Back to reality: resetting after a trip

You’ve hopped the plane, you’ve had some fun. Then it’s back to reality.

These days, I am trying not to go back to work right after returning from a trip; I’m actually trying to take a few more days off than I normally would. Back in the day — and at all of my other places of work — if I ever went on vacation (which was rare), I’d be back at work the very next day. Sometimes, I’d be back at work the very same afternoon. There are definitely people who can do that, and kudos to them. But if you’re not a wanderlust wunderkind (I’m definitely not able to bounce back as quickly as I could before) then that’s okay too.

When is “trip mode” over?

Generally I’m right out of trip mode when we unlock the door to our apartment. I have a tendency to romanticize everything on the plane ride back, just as I normally do en route to our destination. I even find fun in getting our luggage off the airport carousels. But when that key goes into our door, and it swings open, I always find myself going, “game over!”

How we get everything all sorted out depends on when we come back, and how we’re feeling. This time around, we came back from the airport at 6 p.m. (we were actually able to rest on our flight) but for some reason, we were so tired and weren’t in the mood to unpack — so we left it to the next day.

Last year, when we came back from Hawaii, our flight was an overnight flight, and we somehow managed to sleep on the plane — so when we touched down in Vancouver, we felt like we were ready to tackle the day. Plus, I had to be back at work the following day, so I didn’t have a choice.

Of course, no Hall unpacking ceremony is complete without making a list of things to do. We don’t want to inadvertently miss anything now, do we?

Back to normal

Jon is quite good at making sure everything at home is powered off before we go. We have a massive computer, so we try not to leave it on if we’re away for an extended period of time. Usually when we return, he’ll go around the unit and power everything up again. Same goes for the TV, which is the only other energy sucker in the apartment. (Unless it’s summer, in which case our air conditioning unit is on contributing to our seasonally high power bill, but we didn’t bother leaving it out this time since it was already starting to cool down before we left for Toronto.)

We check to see what’s in the fridge (we’ve been lucky; there’s always been food that we can prepare or eat when we come back from a trip) but if there isn’t anything available, we’ll usually just order in — which is rare.

Ouch!

As I’ve been getting older (no crap about me “being/looking young,” please, I’m actually seeing a difference heading into my 30’s) I’ve noticed parts of my body starting to hurt more after a flight. Aside from my neck, back and knees hurting, one of the most painful parts is actually my skin. So, I make sure to go over that with a good moisturizer, usually an oil or cream. This time I used coconut oil on my face because there were actually places, like my cheeks, where my skin was cracking and flaking. Once I applied that to my face, I felt so much better. For the rest of my body, I’ll use my typical lotions, like a gel-cream. I’ve always had oily skin and never thought I needed to moisturize — a few years ago I realized I was I wrong and that moisturizing your skin (along with using sunscreen!) is for everyone. What’s more, the recycled air on the plane doesn’t really help, so I take care of that as quickly as possible. Also: drink water.

Settling in

As I mentioned earlier, we left unpacking everything to the next day. This includes laundry, which we left to the day after that because we had so much of it and needed to sort it all; we also share laundry facilities in our building and don’t have a washer and dryer in our apartment.

We also tend to have dishes in our drying rack from just before we left. Those go away as well. If there’s anything else that needs tidying up, like the couch or the dining room table, we’ll also take care of that. I don’t necessarily “deep clean” our place (as I usually do that before we leave) but it’s more of a good tidy.

Once the suitcases are empty, they go downstairs into storage until we need to pack for the next adventure!

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