Not many things compare to a vacation as far as relaxation and getting a fresh perspective on life. It is surprisingly easy to sink back into the ruts and stress of daily life when we return home. So, here are a few ideas to help hold onto the benefits of those miles traveled.
Create a Tableau of Souvenirs – a small grouping of the things you picked up on your trip can bring a smile to your face each time you glance at it. Place them on a clutter-free surface in a highly trafficked area of your home, so they will be seen and noticed often. Now it’s true in this case that the sum is greater than the parts; a disparate conglomerate will be more uniquely yours. (Mine has goats’ milk soap, a sunhat, a massive pinecone, seashells, and a jar of honey – which I recommend as a great purchase on all of your travels as it has aromas and tastes particular to the place it is from).
Playlist – The last vacation I was on, I traveled with my grandma, and we listened to her station of choice: XM59 Willie’s Roadhouse. You may be shocked to hear that classic country is not a genre I listened to regularly. Keeping an open mind, I discovered some great songs, and I have created a (curated!) Spotify playlist. Now that music recalls very specific memories that give me joy. To make this method most effective, try to get ahold of music new to you and to listen to it often on your adventure. Ask a musical friend for recommendations or do some hunting of your own online for obscure groups.
- Recreate a special or regional meal – Traveling gives us a great chance to experience new foods; sometimes it’s even forced upon us, whether by lack of options or an insistent hostess. No matter how far-flung your travels, you will most likely be able to get your hands on the ingredients that make the food of that area special. Making the effort to research the techniques used to prepare the food and taking the time to cook it at home can give you a wonderful sense of accomplishment and help bring back memories of mealtimes.
- Pictures – I recommend taking more than you think necessary wherever you are. Yes, you may be identified as a tourist, but really, who cares? Once you are home, you will be happy to have the snapshots of all the little things that struck you as odd and beautiful. Plus, I find I explore an area more thoroughly when I am trying to find a great shot. Honestly, I have real regret over the photo opportunities I’ve let pass; for instance: a husband and wife dressed head to toe in Fendi-logoed clothing, pushing their baby in a Fendi-logoed stroller.
Once you’re home, find a way to incorporate the photos into your visual sphere. You can find all sorts of photo-printing options, but I’ll pass on a view of the inexpensive ideas I’ve come across over the years for displaying photos:
For a one-shot-wonder, you can have a color image printed at an Office Depot as an ‘Engineer Print’ for less than $6. However, the paper used for this type of print is not heavy-weight and may wrinkle, but if you adhere it to a foamboard ($1 at Dollar Tree) with spray adhesive, it can work nicely. I sprung for a ‘Poster Print’ (a 24”x36”) on 55lb paper for $24.99. Pop it in a simple frame (frequently 40-50% at local craft stores), and viola!, you have an impressive piece of artwork for a wall. Frankly, a freebie that I find I enjoy quite often is a ‘collage’ of thumbnails of my photos on the desktop of my computer. Something about seeing multiple images from a trip elicits a stronger sense of the experience.
- Reminisce –I imagine most readers of this blog have children. And, children love rehashing the fun events in their lives. I’ve found the more often I talk with my little one about the vacation, the more details she recalls and the greater insight I get into what she found especially interesting. Her perspectives and memories add to my own to create a fuller memory.
- ‘Live out of your suitcase’ – Upon returning from vacation, I felt the excess in my daily life. I missed the simplicity of fewer options. I realized that one area that was much easier on vacation was choosing outfits. I had put more thought and effort into the clothes I took than I typically do for my wardrobe at home. I’d considered the climate and culture of the area and then pared down further based on my personal preferences. And, I had made an effort to be sure the clothes coordinated enough to be able to mix and match pieces multiple ways. Now that I’m home, I try to organize drawers that do the same for my life here. Of course, having multiple drawers gives me more variety but retains some of the simplicity of a travel wardrobe. I also brought back the colors (blues, greens, corals, red) and textures (linen, crotchet), and silhouettes (loose and breezy) I enjoyed on vacation that translated well to our hot and humid climate.
Hope you enjoy some of these ideas and please leave comments with any that you’ve come upon.
Happy travels and happy homecomings-