Traveling in the good ol’ summertime

Published 9:00 am Thursday, June 2, 2022

What do you think of when you hear the word “summer”?

One of the first things I think of is the heat, and the humidity. The humidity in good ol’ Mississippi is rather heavy at times. After spending a summer in Canada years ago, I stepped off the plane in Jackson and immediately had difficulty breathing. That summer day was tropical and completely unexpected for my lungs that had experienced a two-month-plus “breather” in drier, cooler climes.

Some people say the weather in the western part of the continental U.S. is drier and therefore 100 degrees out there isn’t as hot as 100 degrees in the Deep South. Not true — 100 degrees is 100 degrees no matter where it is. A dry heat can cook an egg on the sidewalk just as quickly as a humid heat. But the humidity does add a taxing factor if you’re not used to it.

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I used to think of summer as a break — a break from school and a chance for family vacations. Whether it was when I was in school or as my children were growing up, vacations were reserved for the summertime. Though I know it is the preference of many, I don’t want to spend a series of hot, rainy days in an tourist-trap area with thousands of other people who are there supposedly for the purpose of relaxation and enjoyment.

There is nothing relaxing to me about trying to keep my kids in line and buy overpriced meals for them at the resort/amusement park I’ve already invested thousands in for us to stay and play. If you’re like me, by the time you get home from a “vacation” you need another one — and a real one, at that.

I won a travel coffee mug in a giveaway last year. The requirement of winners was that we take a photo of us with the mug in one of our favorite places to travel. I submitted a photo of me in my front yard, the lake in the background, flowers blooming and bees buzzing.

When I was young, I didn’t really understand my dad’s sentiments about traveling. I understood the words and what he meant, but I didn’t really “get” it. He would say something to the effect of he liked to visit places, but didn’t like to travel to get there.

When I’m in the mood, the traveling is part of the pleasure. I enjoy seeing new places.

However, the older I get, the more I can truly understand Dad’s point. If I want to visit the Grand Canyon, for instance, instead of traveling there and spending a day or two then traveling home, I’d rather just appear there, see what I want to see, and be back home in time for bed. Grand Canyon seen, trip accomplished, bed awaitin’.

But traveling can be very fun, and informative, and therapeutic. If you are traveling over the summer, be careful (of course), kind and considerate to others (both travelers and the regular residents of wherever you’re visiting), and enjoy both the trip and the destination. And remember to pause and breathe deep.

You might need that extra breath when you get back to Mississippi’s humidity.

Brett Campbell can be reached at