We could have gone to Paris. Or to Machu Picchu. Or even to Northern California.

But, in the end, Jessica and I decided we'd take our weeklong vacation in New Jersey.

Not that New Jersey isn't a vacation paradise or anything. It's got your boardwalks, your casinos, and your pistachio polyester shirt-and-shorts sets, as these smart ensembles are called in your better men's shops.

Still, compared with the romance of Paris or the ancient glory of Machu Picchu or the wine country of Northern California, New Jersey as a destination seems somehow - and don't ask me how - like a punch line to one of the many cruel and (mostly) untrue jokes about the state.

The question, then, is, as the Talking Heads once memorably put it, how did I get here?

Sometimes a decision to go somewhere on vacation is straightforward: It's just somewhere you have always wanted to visit. It's that simple. But more often it's more complicated than that. After all, there are a lot of places you have always wanted to visit. Why this particular one?

This, specifically, is how we ended up in Jersey:

1. We couldn't go to Paris. We intended to, but then we found that Jessica's passport had expired.
2. The weather in the Grand Tetons in early April is sketchy.
3. We didn't want to visit California without our son, Sam, and he wanted to stay home.
4. The flights to everywhere else we wanted to go were full.
5. Jersey is within driving distance of our home in Washington, D.C.
6. I used to go to Cape May every summer as a kid.
7. Jessica and I like Cape May.
8. Jessica and I love the White House. (So we probably would have gone there even if our car hadn't broken down - although its breaking down turned that probability into a definite.)

Kind of mundane, huh?