It’s been just over four weeks since I got back from a 15-day trip in India. I’m still trying my best to hold onto that vacation feeling, especially as the weather turns nasty in Germany. Sadly, my tan is fading, my henna tattoo has only the tiniest visible spots, and I hardly get any more questions about my trip.
This was the first long vacation to a new country that I’ve taken in a long time. In fact, I’ve spent so much time travelling just within Europe that I had forgotten what it feels like to go to a country just to experience it, and not to scope it out as a potential place to live.
Good news: experiencing a new country is a great feeling. I came back eager to plan my next trip, already thinking about where I could go next and how soon and if a savings account is really necessary or should I just spend it all on travel. It was an exciting feeling, perhaps too exciting. I’ve since calmed down and reminded myself that I should take the time to appreciate the memories of this trip first.
Getting to that realisation wasn’t easy. I went on a tour with G Adventures for the whole time I was in India, which means I spent essentially all of my time with the same people. We had similar experiences and share memories and stories, and it’s hard when you suddenly have to leave such a close group. The initial shock of going back to regular life after a jam-packed tour with fellow travellers certainly contributed to my need to plan the next trip as soon as possible. Add to that the fact that so many people on my tour were travelling for months at a time and are still sharing photos and stories of their further experiences, and it’s easy to see why I was so keen to feed the travel bug.
A part of me didn’t want to go on this trip at all. I had such a stressful October that in the days leading up the trip I was asking myself why I didn’t just take two weeks off of work to be productive at home. But of course, I went anyway, and it ended up being the best vacation I’ve ever had. Leaving my routine and getting out of my comfort zone for two weeks was exactly what I needed to get out of my funk.
So it’s no wonder I want to keep travelling when travelling makes me feel so good. Unfortunately, I can’t live in vacation mode forever.
What I have been able to do is make some changes in my everyday life that are inspired by my experiences in other countries. This is something I’ve always done, like finally giving up soft drinks with my meals after only drinking water for two weeks in the Dominican Republic. This time around, I’ve found myself throwing chilli on everything, I’ve gotten over the need to eat breakfast as soon as I get up, I’m washing my hair less, and, most importantly, I’ve gotten rid of my daily to-do list.
I started making to-do lists when I was in university to keep track of my projects and their due dates. When I was unemployed after graduation, to-do lists became a way for me to feel like I was getting something accomplished in a day rather than just sitting around. Even when I had a job I spent years writing things like “shower” and “work out” down every day, things that were easy to cross off and made it look like I was getting a lot done. But recently, things have been staying on my to-do list a lot longer, and seeing items like “write blog post” or “read email” for weeks at a time without being able to cross them off was just making me stressed. So, I’ve done away with the whole thing. Guess I’ll just have to remember when to cook dinner or when to go for a hike.
As for my amazing India trip, I’ve been back and forth on whether to blog about it. On one hand, it may just read like a detailed G Adventures itinerary. I think an intense trip like this where I did so much in a short time lends itself better to the occasional anecdote. (Like when I elected not to do the camel safari but still wanted to join everyone in the desert, so I took a Jeep with our guide and two other Indian men through villages near the dunes. I’ll never forget the look of excitement on a little girl’s face and her jumping for joy as she saw me smiling at her from the backseat.) On the other hand, I can’t shut up about my trip and the people around me are sick of it.
If you don’t hear from me for a while, it’s safe to assume I’m spending my free time perusing the G Adventures catalogue, dreaming of where to go next. I mean, it has been four weeks.