Taking Tea in the Kasbah

Hello, fine readers! I’m just getting back into town after a nice, long break hanging out with friends, playing in the water, and soaking up the sunshine. Not one to keep things sitting idle for too long, I thought I’d repeat a post from last year that sums up quite nicely the head space I’m in post-vacation. Don’t worry, though. Things will return to their regularly scheduled programming with a new Would You Rather question this Wednesday and a few travel posts in which I’ll share some of my recent adventures in Chattanooga, Savannah, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Orlando.

Until then, enjoy this rerun of a rather misunderstood post-vacation affliction I like to call Re-entry Trauma.


Apologies for being absent from the kasbah for so long. I have a good excuse, though.

This is all I have the motivation for today. 

You see, I have a note* from my doctor that says I’ve been suffering from Re-entry Trauma following my vacation time last week. What is Re-entry Trauma you ask? It is when you’ve had time away from the usual routines of life and then are rudely dumped back in to “real life” (which, by the way, is a phrase I hate when referring to non-vacation time, as though living life beyond one’s usual daily life or taking a vacation is in some way not “real.”)

For those not in the know, Re-entry trauma symptomatology includes a temporary, yet complete mind-sweep of all previously acquired knowledge and skills related to your chosen daily profession; a total lack of drive or desire to engage in your chosen daily profession; and the resulting and very dangerous f**k it attitude towards your chosen daily profession that employers tend to frown upon.

The good news is Re-entry Trauma usually abates within a day or two following one’s return from vacation. The bad news is Re-entry Trauma has a mind of its own and practically invented the f**k it attitude and can be all, “Dude, you and me? We’re not done with each other yet. In fact, we’re just getting started. Didn’t I tell you? I’m hanging out with you for the whole week. Maybe longer if I sense even a molecule of drive or determination in you. Now sit back down in the hammock and pass me the Twizzlers.”

It was about this time that my genius showed up unannounced like he always does (what, you don’t have a genius? then you must read this post to find out how you get one), and said in his British accent, “You ready to rock that novel of ours, because I’ve got some brilliant ideas that — wait a minute. Who’s this?” And then Re-entry Trauma, knowing full well that my genius was pointing at him, couldn’t even be bothered to get up to introduce himself. And frankly, I couldn’t, either. So, my genius just stood there, glaring at us with his arms crossed and tapping his foot until finally I couldn’t take it anymore and got up to write this blog post just to get the guy off my back.

So what can you do to get Re-entry Trauma to move out? Find a way to re-engage in your life that lets you keep a little of the magic that is vacation time. As soon as you show a bit of interest in being semi-productive, the little bastard will move on to less motivated pastures.

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good-bye, Re-entry Trauma.

Just writing this blog post is making me feel better already. See, Re-entry Trauma? I can get something done. I’d say put that in your pipe and smoke it, but I think you’re too lazy to even do that. Sure, it’s only one teeny, tiny blog post of no real significance in which I rambled on incoherently, but its value lies in that I wrote it and it’s done.

Just like you and me, Re-entry Trauma. Just like you and me.


How about you, productive readers? How do you transition back into the usual routines of life following a vacation? Do you ever suffer from Re-entry Trauma? If so, how do you cope with it? Sit, have some tea, and spill your story. I’d love to hear from you!

*It wasn’t so much a note as it was a suggestion. And by suggestion, I mean an idea that came to me as I slogged to work Monday morning. And by idea, I mean the only coherent thought I produced that entire day.

20 thoughts on “The Perils of Going on Vacation: The Return of Re-entry Trauma

  1. Ah, I know it well. The only thing worse, I believe, is when you’re all pumped up by your trip and eager to share it with everyone out there but they really don’t give a #$%@ because while you’ve been gone their lives have tripped along from crisis to crisis and who has time to listen about the wonderful food you ate. That’s a bummer. I’ve finally realized after too many years to unpack quickly. There’s nothing like doing laundry to get you back into the swing of home life.

    • Yeah, I know what you mean. It can be challenging to fully draw someone else into the magic we encountered on our travels if that person wasn’t there with us. I with you on the quick unpacking, though. Unless I’m getting home really late, my suitcase is unpacked and laundry is started within the first hour I’m back. There’s something about grounding myself in a familiar routine that I find comforting after I’ve been gone a long time.

  2. on ,
    Brinda said:

    Oh yeah. I’ve suffered.

    I’m not spoiled. Really I’m not. But I’m on my 2nd week of real life –face the music there’s too many things to be done and not enough hours in the day life– and I feel the urge to throw a tantrum.

    • I’ve been thrown into a whirlwind of things going on here from the first day I returned and it hasn’t slowed down since. I’m really glad I disconnected from it all while I was gone because I think I would have gone completely insane by now if I hadn’t. I hear ya on the need to throw a tantrum. Or have a good, long cry.

      Hang in there, Brinda… Re-entry trauma doesn’t last forever.

  3. Tami, your words have struck a chord, and I shall forever on endeavour to think of vacation, play time, doodle-in-a-colouring-book time, as my real life, and start incorporating more of those aspects into my everyday life.

    But I still want to go back to Newfoundland.

    • I’m glad my words were able to help you reframe things a little. I totally agree – vacation time, play time, staring at the sky time, nap time – ALL are a part of “real life”. I’m desperately trying to hold on to the laid back mentality I had while on vacation because it is a much more gentle place to hang out than the hectic goings-on I temporarily left behind but am now sucked back into. I am grateful that summer is finally here, though. It makes everyday feel a little bit vacationy when you can sit outside watching a lingering sunset with a beverage in hand.

  4. I always buy a little momento that somehow represents where I’ve been. Bringing part of the vacation back with me, helps me to hold on to it longer, and go back there mentally when I need it most. Re-entry’s always a b*&!h.

    This post rings just as true this time around. Thanks for reposting!

    • I like to bring home a little remembrance of the places I’ve traveled, too, even if it’s only a postcard. Oftentimes, my photos are the momentos I cherish the most.

  5. Welcome back, Tami…I hope you had a great time 🙂

    Yeah, returning to the normal routine can be quite a drag. If I have the luxury to do so, I try to make my plans so that I have a couple days to achieve a vegetative state in between coming home and having to return to the daily grind. It kinda helps.

    • Thanks, Mike. I did have a really great time. Sometimes resuming a familiar routine can be comforting, especially if I’ve been gone a long time or if there was a certain routine I found I was missing while away. I need to do what you do and allow myself more than 12-24 hours between landing at the airport and landing back in my office at work. I’m usually pretty useless that first day or two back at work anyway. 😉

  6. YES! I feel this after any break from regular work, even if I don’t travel anywhere. I have to swim through banks of brain fog before I can hit any sort of routine again…good luck to you 🙂

    • ‘Swimming through banks of fog’ describes re-entry trauma so well. It usually takes me a few days to get back to a more fully functioning state. It’s a wonder I can find my way to work. 😉

  7. So clever and true. Why, just last week Re-entry Trauma was hanging around me! I had a heck of a time getting rid of him.. In fact, he is still bugging me a bit 🙂

  8. OK. I got home last night. This is the next day. After I send this comment, I will unzip my suitcase and move laundry to laundry basket. Just * that * much * and * that * is * all!
    Laundry the first day? Wow. just wow.

    • We all do what we can do. For me, it is actually easier to just get the suitcase emptied out and toss it right into the washer. Getting it all folded and put away? Now that’s a whole other level of motivation that doesn’t show up until much later. 😉

  9. To me, reentry trauma is when you’re catching up on Monday’s blog posts on the following Sunday 😉

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