Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Post Vacation Blues

Have you just returned from a trip? Do you have strong feelings of nostalgia? Are you dreamy-eyed, slightly melancholic, and longing for bygone days of care-free indulgence? Although jet-lagged, does your heart race when you catch a glimpse of your tattered suitcase? Do you experience acute excitement and shortness of breath when you consider of all the faraway places you have yet to explore? Save yourself the trouble and don’t bother calling your doctor or visiting WebMD online…you’ve got a case of the Post Vacation Blues.

This chronic condition can be very serious for travel aficionados who feel at their best when on the road, exploring the unfamiliar, and is usually aggravated after one trip has ended and another has yet to begin. Don’t worry, you haven’t contracted some obscure or untreatable virus. In fact, it’s quite common and quite treatable. Weather you’ve just come back from visiting Aunt Edna in Kansas or you’ve been on a round-the-world trip for the past six months, everyone dreams of the life of adventure that the thought of past and future travel provokes.

As a long-time sufferer of Post Vacation Blues I can tell you that the only tried and true cure is to plan another trip immediately. In fact, for the best results, decide where you plan to go next on the flight home. Once home, proceed to a nearby book shop and purchase a guide book for the place you wish to visit next. A small financial investment towards another vacation, such as the guidebook, is an effective way to ward off ill effects of ‘PVB.’

Our last day in Buenos Aires, Argentina (our most recent big trip) was very short. Our flight for Atlanta departed at 8am. The skies were bright, sunny, and the early morning Saturday air lacked the gritty weekday smog. Though a glorious day, I couldn’t help but feel gloomy. I was leaving this fascinating and unfamiliar place and wasn’t sure if or when I would ever return.

I slumped aboard the Boeing 777 plane and stowed my belongings in the overhead compartment. I sat in my seat and pulled out a copy of SkyMall, the in-flight shopping catalogue that graces the grimy seat pockets of nineteen airlines. I began flipping through the glossy pages of merchandise I never imagined I needed but then thought I couldn’t live without. I flipped past the World’s Largest Write-On Map, and quickly went back. This 9’x13’ home map mural reminded me about the vast world we live in and all the places I have yet to explore. The world is big, a lot bigger that 9’x13’, and I cheered up because I knew that although my current trip was concluding, my travels are life-long.

I turned to my husband and we promptly made a list of some of the places we’d like to visit. We pondered our next trip for the duration of the 11 hour flight and finally decided on Cape Town, South Africa. By considering the question of ‘Where Next?’ we were able to mitigate the gloom brought on by the end of a glorious vacation and the inevitable effects of ‘PVB’. ‘When one door closes, another door opens.’ In our case, when one plane lands, another plane takes off.

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