Thursday, March 27, 2014

Post-Trip Blues

Six am on Monday and my work phone is already ringing. I work with people who live in different time zones, and it's not their fault that I have established myself as an early bird. I curb my snarl and force myself to care about formatting a table.



Later I call Dan on work-related business. I have told one of his employees that years ago Dan and I were seasonal trail crew/wilderness rangers together, and that we suspected Dan of being inhuman because of how fast he hiked, showing no sign of weariness. The employee hesitates, disbelief in his voice. "Yeah, he sits behind a desk all day now," he says. When I talk with Dan I say, "Remember? We would have died if we thought we were going to sit at a computer back then."  I don't know about him, but I feel a pang for the girl I was.

Yep, folks, it's the post trip blues. I've had two great adventures, in two deep canyons, and while I know this is a first world problem, it is always hard to wrench myself from that to my working day. I try, though. I make a list in my head of all the fun things I've managed to fit in this week, or little gems that have shone out from the rainy dark. For example:

1. At the gym, a man watched me closely, while I tried to ignore him. Finally he said, "You're lifting those weights as if they were nothing!" And I felt a touch of pride. Then he said, "That weight's pretty good for..." and his voice trailed off. What had he meant to say? A girl? An old lady? Whatever. I chose to take it as a compliment.

2. I went on a great run in the park. In shorts. And a T-shirt. Without ice grippers. I can't stress enough the wonderfulness of these things. Don't you always feel faster when you run in shorts, without all the winter layers? Of course it is snowing again now, but you take what you can get.

3. I finished a chapter of my Alaska memoir and sent it to my writer's group. I have no idea where this memoir came from; it's just spilling out, not something I planned on writing at all. But there you go. It's nice to be freely writing again. I realize as I write it just how extraordinary my life has been, and that maybe it can be that way again.

4.  It's supposed to rain this weekend! Which on one hand, boo. On the other, yay, I can set up my new tent and see how it works out. I love, love sleeping in the rain in tents, especially when I know I don't have to get up and hike twenty miles the next day with everything wet. It's the big test before the Washington Cascades, so I am excited to see how it goes.

5. I opened the door this morning to let the cat in, and let not only the cat in but a mouse it was chasing. For some reason this makes me giggle, even though the mouse ran and hid and is in the house somewhere. What are the odds of this happening? I think of all the people who would freak out about this and am glad I'm not one of them.

Navigating the post trip blues can be difficult. More and more I know I am meant to be out in the woods, not at  a desk. Someday I will figure out how to make my life one long adventure again. Until then, I'll try to mine the work week for little things that shine.

Do you get post-trip blues or is it just me? How do you deal?


17 comments:

  1. Nope, I don't have the post-trip blues. I usually binge hard on a trip so I come home and am exhausted. I call it an adventure hangover. After a few days, that wears off and I feel like I need to get back out there right away. Matt and I usually have our next adventure planned soon after we get home, so there's something to look forward to up ahead (next one is southern Oregon and maybe Crater Lake if the weather cooperates and we can get our little car up there). What's your plan for the Cascades? Section hiking the PCT?

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    1. No matter how much of an adventure hangover I have (love that term) it still happens. I think really that it is the work element. Not much I can do about working though. It is necessary. Wish you were coming farther north. Yes to Pct.

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  2. Ooo I hate the post-trip blues too! Never want to leave the woods after a trip. Best fix was doing field work or doing a project in the greenhouse for my job, but that was only a few weeks out of the year. If you find a solution, do let us know!

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  3. Yeah, it's always hard to come back to work after an epic trip. It's not that I hate my job, there's just better things I'd rather be doing. But you gotta pay the bills!

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  4. Yes, that is what I keep coming back to!

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  5. I love all your positives, especially letting the cat AND the mouse in!!!

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    1. We still have not found the mouse!

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  6. Mary my problem is always the winter blues. Shane and I are in the mountains almost every weekend from Memorial Day through mid October. I kinda go into a little depression state during the long dark days of winter and all I can think about is getting back to the mountains I love. I always use up all my vacation time during the summer and spread it out over the entire season to give us lots of long weekends so that we can go on lots of little adventures. But I still haven't been able to not cry on the hike out during our last trip every season.
    I truly believe I leave part of my heart in the wilderness every year, just to find it again in the spring....

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  7. Photos of the tent and a full gear review - that's what I want to get over your post-trip blues! Scout

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    1. I keep waiting for a big downpour for the final test but it keeps snowing!

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  8. The duration of the post-trip blues is directly proportional to the magnitude of the adventure. I'm still getting over the end of the PCT, and that was like 6 years ago!

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    1. I'm afraid to do a thru for that reason! And others.

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  9. I remember, when I was working full time, coming back to an overloaded desk and thinking: "Why hasn't anyone been taking care of this??!" But, since the "anyone" was me, there was no helpful answer. Your adventures are such highs, I can only imagine how you feel when you come back to everyday life at the office.

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  10. There definitely is a difference in the post-trip effects based on the work and living environment I'm returning to. When I worked full-time+ at a desk and also lived in town the "wall of grief" *(as one trip leader described it) was intense. I remember sleeping in the yard because I couldn't stand to be inside walls. Living in the country made a big difference but I still feel like I'm coming home to chains if the job keeps me desk-bound. If my upcoming week is in the field, no problem.

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    1. Totally agree.I am struggling with being desk bound at the moment. Wall of grief is a good way of putting it.

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