Why is it that we are so much happier on vacation when nothing is really different? In my case, I still have kids and I still have work. Maybe it’s because I’m not home. There’s a lot less housework to do. Less of a sense of obligation. Maybe it’s just that it’s a different place. I don’t know what it is, I just know that I feel like a completely new woman and I want to figure out the exact formula so I can reproduce it.

I think it’s mostly because the beach makes everything better. I forget how much I love the beach. (I know, who doesn’t?) Right now, back home, it’s probably 75• and sunny, and even though it’s the same here at the beach, it’s so much better. The air is different and the light is different. Right? It’s not warmer as much as softer, like silk. And the sunlight is a softer, too. A unique mixture of colors that bathes everything in happiness. So pretty and dreamlike. It transforms my brain somehow — does something to my whole outlook.

Not working makes things better, too. Not that I’m ever completely not working because I’m self employed. I check email and do any work that comes in. Laptops and Wifi make it so easy to work anywhere. Good and bad. But it was a quiet week for design work. What makes it a vacation is that my husband, also a self employed designer, took off. Translation: 2-4 hours of work a day versus 12-14. And that means he’s helping much more with the kids. And, this particular beach trip included in-laws, who make wonderful babysitters. And all of that combined means I sat on the beach and read a book! It was the most relaxing thing I’ve done in a long time.

I forgot how much I love the smell of the ocean, jumping in the waves, being all salty and sandy then taking a shower in an outdoor shower. I love not driving for days and days, just walking or riding a beach cruiser for transportation. I love having no schedule and no diet — eating mostly pizza, french fries, ice cream and Oreos. And it’s twice as fun when you get to see your kids do it all for the first time.

So, I’ve decided that I need to move to the beach. I’ve started house shopping. I will need to win the lottery of course, because houses around here generally go for a couple million. I suppose you might find a complete fixer-upper for half a mil. Then I start thinking, is that crazy? Even if I could afford it, do I really need a beach house? When so many people are out of work and can barely make their mortgage or rent. And couldn’t I be content to just rent one? And besides, you move to the beach it’s not really magical anymore. It’s home then. And all that comes with that. I don’t need to move my life to the beach, I need to move the “beach” to my life.