I grew up in Arizona. Summers were hot, dry, and mostly miserable. Only then, I didn’t know that.
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When I think of summers growing up, I think of days of swimming with friends, running through sprinklers, and climbing trees to read. I think of splashing through my granny’s irrigated backyard and picking tangerines right off her trees and inhaling them until our tummies hurt.

The clearest memories I have from those summer days are of our vacations, which ironically, were almost always to San Diego. It’s where most of Arizona comes to get away quick, to drop almost 40 degrees and feel a breeze and the sand in your toes. My memories of vacationing here involved a car ride with lots of boys. We’d play the alphabet game and try to call out letters we saw on signs until we made it through all 26. We rarely made it through because of the many miles of brown.

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We drove a large van then, and between the front seats, my dad would place a huge red cooler filled with Fresca, Wheat Thins, and Easy Cheese. Always Easy Cheese for some reason. My mom, between some sort of needlework, would write our initials with the cheese on Wheat Thins and pass them back to be sure we all got one. My dad, in what we still call “vacation mode” would turn off the box TV that rested on the cooler next to him and he’d push a cd into the player. My brothers would groan, but I’d smile. James Taylor. Always James when we’d drive to San Diego – that, or the Beach Boys. {My dad came in only 2 vacation modes then.}

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We’d get here where our cousins live and I would be jealous of the sand in their car, the overall beachy smell of the garage and entryway. I wondered what it must be like to “live by the beach”. I was sure they must be there every day soaking up the sun and drinking Fresca and eating from a soggy box of Wheat Thins and loving the vacation that is their everyday life.

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My brother was just in town and we took our kids to the beach {because that’s what they came for, coming from Arizona and all}. My sister-in-law’s sister was here and asked,

“So, do you come to the beach every day?”

and I had to chuckle. I had just sat down in my chair after dragging a double stroller through the hot sand and helping them carry a cart full of chairs, boogie boards, and umbrellas and setting all of them up and covering my kids in sunscreen before turning them loose. I was sweating and it was 70 degrees and breezy. “No, we don’t come nearly enough.”

san diego vacation 2 (1)san diego vacation 2 I do have sand in my car; my kids will know the beach better than they know the park. They will live out their summers outdoors instead of in air-conditioned rooms {only because we don’t have air conditioning}. They both took some of their first steps on sand. They don’t mind getting dirty or wet and they make friends with the strangers they meet. For them, a vacation will be to leave this place, to discover new places, and new people, or maybe to discover this place over and over, top to bottom. The irony is that most of our “getaways” will be the opposite of my memories growing up.

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We had an entire week off between different jobs a few weeks ago and could have gone somewhere new.

We definitely needed a vacation.

But we decided to stay here, and soak in this place like everyone does and be so grateful for where we are.

We aren’t millionaires like many here are, we don’t live in a house, and we can’t afford to travel the world {yet}.

So for now, we try to find the many ways to experience this place so it always feels like a vacation, the kind that I was sure everyone lived here. The day-to-day is the same as anywhere: hot, long, full of meltdowns and tantrums, and learning, and bonding, and growing. I get down on myself, I have things to do, things I think I should do, and life happens so we forget how lucky we are to live in a time and place that we can experience so much. Some days we have dinner on the beach. Some days we have picnics, or take long walks as a family. Some days we drive, just to see what we can see…

But most days, when my head is clear enough to think it,

I try to think: “how can today be a vacation?” and then we do that.

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There’s no better vehicle to bring the family together than the Chevy Traverse. With seating for up to 81., everyone in the family can join in on the fun. A 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score for safety2. helps keep everyone safe on your journey to find new roads, no matter where, or how far, it takes you. And best-in-class maximum cargo space makes packing for family road trips, or hauling around children’s sporting equipment, a breeze. With all these great features and more, there’s no question the Chevy Traverse is the ultimate family vehicle. Learn more at http://www.chevrolet.com/traverse-mid-size-suv.html.


  1. Standard on LS and 1LT.  Available on 2LT. LTZ seats 7.
  2. Government 5-Star Safety Ratings are part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s New Car Assessment Program (www.SaferCar.gov).