Coming Home from your Vacation
We have “officially” finished the 15 or was it 16 part series on Making Travel Easy and Fun and we hope you have found some tidbits to make the nuts and bolts of travel planning…well…..easy and fun. But this series never really ends and I realized that while travel attitude was a great way to end the series, I had not spoken to the “coming home” part of travel. This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.
So as we returned home on Tuesday night after a 31 day trip (see Wednesday’s blog post) and as we sat in front of the fireplace and the snow was quietly falling outside I reflected on the trip and formulated this blog post as I sipped my wine ( a new one from Portugal).
By the last days of a vacation, many people are already calculating the logistics of coming home. When I am wearing my tour director hat and leading groups around the world, a couple of days before the end of the trip I explain my end of trip rule. It is forbidden, verboten, prohibido, to ask me ANY questions about return flights, packing or homeward details, until I deem it’s time. I’m not being mean, I’m trying to savor the end of your vacation. It can ruin the last couple of days of a trip and turn a nine day holiday into seven days of fun and two days of worry. What I DO like to talk about is “where is your next trip?” It is essential that you have your next trip planned so that the end of the current trip doesn’t become an “end” it’s merely the next stop on the journey of world travel. So if your mind is straying towards home, push the thoughts out of your mind and allow yourself the time to brainstorm on what’s next.
One way to avoid the anxiety of “what happened while I was gone” is to check in when possible. I don’t mean to spend half your vacation on email but a quick check every few days to put your mind at ease is VERY helpful. When I was young I had this weird fear that something bad was going to happen at home when I was gone even for the day. (perhaps this is why I didn’t buy my first house until I was forty years old) I was fearful that when my dad rounded the last corner to our house, I would see that it had burned to the ground or been burglarized. So now, my neighbors check in on my house, or stay there while I’m gone and I alleviate that childhood fear.
But, inevitably, every trip comes to an end and usually people are ready to get home, get organized and get on with it. By now, you’ve realized that I believe that every day of your vacation is just that, a day of your vacation, so just reverse the process of everything we’ve talked about, getting to the airport, getting through security, what to do in the airport, what to do on the plane, what to do on arrival and enjoy this day as much as the others.
Extending your Vacation
There are ways to extend your vacation and ease yourself back into your routine. If you have left your house empty while you were gone, hire someone to “prep” it for your return. They can pick up the mail, do a basic grocery shop, turn up the heat in the house, dust and make your home turn key ready for your return. They can even cook your dinner and have it waiting and chill a bottle of wine. One of my favorite coming home meals is to do an antipasto plate. I pick up or (have someone pick up on my return day) and stock, prosciutto, a baguette, cheese, melon, almonds and some hummus and a bottle of wine. I don’t have to cook, just arrange on a cutting board. It allows me to still be on vacation. I will worry about the pounds I gained tomorrow and ease back into that routine. Also, book yourself a massage the week you return, something to look forward to.
So Tuesday night, that is exactly what I did. I dumped the suitcases in the laundry room and started a load of wash, did a quick look through the mail to determine that nothing was urgent (truly there is really little that is THAT urgent) and since I had been keeping up with email and used an auto-responder so no one expected a return email, there was little to do but enjoy the last day of my trip. Ridlon built a fire, I opened the new Portuguese red wine and we spent the evening on the couch reflecting on the journey, the new experiences, the great new friends, listened to some Fijian music and talking about the next upcoming adventure. We had spent 31 days Off The Couch, now we were spending one evening on it. Tomorrow, we’ll be off and running again….
This couch is going to last a lifetime!
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