With only a few weeks off of work a year, when you love travel that time becomes precious. I have seen various studies talking about how little vacation is given (or taken) in the US. I will say, that although I get way more time off here, that time is still valuable to me. I try to use holidays and night trains to make the most of the time that I have away from my job. When the vacation time becomes that precious, there is a sense of trying not to waste it. At which point that desperation comes back in another form, to suck up all the glories of the vacation and store it somehow. If we store up enough “vacation juice” and mete it out slowly over the following months, maybe the daily life is more enjoyable.
This is really more for the working traveler than those that live on the road. However I can imagine the high of certain experiences have to juice up the the lows that come around as well.
I used to do this when I lived and worked in the States. Coming back to the office after a week away meant a few days of telling the stories (if you only tell one person at a time, you can stretch this out a ways) and then slowly sinking back into the routine. Pineapple chips and special wine brought back from trips can be brought out maybe a month later. Sorting pictures for online posting can provide a great deal of extra juice after the fact. Add the new group of friends that comes with social media for another few stories to tell and picture comments to read. In the end though there is rarely enough vacationness to bridge the gap until you can reasonably plan the next getaway.
How do you manage your juice?
Here are a few things that I thought off..
- Weekends Away – No need to take time off of work and remember the fun of being away. Living here, both Switzerland and France are just an hour away, less with a car. Just that feeling of being “away” is often enough to refresh you.
- Mental Vacations – If you read my article about Freaking myself Out, you know I like playing around inside my own head. So why not spend an afternoon remembering the vacation.
- Planning – Even if the next trip is months ahead, sometimes just going through the planning for it can give you some pre-vacation juice to play with.
- Blogging and Pictures – This is primarily what I use now. Especially with blog posts I can mentally play through my vacation both in stories and pictures and keep that feeling alive for much longer. And I get to share it with others, which helps almost as much as the exercise itself.
- Connect with Travel Friends – I often make friends on trips. By the magic of the social networks, I can connect with those friends after the trip. It is all too easy to forget about our new friends in the midst of all the stuff that happens after a vacation. Take a few minutes and reconnect with those people.
- Post Travel Journal – Do you travel journal? Do you stop when you get home? Think about writing a few extra entries after the fact. What changed you on the trip? Any particularly good memories?
Point of it All
I have been back off my greek vacation for 2 weeks now. I am getting back into the routine of work and life. The days are getting shorter and weather colder. I feel the weight of it all. The point seems to be to not think of vacation juice as a resource to be burned and used up, but as a flow. As long as I can keep the fun things in my head the world bits that I have to deal with on a daily basis can’t get to me so much.
- How do you keep the experiences and memories alive when you get back to “normal life”?
- For eternal travelers, how do you keep the wonder of each location alive when you move to another?
Shifting Away From the Vacation Mindset - Grounded Traveler
April 30, 2013 @ 1:22 pm
[…] still end up feeling like a rush of freedom. Do what you can to cram enjoyment into a few weeks and store it up like a mouse to live off for the next months of working. I want to get Beyond Vacation. I am now […]
No Onions Extra Pickles » Blog Archive » Travel When Untraveling
October 20, 2010 @ 10:42 pm
[…] a lot of posts about coping with being unable to travel – two that instantly come to mind are Vacation Juice by Andrew of Grounded Traveler and When a Travel Blogger is Stuck at Home, a guest post on […]
Expat in Germany
October 17, 2010 @ 10:59 am
Great post and anyway I can extend my vacation, I’m there! I also love Sundays in Germany, since almost everything is closed and you’re not allowed to do anything that makes noise, I find that they’re like a vacation day. Today, we had planned to go hiking, but as the weather is bad, are going to check out the Mercedes Museum – something I would do if I was on vacation.
October 18, 2010 @ 5:22 pm
Hope you had fun in the museum. Weather was kind of ugh for us here too. As long as you plan well enough on Saturday to get all the shopping done that needs doing, Sundays are indeed nice day to just chill. Took me a while to get out of my Sunday grocery habit that I brought from the US.
