By: Burt Constable, Columnist Chicago Daily Herald
Everything Outer Banks is pleased to introduce Mr. Burt Constable to our readers today. Mr. Constable is a columnist for the Chicago Daily Herald, and he recently returned to Chicago after an Outer Banks Vacation. He writes about what we believe all Outer Banks vacationers deal with – vacation hangover! Please check out all of Mr. Constable’s columns at http://www.dailyherald.com/search/?tag=335
Thanks Burt for helping us cope with the post vacation blues!
My morning commutes from the ocean to the beach during my family’s vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina offer a different type of stress.
“Big wave! Big wave!” warn the excited shouts from Will, our 10-year-old son, and his younger cousin, Bryce, as our families bob together on foam boogie boards in the Atlantic Ocean.
Catch a big wave just right, and we are rewarded with the exhilarating rush of having the foamy, white brine lift us out of the sea, carry us to shore and slide us gently onto the sandy beach. Be off just slightly in our calculations, and the wave crashes down upon us, knocks the hats from our heads and fills our sinus cavities with salt water as we sputter to the surface.
Sort of like trying to merge into suburban traffic during rush hour.
Driving Wednesday’s commute on the Northwest Tollway among a pack of SUVs, I am drowning in a boredom so deep that it numbs my fear of knowing that a driver texting on his phone could swerve into my lane in the next instant and send me caroming to a fiery death. But my heart is pounding as my son Ross, 13, and I paddle our kayak into a school of silvery fish that flop into the air around us. Are they jumping out of the water to get away from a shark that might eat us instead? A lifeguard told us the rays we saw leaping out of the sea were just engaging in a mating ritual and wouldn’t hurt us, but what if one happens to land on our kayak? I panic, but I’m so much more relaxed than after any routine near-fender-bender.
At home, I’m constantly searching the depths of daily life for column ideas, and so happy when I find one. On vacation, I relax as I watch our 13-year-old son Ben, with an assist from his younger cousin, Kleé, dive into the waves in search of treasure and emerge beaming with a trove of three lost sunglasses, a snorkel mask and some interesting shells. Even more rewarding is our discovery that five boys with string, raw chicken necks and a net can catch 14 blue crabs for dinner.
Vacations are so soothing and relaxing that you don’t realize how tired you are (I almost forget we spent a day exploring Gettysburg) until you get home. Driving a minivan packed to the gills with luggage and kids, I log 2,187 miles on our vacation. With Indiana’s generous 70-mph speed limit and the white-knuckle slog through Virginia (state motto should be “Virginia is for Tailgaters”), I average 50 mph. That means I spent more hours driving on vacation than I spend working during a normal week. I need time to make the transition from vacation to the real world. I need a RecuperCation.
“I need a vacation from my vacation,” says Audrey Limor, vice president of the family-run My Travel Agent service in Naperville, repeating a line she’s heard countless times. “Most people who go on vacation are looking to max out their vacation.”
As an impetuous 23-year-old, I once picked up two speeding tickets during a 10-hour drive in a quest to return from a vacation not one minute before I started my 3 p.m.-to-midnight shift.
Men, especially young men, tend to do that.
“Women say, ‘I want to come home early Saturday so I can do laundry on Sunday,'” Limor says, adding that stereotypes are hard to prove in the travel industry, where everyone has different needs, desires and habits.
One truth that does stand up, however, is that people seem less tired getting to their destination than they do after the trip home.
“I think it’s the anticipation, the excitement, the energy,” Limor says.
Or maybe it’s simply that on the day I left for vacation, my Chicago Cubs were in first place, and when I returned they were six games back of the St. Louis Cardinals. I’ll bet Cubs manager Lou Piniella could use a vacation.