So, I don't really have any big story this week. I'm feeling a bit dreary, I'm afraid.
Which is ridiculous because I’ve just returned from a memorable vacation to Costa Rica! I had the honor and privilege of serving as bridesmaid in the wedding of dear friends. My second born daughter, Amelia, was my travel companion, which made it extra special as she is in her first year at college... far enough from home that we don't get to see her very often. I tend to hold on to these prolonged visits as a toddler would hold on to the ankles of their mother while pitching a fit. Don't go!!
Side bar: For those of you who’ve sent your child off to college for the first time, you must know the heartache of not only missing them, but of all the life they take with them. The friends, the hoopla, the slamming doors, the demands, the animated stories, the laughter, the gossip, the overall energy they bring into the world. It all leaves the house and goes with them...to school. To their new community. It’s something to get used to, that’s for sure.
But this trip. It was unforgettable, really. Not only this special time with my daughter but also spending time with friends, old and new. Lisa, the bride, not only is a wonderful friend to me, but she has brought really special people into my life. Great friends I now travel and meet up with regularly. Time spent with them is full of fun and laughter, sometimes tears. In Costa Rica I was able to meet other friends of the wedding couple. Husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, mothers and sons, brothers and sisters, friends from high school, in-laws and outlaws... It was just a wonderful mix of people and I got to sit back and soak up the love among us all.
The Monkey Bar, photo credit Lisa Kronander (the bride!)
Then there was the food. I had been asked a few of times how I planned to stay plant-based on this trip. It was so easy! Seasonal and locally grown tropical fruits: watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, papaya, pineapple and bananas. They served a number of themed entrées, but I stuck to a daily variety of beans and rice dishes along with many selections of greens and vegetables from a gorgeous, fresh salad bar with all the toppings you could imagine.
Plus there was fresh guacamole- the biggest bowl you've ever seen. I knew it was freshly made because they'd left all the stones mixed in...a fun little trick for keeping it green through the course of the meal. I was in Heaven.
But see...Nothing starts to spoil a good vacation like, what my friend Chrissy likes to call, "Re-entry".
Re-entry is the time of transition that begins toward the end of your trip and can last up to a week after your return, minimum.
Re-entry, for me, usually begins 1-2 days before my return trip home. I start to think about re-packing, doing up the laundry so I have less to do when I get home, eating up the food, if that’s the case, checking my flight or gassing up the car, re-organizing my things in an effort to make packing easier on the last day, glancing at my calendar to see what my obligations are after I return home. Plus, I start to consider facing the fear of my imminent death by plane or car crash.
All of this starts to rob me of the last couple days of what is still considered my vacation.
And then I start to get sort of whiney, my alter ego surfaces, Debbie Downer, and I begin to have an overall sense of the blues.
I’ve been looking forward to this trip for so long. And now it’s here and now it’s gone. It’s over. And traveling back home doesn’t feel nearly as thrilling as it felt traveling TO my destination. Ever notice that? When I’m leaving for vacation I’d gladly get up at 2 am, take planes, trains and automobiles, gaily jumping through all the hoops, to get to where I’m going. But the trip home is so lackluster...I always feel as though I’m heading in the wrong direction. Like I'm going the wrong way. I have a very low tolerance for traffic, tight connections and people in general. Plus I'm usually out of money. Probably because I was so free with it in the beginning, during the honeymoon phase of my holiday.
I arrive home exhausted and annoyed that I have obligations the next day. That I didn’t allow myself some time to recuperate and rest. And frankly, this exhaustion is often tremendous. I’m not sure why...I was just on vacation! Shouldn’t I be refreshed and renewed with a new spring in my step?
Actually, I am remembering vacations when I did feel renewed and ready to come home. Times where I’ve been able to be away from home for 10 days or longer. As stay-at-home moms, my friend Wendy and I used to do this in the summer with our girls...a week or so at my house in PA and a week or so at her house in South Carolina. And there were summers when my in-laws would allow us extended stays at their condo on the beach, staying 2 weeks when we could and once we stayed THREE WEEKS! They were good to us.
Only after being away from home for 10 days or longer was I really able to feel like it had been a vacation. So maybe that’s it. Maybe our vacations just are not as long as they should be. We often short change ourselves in this country for what is a socially acceptable break from work and everyday life...7 days? But we have to remember to subtract for re-entry and subtract at least another day for travel on the front end...we are really only enjoying 3-4 days out of 7. I feel cheated.
I'm just saying.
So if it's impossible to take an extended vacation, what is the cure for suffering the effects of re-entry?
I have no idea.
The only thing I can think of that brings any relief at all is to start planning my next vacation.
Jeanmare and Cristy are creators and contributors of the Living Simply Nourished Blog. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee!), find a cozy spot, scroll around, read some stories, find some inspiration, and enjoy!
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