I anticipate my winter escape all year long. It's that time in mid- to late-January when I forget about shoveling my apartment's walkway and sip margaritas on the sand instead. However, there's a point in every vacation, whether I'm away for a week or a month, that I begin to dread returning to my usual routine. The phrase, "There's no place like home," couldn't seem more untrue when I imagine returning to my back-breaking office chair and scraping ice off my Toyota Camry's windshield at 7:30 a.m.
This dread of returning to my routine, and the subsequent post-vacation blues that hits when my plane lands at Toronto Pearson, has driven me to create a number of tactics to lessen the pain of having to wait an entire year until my next winter getaway. These four tips are the ones I'm using to fight my post-Puerto-Vallarta blues right now, and I'm sure they'll help with yours, wherever you may travel this winter, too.
I Plan Mini-Vacations for My Return
Life after your winter getaway doesn't have to be entirely routine. Don't sink back into old habits of watching sports on Saturday and dreading another work week on Sunday. In fact, I don't even wait until my return to throw a few monkey-wrenches into my usual, boring schedule. I plan at least two or three events or mini-vacations for the weeks following my return. Whether it's a Wednesday night concert here in Hogtown or a weekend of skiing in the Blue Mountains, these miniature breaks from my routine give me something to anticipate.
I Rediscover My Hometown (Toronto)
Similar to planning mini-vacations or purchasing tickets to interesting upcoming events, I make a list of Toronto restaurants, museums, parks, and shops I've been wanting to visit or taste. Many times, these places transport me around the world (at least for a moment), and I don't spend nearly as much as I would on a full escape. This week, I have already traveled to Greece through Volos and the Mediterranean through The Elm Tree Restaurant. I plan on rediscovering my city through mouthwatering eats and lesser-known museums until the icicles melt.
I Connect With Fellow Travelers
Coming back to the "real world" can make you feel like an outsider. Every year, I return from my winter escape feeling less concerned about the size of my home and the year of my (2002) Camry. I don't feel as inspired to keep up with the Jones'. This leaves me feeling disconnected from my coworkers and some friends and family members. I've since discovered that I'm not the only Torontonian that's constantly overcome with wanderlust.
My city and countless others around the world are home to travel meetup groups, helping like minded people get together and share travel tales, advice, and even thoughts on the ever-dreaded post-travel blues. Facebook groups and forums have become go-to places to keep my adventurous spirit alive when I feel like I've been handcuffed to my desk.
I Learn a New Skill
Travel allows you to learn new skills with very little effort. I find myself speaking new languages (to an extent), learning to cook with new ingredients, and taking up new hobbies, like fishing or surfing, on every escape. I've found that continuing to learn new skills upon returning home appeases my adventurous spirit. Attending a cooking class and working on my photography skills are just a couple of ways I've kept the skills I've learned while traveling alive while at home. They're also abilities that, once improved, are guaranteed to have a positive effect on my next getaway.
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