Last week, Clayton and I took our first vacation in about 2 years and it was SO needed. We attended a friend's wedding in Minnesota on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The landscape and the atmosphere of the North Shore is beautiful beyond words. I may move there someday if I can convince myself that I can tolerate the frigid winters! I've already been checking out some properties up there that I'm nowhere near being able to afford :)
View from the Upper Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park
View of the Wisconsin Dells from our hotel room balcony
On our way home, we decided to make it a road trip, stopping in the Wisconsin Dells for a couple days and making stops to candy shops and cheese chalets to indulge in our guilty pleasures. After about 7 days of being away from home, we agreed that we were both feeling "vacationed out" and were ready to get back to our dogs who were at home with my mother-in-law. We arrived home late that night and I happily fell asleep with my dogs at my feet.
I woke up the next day and felt a pang of sadness. I was at my lovely home with my cute dogs and my wonderful husband. But my heart was still at the North Shore, wishing I could have just one more day on the lake, skipping rocks, listening to music, drinking a tasty New Glarus beer, feeling the warmth of a fire, and hearing the soothing crash of the waves. It was a place where I could clear my head of all thoughts and be happy to simply exist.
Back at our house, I'm immediately thinking about laundry that needs done, dishes that need to be washed, carpet that needs to be vacuumed, emails that need responses, etc. Life hit me like a freight train and I didn't know where to pick up the pieces and get started again. I spent the last couple days literally doing nothing but sulking in my misery and doing the bare minimum to get by.
Last night, I was sitting on the patio and allowing myself to ruminate on my racing negative thoughts. I thought about driving out to the lake near my house to go watch the water and feel a sense of calm, but it was getting dark and I didn't know if I could safely navigate the terrain without proper lighting.
Instead, I decided to tackle something off of my bucket list. The weather was great with a nice cool breeze. I pitched the tent on our patio and inflated the air mattress inside of it. I started a fire in the fire pit and brought out a cooler with some beer and water. I turned on Tyler Childers on Amazon Music and put it on shuffle. Clayton was surprised to find all of this done when he came to join me outside and we spent a couple hours by the fire and laying in the tent watching the stars. It was the perfect way to say goodbye to our memorable trip and move forward.
We intend to return to the North Shore for another vacation in the future. We may rent a cabin, invite our families, and bring our dogs with us next time. It feels like a treasure that needs to be shared with our loved ones. But for now, it is time to return to life. To resume a routine, return to work, and take care of my house, my family, and myself.
I think that one of my biggest realizations about myself through all of this is that I need to give myself something to look forward to. Tomorrow I'll be going out to a sports bar with a friend to watch the Bengals game. I'm having a girls' night with some coworkers next weekend. And in October, a couple of friends from college are coming to spend a weekend at my house. I'm trying to keep those things in mind as I cope with my return to some monotony in my day to day life.
One of my recurring responses to stress is wanting to run away. Maybe that's part of why I want to move to the North Shore. To think about having 5-10 acres of wooded area on the shore of Lake Superior is calming to me. I would be able to walk into the woods and not see another soul as far as the eye could see. Or I could drift out onto the lake in a kayak and just enjoy being on the water. I have never felt so connected with a geographical area as I do with the North Shore. Maybe in the next 10 years or so I can make my dream a reality.
Have you ever felt post-vacation blues? What did you do to overcome it?
Is there a certain place in the world that brings you a sense of calm and peace that you don't feel anywhere else?