Jack Finney's short story "Of Missing Persons" describes the experience of a man named Charley who attempts to move to another planet called Verna with the help of a travel agency. When Charley sees pictures of the cabins in the Verna brochure, he knows that they're really home in a meaningful way to the people who live there.
Verna is another planet, where beings similar to humans live in peace. The planet is covered with forests and natural resources. Charley is given a brochure displaying the wonders of the planet by the proprietor of Acme Travel Agency; Charley had expressed a desire to leave the world behind and find a new place to settle permanently. When the man hands him the brochure, he says that it was printed as a joke—and for the occasional visitor like Charley.
Looking through the images, Charley notices how vibrant and beautiful they are. The air looks fresh, the water looks clean, and the people look happy.
He notices a settlement. Finney writes, "In clearings beside the stream there were shake-roofed cabins, some of logs, some of brick or adobe. The caption under the picture simply said, 'The Colony.' " The homes are simple and neat and perfectly fit into the utopian society that the brochure seems to show.
As he looks at the images, Charley feels that he knows things. He knows that a group of people there are friends and happily gather together every day. He knows they love their jobs. He knows the air is clean. He knows that it's a place he wants to be.
The proprietor tells him that everyone there works a job they love and builds their own home with the help of their neighbors. Charley continues looking at the images and notes that most cabins are decorated in the early American style but that there are more modern interiors too, including one with Asian influence.
When he looks at the cabins, Charley has another flash of insight. Finney writes:
All of them had, plainly and unmistakably, one quality in common: You knew as you looked at them that these rooms were home, really home, to the people who lived in them. On the wall of one living room, over the stone fireplace, hung a hand-stitched motto: "There Is No Place Like Home," but the words didn’t seem quaint or amusing, they didn’t seem old-fashioned, resurrected or copied from a past that was gone. They seemed real; they belonged; those words were nothing more or less than a simple expression of true feeling and fact.
Charley knows that the cabins are truly home and that the people who live in the cabins experience that sense of home genuinely. This is part of what drives him to hand over his money and agree to follow the proprietor's instructions to move to Verna.
Ultimately, however, Charley is too impatient and isn't able to go to Verna. He sees only a flash of light before the others gathered to travel there are gone. He's left alone. When he returns to the travel agency, the proprietor hands him the money he paid back to him and says that he left it there by accident. Charley confides that he's tried again and again to return to Verna but hasn't ever been given a second chance.