We left for our vacation in Italy on Friday, February 22 around 6 in the evening. We took the overnight train, arrived in Rome on Saturday morning, left for Venice on Wednesday afternoon, left Venice late in the evening on Saturday the 2nd of March and arrived back in Vienna the following morning. We were on vacation for about 8 1/2 days, which was time well spent. We’ve been back for about 5 days, and I’m just now starting to catch up.
I’m just *starting* to catch up. Meaning that I’ve opened the mail we accrued when we left, washed a few loads of laundry (although the pile is still large enough that it tipped over and covered half the bathroom floor this morning), almost caught up posting blogs and emailing and backing up pictures, and, today, for the first time since we’ve been back, I was fairly certain I knew what day it was, all day long. By Monday, we’ll probably be pretty much back on a normal schedule, and life will get back to business as usual.
Considering that I also started doing laundry and packing 2 entire weeks before we left on our trip, at this point I’ve devoted much more time to executing the details of the trip and organizing everything afterwards than we actually spent on vacation. (And that doesn’t include the time it took to actually plan the trip, find the hotels, buy the train tickets, etc.)
I’m sharing this, not to complain, but to acknowledge that travelling (and even more so with kids) is a ton of work. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the fun, and forget to mention how much work goes into making a family vacation happen. I think it’s one of those things that we (all, collectively) think should be easier than it is. And it just isn’t. It’s a lot of work. And there isn’t a way around that (at least, not that I’ve found). And I just want to put that out there, along with the highlight reel of idyllic pictures of cruising the Grand Canal in a gondola, and the stories of how great the food was and how well the kids behaved. Even though we travel (a lot) and I think we’ve gotten pretty good at making the whole thing work, from reservations to packing to scheduling to actually enjoying the trip, there is just so much effort that goes into doing it. And I don’t want to paint an overly rosy picture and give the impression that, when it’s hard, something is wrong.
As a parent (especially one that stays home with the kids), vacation is just doing your normal job, off of your schedule and without all of your stuff. Dan usually says that after a vacation, he goes back to work to recuperate from the intensity of our trip. It’s a completely different concept of “vacation” than we once had. Now that I’m used to it, and that’s what I expect, it’s really wonderful, but it isn’t the same as sitting on the beach sipping margaritas (which, now that I think about it, I’m not sure I’ve ever did while I had the chance).
It is hard. I’m exhausted. I need a vacation to recover from our vacation. It was totally, completely, 100% worth it, but it’ll still be a few days before we really get back to normal around here.