Friday, August 26, 2011

Most people go home for vacation. A look at why Obama travels instead.

Most military personnel, college students, politicians, traveling salesmen, and people who work away, go back home on their leaves, recesses, and scheduled time off because:

home is where the heart is.
Oh, my home sweet home.

Even Harry Reid, who we like to criticize, lamented on August 1 about his upcoming recess:

“I have a home in Nevada that I haven’t seen in months, ..... My pomegranate trees are, I’m told, blossoming and have some pomegranates on them. I have some fig trees and roses and things that I just haven’t seen.”
“It’s been a pretty hard work period we’ve had, the last two weekends and working late, and I think the Senate deserves to be able to go home as soon as we can,” said Reid, ...
Source: Reid laments pomegranates, figs blooming without him

So why does the President and Mrs. Obama use these opportunities to travel to lavish locations and vacation in exotic environments instead of going back home?

My theory is that they have no home to go to. His parents divorced when he was very young and his father went back to Kenya. His mother remarried and the family moved to Indonesia. Later, Barak was sent to stay with his maternal grandparents in Hawaii. His mother died in 1995 and his biological father died in 1982. He has a half sister but not much is written about her (see Parents Of Barack Obama). Both of his grandparents have also passed away. Thus, he has no real roots or place to call home.

On Michelle's side, the family grew up in Chicago. Her father died in 1991 and her mother lives with the Obama's in the White House. Her brother is a basketball coach in Oregon, and the Obama's remain close to him and his family.

Together, Barak and Michelle purchased a Chicago house in 2005 when he was a senator. One would normally consider this to be called home, but the First Family rarely returns to their residence. Apparently, they do not feel a family connection to this location either since none of her immediate family lives in the Chicago area.

So because of their lack of geographic roots, the Obama's have nowhere else to go when they are on recess. The President feels a connection with Hawaii, and therefore they return there every year around Christmas. Like Bill Clinton, they have discovered Martha's Vineyard which they have also visited twice.

However, the image of Harry Potter having to remain at Hogwarts during Christmas break is rather sad. Everyone else was going home for the holiday. But, Harry had no real home to return to.

And, like Harry, President Obama has no real home either. Either he stays at the White House, or he gets away to a wonderful resort. At least when everyone else returns to Washington, the President can say he enjoyed the break as well.

It's sad when
You can't go home again.

For comparison purposes, the following summarizes where other Presidents went when they were on break:
  • Eisenhower: golfing in Georgia and Colorado
  • Kennedy: the family's Hyannis Port waterfront property on Cape Cod MA
  • Johnson: LBJ ranch in Texas
  • Nixon: homes in Key Biscayne FL and San Clemente CA
  • Ford: skiing in Colorado and relaxing in Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • Carter: his home in Georgia
  • Reagan: his Santa Barbara, California ranch
  • G. H. W. Bush: Kennebunkport, Maine
  • Clinton: Martha's Vineyard, MA
  • G. W. Bush: Crawford TX ranch.


Reporter's notebook: When presidents go on "vacation," controversy follows
What President Took the Longest Vacation? (And Other Fun Facts)
President’s Vacation: Not Much of a Secret
Richard Nixon's High-Class Hideaways
Top 10 presidential getaways
Drudge, NY Post report Obamas' NYC trip cost, ignore Bush's Crawford vacations


  1. It's great how you compared Obama and Harry - the analogy's quite impressive!

  2. Lianne, Thank you for reading my post and for taking the time to comment. I sincerely appreciate it! JL......

  3. Very interesting view. I've never gone home for vacation, and I don't think I personally know any people that do.

  4. Hi Aldon,

    That's why I prefaced the discussion with:

    Most military personnel, college students, politicians, traveling salesmen, and people who work away, go back home on their leaves, recesses, and scheduled time off because:

    I believe that those who live at home and work or go to school within commuting distance do travel somewhere else on vacation.

    But, having been in the Army and going away to college, my fellow colleagues couldn't wait to get back home to see their families during leaves and breaks.

    If you never lived away from home for various reasons, then you may not appreciate the desire to go back home again.

    Thanks for your comment! JL.........


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