Thanks for the comment.
October 16, 2010 @ 10:28 pm
Planning and travel blogging really get me through most of the year. I’m already planning my trip to Japan (which isn’t for another year…argh…though I’ll be taking other, smaller trips in between to not lose my mind). When I was working full-time, I was one of the very few who would save up all my vacation, and get the hell out of there for 2-3 weeks – which I could never understand. I love to look at my old vacation pictures, and reminiscing about delicious foods I’ve had abroad always puts me in a good mood.
October 18, 2010 @ 5:20 pm
Sounds like you’ve got a good solid plan put together for bridging the gaps. Did you use your entire year’s vacation at once then? If so, you really must have had a good plan to get through an entire year.
Thanks for the comment.
October 16, 2010 @ 3:45 pm
It really is awful how little vacation time most Americans get – one week. That is not enough to recharge from the other 51 weeks, no way. Weekend vacations always work for me – better yet, long weekend vacations built around a summer holiday like Memorial Day. Even that amount of time away can be so exciting and relaxing.
October 18, 2010 @ 5:18 pm
I’ve thankfully never worked at a place that gave less than 2 weeks, even in the US. I guess I should be thankful for that. Yup, long weekends are helpful. The downfall is the prices as everyone else tries to drive and book hotels on those weekends.
Thanks for the comment.
October 16, 2010 @ 9:41 am
I know what you mean, when I was working in the States I was one of the few people in the company who took vacations in two or three week stretches, and I’m sure it was frowned upon. It’s craziness in that country.It’s funny, when I usually get back from a long trip, I can’t make myself unpack my suitcase right away, at least not everything. It’s like I have to ease myself back into real life, and putting away the suitcase too soon is just too traumatic. LOL. Other things I do to keep squeezing the vacation juice fresh:1. When I’m on a trip, I keep a travel journal, but some days I just jot down short notes of things from that day. When I get home and I have more time, then I write out my memories and stories in more detail. It’s a great way to stretch out the vacation feeling. 2. Sometimes after a trip, I’ll just sit or lie still for a long time every evening and just think about the memories and experiences.3. I like to make a DVD on my Mac with my best trip photos set to the songs I listened to on the trip. I scan or take photos of airplane, train, or museum tickets and include those as well. Years later I still pop some of those into the DVD player and relive old trips. The music stirs up those feelings again and it’s a really evocative way to remember.
October 18, 2010 @ 5:16 pm
Thanks for the comment.
I know what you mean about the suitcase. Sometimes if there are clean clothes left after a trip, I live from the suitcase for an extra day or two from home.
The DVDs sounds really cool. I keep thinking about doing such things. To the point of getting a camcorder to taking moving pictures for such projects. I just haven’t yet put something like that together. What do you use?
2. Is one of those things that occurred to me, but have never done. It is cool to hear that others do that. I may try it, especially after a long day at work in the near future.
October 16, 2010 @ 4:45 am
Blogging definitely helps me out with this, it’s sort of like I’ve been able to stretch my 1 week in Ecuador out into a month and a half. Talking to other bloggers and reading about their trips helps as a sort of second-hand travel, but it also sometimes makes me a little jealous. I also agree with you about planning the next trip b/c my mood can go from low to high just from 5 or 10 minutes of travel planning, even for a trip that is so far off I can’t even see it yet.
Also, can we add “vacationness” to Webster’s? 🙂
October 16, 2010 @ 7:08 am
We can add “vacationness” as long as we add “second-hand travel” as well. Is it like second-hand smoking?
Yup, the planning is not something I really do a lot, but I totally was thinking of you in that line.
October 15, 2010 @ 9:38 pm
I love this post and can completely relate with the utility of vacation juice.
October 16, 2010 @ 7:06 am
Thanks for the comment and compliment. 🙂