Getting Over Post-Vacation Blues

It’s been a month since I got back from my Australia trip, and I’m still dealing with serious post-vacation blues. After three weeks of warm weather, gorgeous scenery, and being surrounded by friendly, happy locals, my transition back to reality has been a bit rough. But before I go on, let me quickly acknowledge two important things:

1) Yes, I realize that not everyone gets to go on vacations to Australia, and complaining about how hard it is to come back home after a trip like that is not going to garner a whole lot of sympathy from others. Believe me, I get it.

2) I also recognize the fact that I came home to 60 degree “winter” in San Francisco, not two feet of snow in New England. Sure, I had to stow away all of the sundresses and shorts I wore during my trip, but I also didn’t have to step off the plane and face a polar vortex either.

This post, however, is not supposed to be about me feeling sorry for myself. Rather, I hope it’s helpful for when you too get a case of the post-vacation blues. And with the extra expectations of honeymoons in particular, lots of couples have an even tougher time transitioning back to “real life” when they get back home.

So, below are the things that I recommend doing after you get back from a great trip to ward off the blues. I hope they’re helpful for you as well:

  • Try to focus on the things back home that you missed the most during your trip. For me, it’s usually thinking about how much I missed my dog, having groups of friends to go out with, and Whole Foods.
  • Recreate your favorite meals from your trip at home, or go out to eat at restaurants that serve them. I’ve been on a laksa and noodles kick since getting back from Australia, so I’ve been visiting different Asian restaurants around SF and (gasp!) even experimenting in my own kitchen.
  • Hit up World Market or BevMo to purchase your favorite international beverages and snacks. Sadly you won’t be able to find Tim Tams in the states, but you can buy these identical Arnott’s biscuits instead. Yeah, you’re welcome ;)

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Real Honeymoon: Vietnam & Sri Lanka

I’m excited to share our first real honeymoon of 2015! There are several more in the pipeline, so make sure to come back to the blog in the next few weeks to read those as well. This week’s real honeymooners Gaya and Tim recently got back from an exciting honeymoon in Vietnam and Sri Lanka where they spent time with friends and family who live there. Read all about their trip and check out the gorgeous photos below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

Our honeymoon started on Dec 15th – Dec 22nd [2014] in Vietnam, then Dec 22nd [2014] – Jan 2nd [2015] in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Elephantride

Riding elephants in Sri Lanka

Friends in Sri Lanka

Honeymooning with friends in Sri Lanka

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 3 nights in Ho Chi Minh City (stayed with friends)
  • 1 night in the Mekong Delta (at a homestay)
  • 2 nights in Hoi An (at a homestay)
  • 3 nights in Jaffna (stayed with family)
  • 2 nights in Trincomalee
  • 1 night (but recommend 2) in Kandy
  • 1 night Nuwara Eliya (recommend staying here or here)
  • 1 night (but recommend 2) in Bentota
  • 3 nights in Colombo
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Vietnamese food… yummmm

Sri Lanka seafood

Sri Lanka seafood


How long was your trip?

Our trip was approximately 3 weeks.

Hanging out with friends in Vietnamese rice paddies

Just hanging out with friends in Vietnamese rice paddies

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

Tim and I are both Sri Lankan, but he has never visited and I haven’t been since I left, which was close to 25 years ago. We knew that Sri Lanka would always be our honeymoon destination.  Vietnam was nice as well. We have some friends that live there and we thought this would be a good opportunity to go and visit them.

Traveling around Sri Lanka with friends

On the road in Sri Lanka


The best part about our honeymoon was…

This is such a hard question to answer; there were sssoooo many great parts of our honeymoon. Vietnam is such a magical country, rich with culture and a heighten sense of movement. Sri Lanka is just absolutely beautiful, only 25,332 sq miles in total area, and every area, every mini city is so different from the last. We also were fortunate enough to travel with some friends for portions of our trip. But if I had to pick just one part, it would have been the history that I was able to discover in Sri Lanka.

