Vacation Depression? Be a Tourist in Your Own City!

 I do not consider myself a millennial. I have friends that are millennials and we are very different in terms of personality, upbringing and teenage experiences. Many of the cultural nuances that they cherish I despise and we are only separated in age by a few years. I still remember card catalogs to find library books and being forced outside with Tang and Spam sandwiches in a cooler for lunch. I remember when the internet was "invented" and how freeing life was before social media and cell phones. Despite all of this I still enjoy my fair dose of social media. I have dabbled amongst the plethora of social media websites but stick to what I know, which according to my students "is for old people". 

While doing my once (or twice) a day social media stroll to see what everyone is up to I have to remind myself that most try to present the best version of themselves on social media. Me? I'm a mess. I willingly share our parenting fails, doughnut obsessions, and inability to run a quarter of a mile (gimme a break, I just had a baby!).  I know enough is enough with social media when all the vacation pictures start to surface and I feel depressed. That's when I have to take a break.  

We knew that years with small children in daycare would be like this, a strict budget with little wiggle room and few if any vacations. We waited to have children and traveled as much as possible, enjoying a trip out west to Yellowstone National Park, a drive through New England in search of moose, a visit to Quebec City and some educational sponsored trips to Denmark and China. We are well traveled and blessed, but yet I long for taking my children on equally exciting adventures. Being brutally honest, I long for a quiet day alone on the beach followed by a massage and an interrupted meal. 

I can not wait to take my children out west to explore Yellowstone, the magic of Walt Disney, the incredible history of Philadelphia, the museums in D.C. and exploring small towns in between. Truth is my kids do not need that yet and my social media induced vacation depression is only taking up my time when I could be out doing things in our town with our children. After all, our town is new to them and full of fun things to do!

Local walking trail. My husband and son are ahead of us riding his tricycle. 

Last weekend we explored our city from a different view. We acted like tourists and sat in our local coffee shop reading the newspaper and letting the toddler wave at customers in the drive thru. We walked to the local bookstore and sat in the children's section reading books to our little ones and purchased a few to support local (or local will disappear!). We found a park we never visited and I pushed the infant while my husband followed the toddler in his tricycle. We made plans to visit a local candy shop but got distracted by a fantastic nonprofit that gives bikes to children and with a small donation we were able to secure a "real" bike for our son for Christmas. We had no idea this great work was being done in our community! 

Big brother wanted to hold his baby sister at the coffee shop.

If you too are finding yourself in a vacation depression either because of financial obligations or maybe because you just got back from vacation and are in that post vacation funk then get out and explore your town. Do something different and maybe spread some positivity!
Some tips to get you started: 

1). Research your town online, as if you were a tourist, for ideas. 
2). Check out your local parks and recreation website for any events or low-cost activities.
3). Visit your local public library, you may be surprised by how much there is to do there. 
4). Take a board game to your local coffee shop (if they approve) and enjoy a nice beverage.
5). Get some sidewalk chalk from the dollar store and spread positive messages and pictures on sidewalks. 
6). Buy some postcards and send them to relatives. Do kids even know how to write postcards anymore? 
Happy exploring! 


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