It had been two years since I smelled the saltwater, and felt the sting of sand hitting my skin as the constant coastal wind blew. Two years since a strand of my hair had been pulled from my loose ponytail and landed into the corner of my mouth, tasting like the ocean. For two long years, I had imagined this moment of return to a familiar and wild place. The location remained unchanged since I left it two years prior, but I was a completely new person walking on the sand. Each and every time I revisit this familiar paradise, as soon as I ascend the final dune, I am immediately transported to the past, and reminded of how much has changed, or stayed the same.

Ever since I was little, my family has been vacationing in the Outer Banks of NC. We have stayed in many rentals, ranging in location from the 4×4 beaches to Duck, all the way down to Rodanthe one year. I have come to learn that it is not so much the town that matters, as it is the location of the house in relation to the beach. I am an oceanfront snob. Once you have experienced the sunrise at the beach from your deck while you sip coffee and chat with the friends or family you are sharing this vacation with, you cannot possibly settle for any less.

The ideal vacation, or rather ideal permanent relocation, would include an oceanfront house with a deck high enough that I could see over the dunes to the waves crashing onto the sand. A walkway to the beach from a lower deck is a must, as well as an office that has windows facing the ocean to allow that salty breeze to flow throughout the room. The last requirement would have to be a deck on the western side of the house so that the sunset could be viewed while winding down for the evening.

Having built the perfect house, I would want to be surrounded by my family, and our pets. While kitties don’t necessarily like the beach, they would love the warm windowsills and I don’t even have to ask about our dog – a Labrador Retriever that doesn’t like the beach? Doesn’t exist!

Finally, to turn this who and where into a what, I can only ask for time. There is nothing more precious than time. Time with my family in a place that reminds us that time unforgivingly continues to pass, regardless of our wishes or desires. Time to enjoy and play. Time to reflect and forgive. Time to learn and wonder. Time to imagine what lies ahead and what will have occurred in the next two years, when I return to this place and begin this process again. Like the tide that shapes the beach, I arrive and leave again; my presence washed away almost instantly, but sure to return as a constant, never ending cycle.

Oh, the beach. My favorite place in the world. Honestly, this assignment was easy, and pure joy to write. I hope the sincerity of my love for this destination was captured, and that you are also able to sense the same things I described. To create this piece of writing, I sat down and imagined that I was writing my own monologue in a play or novel. I was setting the scene so that you, the reader, would be there with me. Then, once we are all gathered in the same imaginary space, I can share with you my dream vacation and you’ll understand it. I really enjoyed this assignment, and hope that I can realize my dream vacation soon.

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