Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Smart Way to Conquer Your Vacation Letdown!

Do you have the urge to tell all your friends in detail about your wonderful vacation? Well you are not alone. Why do we do that?  I don't think it is because your friends are REALLY interested in that museum you visited...I think it is because we want avoid letting the adventure go. The letdown that follows a vacation of a lifetime can be huge. There are BETTER ways to fight that feeling than chasing our friends away.  How? This is what we do.

Isn't is wonderful that food can fix just about anything.  The sensory pleasure we get from great food becomes a memory that should not go away No matter where we travel we manage to come home with a new taste for the food of the country we visit.  On our recent trip to Vietnam we experiences the tastes of that country. Wonderful Pho (pronounced: faw) and fish curry dishes had flavors that made me swoon. Both of these dishes are ones that my friends at home would probably enjoy. This is what I do:
  • Bring the recipe home with you.  It never hurts to ask the restaurant or resort you are eating at for that favorite recipe.  On this trip I asked the resort for their fish curry dish recipe.  A couple of days later the recipe translated into English appeared in my room.  
  • Bring regional spices/condiments home as gifts to friends and use yourself.  We have always purchased spices.  In Spain the black pepper comes in large bags that you can purchase in street markets.  Saffron used in Paella can be found in grocery stores at a very reasonable price.  In Vietnam we bought the mixture of salt, pepper, garlic, etc. in jars.  This mixture appears on every dinner table.  We also bought star anise, black pepper.  We would have gotten the fish sauce but it appears that if it breaks in your luggage it will stink up the whole airplane up!  :)

  • Eh Ru (two-stringed Chinese fiddle, violin) more info
  • Recreate the food at home. This is the part that brings back so many memories. Last night I made a Pho with chicken for my husband and I. I will make this dish for friends in the near future. I prepared the fish curry a couple of weeks ago. We both smiled as the memories came flooding back. After visiting Thailand we learned to make Pad Thai.
I always try to make my way to a store or even knock off market to buy regional music.  I have cd's of Spanish guitar by the Pepe Romero, Thai music and the beautiful Chinese Er Hu songs.  I even found a Er Hu at the antique market and brought it home.  When I play the music I relive my vacation over and over.

I usually do not read travel books before I visit a country. I will read Lonely Planet as the adventure presents itself. My husband loves to read the travel stuff online and I let him feed it to me. I am more about the people from a country.  I love learning the culture but I am a bit lazy I think. If I am aware of some fiction I will read those before I go. However, when I get home I will read books about the country; fiction, documentary, travel. I relive that vacation while reading the words. It helps me get past the letdown.

When we returned from Spain I read Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain by Chris Stewart.  Stewart is a former British rock star turned expat living in the Spanish countryside. I loved the book because it helped me understand what I had seen and made me laugh. I will download Up Country: A Novel by Nelson DeMille on my Kindle very soon.  I am told that DeMille used his personal experiences in Vietnam when writing the book. It has been recommended to me by several people. I want to watch Good Morning Vietnam again too.

Back Home
Getting over that vacation letdown can be hard.  Fatigue, jetlag and emotional disconnect are going to happen.  But there is no reason why the experience has to die the minute we step off the plane.  Bring the vacation home with you to experience over and over.  

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