I started writing a different version of this post in which I described one of the most memorable days I’ve had in a while. I just got back from spending a few days with Mike and some friends in the Riviera Maya along the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. On Friday we toured some ancient Mayan ruins, rode ATVs through the jungle, and visited a cenote, which is a vast, breathtaking underground cavern with a river running through. Then when we got back to the resort, our friend saved a drunk guy from drowning in the pool and that night another friend and I sang karaoke in front of probably 200 people in a huge showroom.
But then I realized that reading about someone’s vacation, even a particularly eventful day, probably isn’t very interesting reading.
Instead, I want to focus on the thought that I had when Mike and I were walking to our car yesterday at the airport: There’s nothing like being on a trip that makes you appreciate what you have.
It’s not that I had a bad time — far from it! It was a great vacation with some awesome people. But when it was time to come home, I was ready, and it felt so wonderful to get back to normal life. We picked up Sassy and it we were all so happy to be back together. We went directly to Trader Joe’s and it felt good to carry the bags in and unload our food for the week. Even though we weren’t even gone that long, the break allowed me to return looking at my life and the things I see and touch every day with new eyes. More grateful ones.
Of course I understand the bummed-out feeling of getting back to the usual grind of everyday life after a fun vacation. But instead, doesn’t it make more sense to focus on the fact that you were fortunate enough to take the trip, and feel thankful for the circumstances of your life that made it possible?
Traveling to new places wasn’t always an option for me — when I lived in Las Vegas for those six years, and in Columbus, Ohio for three years before that, I spent most of my vacation days back home in Philly because my parents were elderly at the time and also because I missed home and everyone and everything in it. I said no to a lot of things and made halfhearted plans then didn’t follow through. During that nine-year span, I just went on one week-long vacation to somewhere other than Philly.
But now that I’m back home in the city I love, I can put my time and resources toward seeing more of the world. And I’ve finally found someone who I feel excited about traveling with. Mike and I have a list of our future travel destinations, and next on the list is Scotland. We booked our trip a few months ago, we just need to fill in the days with places to stay and things to do.
After that, anything’s possible.
No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.– Lin Yutang