Vacation Deficit Disorder

It has been 464 days since our last vacation. For anyone who doesn’t want to do the math, that’s January 1, 2017, when we returned to Dushanbe after three weeks in New Zealand. That’s a long time for someone who loves to travel.

I can feel the wanderlust creeping into the core of my being. It’s making me tired, despondent, anxious, and nostalgic for days when even going grocery shopping was a massive (and frustrating) adventure.

I’m currently suffering from Vacation Deficit Disorder.


Now before you start rolling your eyes and calling me things like “entitled millennial,” allow me to explain what I actually mean. Yes, I am sad that it’s been so long since I’ve jumped on an airplane bound for new country with only my passport, a single suitcase, and husband in tow, but that’s only part of the issue. And yes, I know we did several small trips between then and now, including going home for Christmas, but I wouldn’t call any of that a true vacation. For me, vacation is half destination, half state of mind.

I have an extremely hard time relaxing. It’s just not a natural state for me. There’s always something I feel like I could be doing. Like laundry, or vacuuming, or cooking, or reading, or playing with the dogs, or vacuuming again because we have three black dogs and it’s spring so they are all shedding and dear god didn’t I just vacuum an hour ago how do you still have hair on your bodies?!

Vacationing breaks that cycle in my head.

When I’m out of my natural habitat most of the internal noise goes away and I suddenly find the ability to be present in the moment. And I don’t mean I sit on a beach for a week staring at the ocean slamming island cocktails until the sun goes down. I’m still not an idle being, but adventuring and exploring is a different kind of energy than the anxiety of “I should be doing this; I should be doing that.” The vacation motion is a choice, not a feeling of obligation.

Vacationing also allows me to reconnect with Sean. While we were constantly physically together in Dushanbe, we were extremely far apart emotionally. There was always something we were worrying about, and in the name of protecting the other from our troubles we subconsciously put up walls. Our trip to New Zealand was so therapeutic because it forced us to put aside all the work troubles and simply be with each other. Since returning to Maryland we lead separate work lives so there’s a lot more balance to our relationship again, but I still wish we could find time to escape and just be together for a little while.

Thankfully, there is hope for a cure from my lack of vacation blues. We are hoping to find a few days in June to sneak away – right before we pack up our house and leave for our next assignment this summer. I’ve been calling it the “Georgia-moon” trip.

Now for the hardest decision with any vacation: where do we want to go?

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