories… the old house I grew up in near downtown, my high school, places I had teenage jobs, hung out, etc. I would occasionally ask him if he wanted to go back to L.A. for vacation, but he never seemed interested and we always managed to find other trips to take instead.
Last year, Erik had the opportunity (and sudden inclination) to meet up in L.A. with two of his oldest and best friends to celebrate their milestone birthday. When he first mentioned the trip to me, he was still wavering about going… a thousand excuses coming to mind. I told him to stop thinking about it and just go – he hadn’t seen these guys in 15 years and with scattered families of their own, this was a rare chance for the guys to reunite in their old hometown.
He came home from that trip with a heart full o’ California happiness… he’d forgotten how amazing the weather was, how beautiful the area was, etc, etc. I listened to him gush for weeks after that trip, in secret fear that he was going to want us to move back there. I? Have never been a fan of California (they *did* elect Arnold Schwarzenegger as their governor, folks… hello?!). But I could see how badly he wanted to share his childhood memories with me, so I buckled to his enthusiasm and we started planning our trip to California for this year.
We left last Saturday and spent a few days in L.A. which included countless hours of trying to get a decent picture of us together in front of the Hollywood sign, squinting into the endless sunshine every day, visiting area beaches, tracking down John Travolta’s handprints (oh, yes… my hunny-love, we HAVE held hands now), but most importantly… I finally saw my husband’s childhood home, his elementary school, the field where he played baseball for a single season before deciding he hated it, his middle school and high school, his bicycle route to the beach, etc, etc. Okay, call me sappy, but that walk down his memory lane made me literally giddy about my husband and his home state. I don’t always appreciate his laid-back nature or his affinity for outdoorsy stuff like camping, but seeing him in his element really made me appreciate that he came all the way from sunny Los Angeles to land-locked Oklahoma and lived there for years so that we could eventually meet and marry.
Yeah, this trip was long overdue…
After seeing the sites in and around L.A., we drove on to Santa Barbara for a few days (with a detour to the Biggest Loser Ranch near Malibu – more on that later). I have to admit, Southern California is beautiful and the weather is simply perfect… blue skies and constant sunshine, constant. We visited more beaches, ate some amazing food (remind me to tell you about the charming Italian restaurant where we had a court-side view of a fierce Bocce Ball tournament), toured some vineyards, and just basked in the lovely surroundings.
It was an ideal trip by all accounts, but what was my husband most excited about the day we flew out of Orange County? Getting home… to our home… where our memories are stored, our future awaits, and his pillows were waiting to give him a good night’s sleep.
After traveling to the other side of the country to see his childhood home, we realized that home… is where your pillows are.