Finding ease and freedom in San Diego

By Katia Hetter

Published August 29, 2019

Courtesy Joanne Dibona

I went home. Sort of. For our summer vacation, I traveled to my hometown of San Diego, California, for a week's stay.

Illustration by Stewart Scott-Curran

Thousands of people head to San Diego to enjoy its weather and attractions, but could I travel to my hometown and have a really good vacation?

Courtesy Joanne Dibona

Here are some of the questions we faced when vacationing in the place where I grew up:

Courtesy Joanne Dibona

Where do you stay?

I considered two-bedroom vacation rentals in beach communities -- and settled on Pacific Beach.

Courtesy Joanne DiBona/

Where do we want to go?

My mom and I decided we could go wherever we wanted to go.

Courtesy Charlie Manz

I decided to go to … the San Diego Zoo, the beach and any place with good Mexican food.

Ken Bohn/Courtesy San Diego Zoo

I wasn't sure about my wishes for the trip other than showing my daughter my favorite places, having time with my mother and daughter, enjoying the beach with friends and family and getting some much-needed sleep. That seemed like enough.


By the last night of our trip, I realized I had found even more joy. I had seen most of the people and places I wanted to see and was at peace with those I hadn't.

San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau/Courtesy Brett Shoaf

"I don't want to leave," my daughter whispered to me that night, fighting sleep and having to leave her San Diego cousins and new friends.

"That's the best kind of vacation," I whispered back.

Courtesy Joanne Dibona