The travel crash… AARGH!!!

A weekend getaway is exactly what I needed this weekend.  My summer so far has been pretty hectic.  Good, but hardly relaxing.  I’ve been working full-time in a co-op job which hardly equals spending long days on the beach, we haven’t had any weather conducive to lying on said beach (or doing anything else frankly), and I was really busy in June with a second job and a photography course.  Like I said, these were all good things (except the rain) I was just really tired.

Canada Day long weekend: a little more relaxing, watched some movies, played some music, slept in once.  That was nice, but still stuck at home.  This weekend: heaven.

I was born in Campbell River, BC, a small town about half-way up the east coast of Vancouver Island.  My aunt and uncle still live there in a beautiful house right on the ocean, and my mom and I got to housesit for a weekend while they were away.  We are so lucky.

Friday night, driving north.  Quick stop in Parksville for picnic dinner.  Laugh at dog trying to chase seal in the water.  Watch little kids’ faces as they explore bare feet and gravel.  Laugh at dads’ faces unintentionally doing the same.  Get lost on road to Ladysmith.

Campbell River was beautiful.  Not a cloud in the sky nor a breath of wind, just the ocean as calm as I’ve ever seen it and a beautiful – but not too hot – sun setting behind the house.  If you know the Island, you’ll know there is a strait between us and the Mainland, but that countless little islands stand in the way.  Cruise ships, barges, freighters, pleasure craft, they all take the passage north or south to wherever their final destinations are through these islands.  It is quite fun sitting on the porch watching them slowly meander across the horizon, the cruise ships being my favourite as they sparkle and twinkle when they go by at dusk.

Victoria is hardly a big, polluted, hazy city like some of Canada’s larger metropolises.  We often have a nice ocean breeze that brings fresh, cool air through our streets.  I always forget, however, that Campbell River is so much smaller that there is a significant difference in breathing, something I notice and take time to appreciate while on vacation.

I won’t claim that my two nights up island were the best I’ve ever had, be it in Campbell River or in any of my other travels.  I still managed to struggle with sleep (probably because I’m so incredibly over tired as it is, and because of the single bed I was sleeping in).  I still managed to get a headache from my computer and sore feet from my sandals.  I even once got bored with lazing around!

But it was a great getaway.  I left my digital camera at home so I could focus on shooting film (a gallery will follow soon), I visited my favourite bookstore where I bought four books (a post will follow soon) and I even visited a museum where I could have been working this summer (here’s a link).  I slept more than I had any other night in the past month and even stayed in bed until 10 one morning, a huge accomplishment for me.  I spent time reading outside, I walked the beach, I took pictures of nature, I watched a few of my favourite TV shows…  I enjoyed myself.

It’s too bad it can all come crashing back down so quickly.  After a great drive home just in time to spend some time with friends on a beach and getting in bed a little later than I planned…anything I gained on vacation got trashed.

I couldn’t sleep, I was too hot, my feet were bleeding from all my scratching of spider and mosquito bites from the weekend or the evening on the beach, and I was feeling sick. 

Not only did I get somewhere around five hours total sleep, it was in intervals because of waking up in a sweat, scratching myself, or feeling like I was going to throw up!  And then this morning I find I left my shaver up there, I slept through my alarm, didn’t eat breakfast, and I missed two busses on my way to work (even though I was on time at the stop, for the record, and I still made it to work on time.)

Why am I telling you this?  Because I’m tired and cranky and feel like I need another holiday.  I would even go so far as saying last night stole my weekend from me, all the benefits gone!  But really I’m writing this because you’ve all been there too, you’ve all crashed after a trip and know what I’m feeling.

Why do we travel?  To get away from regular life, to explore, to refresh, and to come home and start again.  Sometimes there is nothing sweeter than falling into a deep sleep back in your own bed, dreaming sweet dreams of your adventure now finished.  Sometimes it’s hell.  If you’re feeling like I am right now, you have to remind yourself how good your vacation was (how fun it was to walk the beach, how beautiful the sun was, how your photos are going to be amazing), how it was worth all the problems once you got home, and to fight through until the next one.

I need to find a way to rejuvenate myself now that I’m home.  Early to bed, lots of water, healthy food, constructive activities to boost my motivation and morale, quiet time to myself…  I’ve made it through weeks and months of intense travel without having a crash as hard as this weekend, but I’ll survive.  These tricks will help me earn my next vacation, and you’ll agree that earning a vacation (and being fresh when it comes) is much better than moping around, dejected and mad at the world, waiting for a chance to escape.  Struggle through, fellow travel crashers!

Now leave me alone and let me sleep!!!

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