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Reality After an Epic Vacation: How to Cope

cope culture experience grateful home learn little things memories reality Travel travel lovers trip withdrawal wonderful trip withdrawal work WTW


Two words: No idea. After countless vacations I have developed neither the talent nor technique to quickly recuperate from “wonderful trip withdrawal” or “WTW”. Instead of getting homesick while away I seem to have the  acute feeling of homesickness for where I’ve just been when I return. I become pouty. The day to day becomes a total drag. I long for the newness and sense of discovery that filled each minute of the recent adventure. And that’s not to say that I’m not 100% grateful and content in my existence, I have simply become an “experience junky”.  My drug is travel and I’m hopelessly hooked. I am certain many travel lovers know exactly what I’m talking about.

After returning from 2 1/2 weeks of vacation in Africa on August 17 my husband and I headed just 48 hours later to Muskoka, Canada for a wedding. It was quite the family affair so we  had the luxury of being distracted just a little longer and could repress the thoughts of the work and responsibilities that awaited us at home. Now that we’re back in the thick of it, we’ve been noticeably more irritated by things that surely shouldn’t matter. Enter the absolute necessity for a reality check.

Reality Check #1: Be grateful. Not only am I beyond grateful that I had the opportunity to experience safari in Botswana and exploring South Africa with my husband, I am also grateful that I have the option to be complaining about how busy and hectic we are with work. Busy is good. It might be a bit maddening at times but more work means more money which certainly means more travel.

Reality Check #2: Learn. Perhaps I’ll learn to better cope with “WTW” this time around, perhaps not. What I have succeeded in doing is to keep in perspective the new things, even small things, that I discovered about myself and about the places we visited on this most recent trip. It is easy to forget once we get back to the day to day, but stop and remember the little things that relaxed you when you were away and give yourself a moment to reflect which will encourage additional relaxation.

Reality Check #3: Know there will be another trip. As soon as we got to the airport for our return flight we were already devising when we could return to Africa, where we should go, what we should do. We’re aiming at a Christmas or New Years trip (somewhere) so now the planning begins and that keeps everything, and everyone, positive. We might not get back to Africa as soon as we hope to but at least we know we’ll get there one day and possibly our next trip will be our best one yet, just as this one now stands.

Reality Check #4: Don’t be a brat. Nobody likes a brat. When sulking because you wish you were still on vacation (or because you wished you lived on one of the extravagant South African wine estates just an hour from the ocean) check yourself. This all goes back to #1, be grateful. You’ve created some amazing memories, perhaps figured out a new place to take aim at living in, got to experience a new culture, taste new foods, make new friends. Don’t complain, don’t be a brat, just be thankful.

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