I lazily walked through my yard this morning, surveying the overgrowth and clumpy, late-summer plants that have taken over the perimeter of my lot. I ran my hands over the knots in my hammock, sighed and plopped down. For about a half-hour, I just rocked back and forth feeling the wind rustle my sun-bleached hair, letting the sun hit my skin in the hopes I wouldn’t lose how the brown my skin had become. My chin started to quiver, I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. The tears didn’t come, but I could feel it… the high of returning home had worn off. I’d seen my mom, my brother and sister-in-law, my niece and nephews and my travel buddies from the first part of my trip. I’ve gone out to lunch, dinner, and drinks with friends I missed so much when I was away. I’ve chatted online with people I met while I was away, curious as to how they’re doing, what they’re doing. Are they still traveling? I’ve restocked my fridge, done laundry, and watered my plants. I’ve gone to the gym and I’ve even gone into work to prepare for the next school year. And as I sat there on my hammock, eyes closed, I realized I want to go back- to traveling. It’s only been 10 days.
So many travel bloggers have written about post-trip depression- about coming home and immediately wanting to be back to the thrill of being on the road. So, that’s not what I’m writing about here. You can google it and get a dozen articles. No. what I’m talking about is the let down of the travel high. No matter how thin the hostel mattress, or how long the bus rides were- it was an adventure, it was exhilirating. Being constantly surrounded by people (even when you didn’t want to) was oddly comforting. I traveled solo for the last nearly 6 weeks of my vacation. But today I never felt more alone.
Being home to reality took 10 days to hit me, and today is tough.
The whole purpose of me starting this blog was to help myself and others to find balance with their day-to-day lives. That it’s ok to love the routine and monotony as much as loving the uncertainty and unparalleled freedom that comes from traveling in a foreign country. It’s ok to have both. Yet… it’s difficult going from one extreme to another. For two months I felt free. I had zero home stress. I didn’t have to be anywhere, to do anything or answer to anyone I didn’t want to. Sure I had “survival” stress, where’s my hostel? Is this city safe? Is the person I just agreed to spend the day with safe? But that stress, to me, was tantalizing, it was freeing, it made me realized I needed to have that excitement in my day-to-day life.
Shortly after I returned home, I read something that said, “Don’t live for Fridays”. Well, damn wasn’t that just the perfect thing to read. Cause we do it. All of us. We complain about Mondays, and exclaim, “TGIF!” at the end of the week. But every day when you’re traveling is a Friday. You wake up, and you do something amazing… you can’t help it- even if it’s just walking down the street in a new city, or eating a shitty hostel breakfast with 10 strangers, it’s still an adventure, and your senses are on massive overload. The stimulation I get from traveling is like a drug. You are on sensory overload and you seek out the next best thing to top the day before…. and when I get home, that feeling just isn’t the same. But why can’t it be? Why can’t I live every day like I’m on vacation? Ok, ok, maybe not every day, after all, this is all about balance. But I can’t tell you how many times last year I said, “Oh, I can’t tonight, I have work tomorrow” or the weekends that would go by so quickly I’d have a panic attack on Sunday night thinking about work the next day, and wondering how I’d make it through five days until Friday.
So. That’s what I’m working on this year. Join me if you want- no more Fridays. No.More.Fridays. I’m taking my week back. I’m taking one day at a time, saying “yes” more, shutting off work when work is over and living & loving the world around me. Using all my personal days, quick weekend trips, more stamps in my passport… more plans with friends… more non-feeling guilty nights in… more trips to the gym….more going to see my friends play music… more trying new recipes… more taking classes… and more saying “no” to things don’t give me joy. After all, it is all about balance. Time to start collecting more moments. Who’s in?