Until I was in my mid-twenties I’d never been north of Dallas, west of San Antonio, or left the country. Before I was born my parents found the perfect vacation spot in Destin, Florida, and that became the only place we went. One of my mom’s friends once told her “You’ve got to take that child to more places than Florida.” Without missing a beat, I quipped “You have to go through three states to get there,” thus ensuring the safety of the Destin tradition for a few more years.
Growing up, each year I watched from the balcony of our condo as extended families all dressed in white took photos by the ocean. I dreamed of the day I would gather my own children and grandchildren in Destin to repeat the beach rituals of my childhood. As friends’ families seemingly seamlessly integrated new spouses and children into their family vacations, I assumed the same would happen when I eventually got married.
Then I married someone who’s not crazy about the beach.
To put into perspective just how important Destin is to me, when I told a fellow Destin lover that my then-boyfriend didn’t particularly enjoy the beach, she turned to me and said “Well, that’s just not going to work.” Keep in mind we’d already been dating for almost two years at that point.
Luckily for Zack he made the short list of things I love more than Destin, so we made the relationship work. But he still hasn’t been to Destin, and the last few times I’ve gone, I’ve tried looking at it from his future perspective. Without the years of nostalgia coloring my vision, I’m forced to admit that the overcrowded roads and aging buildings probably won’t live up to the utopia I’ve tried to convince him that Destin is.
It’s not just that he’s not crazy about the beach. His family didn’t have a traditional vacation spot every year, so he doesn’t understand the sense of connection I feel to a place that’s hundreds of miles away from my actual home. Instead, he wants to go to exciting new places every year.
He has a point. One of my dad’s biggest regrets is not taking me to Disney World as a child. I wish we’d gone to New York City when I was obsessed with it as a teenager. There’s something to be said for seeing different places and experiencing new things. It’s just hard to do when you know that there is already a place you love as much as I love Destin.
We’ve reached a tentative compromise of vacationing in Destin every other year. (I say tentative because there’s still a chance he’ll love Destin as much as I do.) On off years, the plan is to try someplace new. Hopefully our compromise will satisfy both the tradition I cherish and the variety he craves.
Has anyone else encountered a similar situation? What are your thoughts on vacationing in one place each year versus a variety of places?