Sigaria

Sigaria

Sri Lanka dancers

Sri Lanka dancers

Sri Lanka tea estates

Sri Lanka tea estates

Hot springs in Sri Lanka

Hot springs in Sri Lanka

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Christmas in Byron Bay

When I told my Aussie friend Emily that we were coming to Australia for a few weeks, she immediately said we’d have to visit Byron Bay. (She said that anything further north at the end of December would be too hot and humid, so we appreciated her rec!) A quick flight from Sydney, Byron Bay is a very popular holiday destination for surfers, yogis, backpackers, and new-age hippies who want to pretend that it’s still the 1960s. It’s also just an overall wonderful place for families and couples as well. The area has actually modernized a lot since my last visit in 2005, but the gorgeous scenery and laid-back vibe are still there.

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Main Beach

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Lots of pretty street art in Byron Bay

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Do you want to build a sandman?

To get to Byron Bay from Sydney, you can either drive up the coast for nine hours, or you can do what we did, which was a one hour flight into Ballina Airport, then the $16 Xcede shuttle bus into Byron. (The alternative is hiring a $95 taxi at the Ballina Airport for the 30 minute drive to Byron, or just renting your own car.)

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Happy as a kid on Christmas morning!

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Walk from Watego to The Pass

Byron Bay gets packed over the Christmas holidays, so we booked our hotel months in advance. We absolutely loved our stay at Aaron’s at Byron (can you guess who picked the hotel?). Its sister property (Aabi’s at Byron) is supposedly fabulous, too. Just a short walk from the center of town, Aaron’s had everything we needed: modern and spacious rooms, nice pool and spa, and even a communal kitchen and BBQ… that we never used. But we liked knowing that we could’ve cooked if we had wanted to!

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The beautiful bay

Hello, wallaby!

Hello, wallaby!

We spent our four relaxing days in Byron visiting the various beaches, hiking up to the lighthouse, and trying the local restaurants. In the evenings we met friends from Sydney at the Beach Hotel (“the Beachie”) for drinks in the beer garden.

At the top of Cape Byron

At the top of Cape Byron

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Eastern most point of Australia’s mainland

Cape Byron lighthouse

Cape Byron lighthouse

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Overnight Trip to Jervis Bay

When planning out the final days of our Australia itinerary, we were deciding between a few different options: an overnight trip to the Blue Mountains, wine tasting in Hunter Valley, or spending a night near Avalon and exploring Sydney’s northern beaches. They all seemed fine, but I thought we could find something else that was even more exciting.

Luckily, I somehow came across this blog post about Hyams Beach and immediately thought to myself, “Yes! I want to go to there!” I showed the gorgeous beach pics to Aaron, and he was on board right away as well. Jervis Bay was the perfect destination for our quick getaway from Sydney.

Biggest dilemma in Jervis Bay: which beach is the best?

Jervis Bay, where your biggest worry will be choosing a favorite beach

Since we got a bit of a late start on planning and it was right before Christmas, most of the accommodation in the area was already booked up. Had it been available we probably would have stayed at The Huskisson, but we settled for an Airbnb room in Sanctuary Point that worked out just fine.

Our Airbnb host told us to park there, I swear!

Our Airbnb host told us to park there, I swear!

The towns in the area are a bit spread out, so we were glad that we hired our own rental car in Sydney* rather than taking a shuttle from the airport. Without traffic, the drive between the Sydney airport and Jervis Bay should take about 2 1/2 hours, but we made stops in Gerringong and Berry along the way.

Quick stop in Gerringong

Quick stop in Gerringong

Jervis Bay is famous for dolphin and whale tours, beautiful camping sites, and sprawling national parks. Both nature-lovers and beach bums alike love it there, and for good reason. I actually did a day trip to Jervis Bay back in 2005 as well, but we had dreary weather and the only thing I remember about it was collecting shells on a pretty but gloomy beach. We may have done a dolphin boat tour as well, the memories are very blurry. Little did I know, Jervis Bay is home to some of the most stunning beaches I’ve ever seen anywhere. What a difference good weather makes!

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Deep thoughts in Jervis Bay

We only spent one night in Jervis Bay, but we made the most of our time there and attempted to visit as many beaches as possible. One of the best ways to accomplish that is by doing the beautiful White Sands Walk. Although it was impossible to choose a favorite, our top five beaches in Jervis Bay were:

  1. Hyams Beach
  2. Hole in the Wall
  3. Cave Beach
  4. Greenfield Beach
  5. Blenheim Beach
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Hole in the Wall

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Hole in the Wall

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Blenheim Beach

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“Hi, Mom!” at Hyams Beach

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Cave Beach

Selfie at Greenfield Beach

Selfie at Greenfield Beach

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