Vacations are great. You have an unbridled excuse to drink all day, you return with weird sandal-tans, you come home with stories that make you do that annoying-scoff-laugh when you tell people about your encounters with iguanas by the pool saying, “You just had to be there.” They’re kind of the best part about PTO and obviously the only reason you slave at the gym for months prior.
But there are things about vacations that aren’t so great. Often you’re surrounded by the same five people for eight days and you start to rub each other the wrong way. You go from joking about your weird food allergies over bourbon and coffee to just wanting to yell about your lactose sensitivity for the 64th time. Sometimes you get outvoted about activities and instead of lounging at the country club, you end up sweating and hiking. Vacations aren’t all sunshine and rainbows (your continuous buzz aside, of course).
But the most, terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad thing about vacations is coming home after them. You’re on a different time zone, you have tons of vacay laundry just chilling in your suitcase, and dammit your sandal-sunburn is fucking itchy which means finding acceptable shoes for work is impossible. You know, deep down, that you couldn’t stand even one more day in Costa Rica with Aunt Sara asking why you’re still single. But still, it’s hard to go home.
Much like grieving, there are five stages to going home after a vacation. If you need me, I’m currently in Stage Two and yes, I definitely could use a moping buddy to listen to the River Runs Through It soundtrack while eating Ritz crackers and huckleberry jam with me.
(Yeah, I just got back from Montana. What of it? Leave me alone.)
1. Pure Exhaustion
You get off the plane, drop off your rental, maybe even just park your own car in your own driveway… and it hits you. You need a weekend of sleep to recover from your weekend of relaxing. You barely make it inside your home, push your luggage to the corner it will inevitably remain in for the next two weeks, and collapse on the couch with a grunt and a little bit of regret for being too stingy to leave your AC on while you were gone. You luckily remembered to set your alarms prior to leaving the day before, but when that Sencha tone blares at 7:32 (And :44, and again at :51) you feel like you got run over by a truck and have not slept in three days. Doesn’t matter that all you did for the aforementioned 72 hours was drink sugary cocktails and not workout, you need to go to bed at 8 p.m. for the next few days to get yourself back on track.
2. Thinking You Could Move To Where You Were
This is the moment when you forget that you can’t simply jump over to Copenhagen and become a travel guide for The Little Mermaid statue. Miles be damned! You can do this. You can move; it’s not a big deal. U-Haul will ship stuff overseas for just a little more than $19.99 per day, right? You maybe didn’t even really like Portland because all of the parks are concrete and VooDoo isn’t that great — anywhere is better than where you currently are. Grass is always greener (and now legal in Oregon.) BOOM.
3. Humble Bragging
Your #tbt ‘grams for the next three weeks are going to be magical. You have sunsets, elaborate brunches, and hot-dog-leg shots galore ready to don out with a “Missing this” caption anytime you’ve been hitting below your likes quota. You purposely wear the whimsical earrings you got from a street artist or overly lotion your now-tanned biceps up just praying that someone asks, “Where’d you just get back from?” so you can go on and on about how amazing it all was. You sigh at restaurants because they clearly do not have the freshest avocados like the cantina you went to in SoCal, or the same sort of vino selection for sampling like where you just spent four tipsy filled days in Sonoma. It just isn’t the same! You had to be there.
4. Accepting You’ll Never Leave Home Again
Yeeeeaaahhh. You just looked at your bank account and saw how it dropped from a cool four figures to $61 and some change. You think there might be a couple of tens shoved in your pants that are balled on up your luggage that still isn’t unpacked. You’ve used almost all of your miles on the last flight, and you are not desperate enough to consider the Greyhound. It’s a sure thing: all vacations for the next two years will be reserved to driving for two days on nothing but RedBull and Sour Patch Kids to get home for Christmas, or drinking PBR alone on your rooftop deck. This sucks.
5. Planning Your Next Vacation
You overreacted. Sure, you spent a little bit more than you intended on stocking the guest house with groceries and picking up entire tabs for you and your buddies at the local watering holes. But this is what adulthood is about! When you were a kid it was all about spending time with family and going where your parents wanted to go. But now you have your own frequent flyer card, your own neck pillow, a greater understanding for Yelping restaurants prior to your arrival, and your own prescription for a sleep aid in case of red eyes. And you aren’t thinking about just getting completely wrecked and seeing if you get kicked out Disneyland in an afternoon. This next one will be BIG. You’ve heard Japan is cool, and maybe you won’t be the shortest one there… time to dump all of your clothes onto the floor just in case you need your suitcase! .
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