It’s OK to Feel Like Crap on Vacation

By Kimberly Kosta

Feeling bleh can happen anytime, anywhere. It’s part of the human experience. IF ONLY your golems and wraiths of sadness and stress exceeded the baggage limit so you could leave them behind while travelling! But you are who you are and your problems are your problems, so while you’re toasting your arrival in Faraway, expect those phantoms to be right there beside you, whispering in your ear….This marriage isn’t working; I’m scared I’ll be an untalented loser forever; Why doesn’t my cat like me…?

I’ve been miserable in countless places. But did it make the vacations a waste of time? Mais, non! Good times were still had, stories were still collected, and perspective was sometimes gained. Besides, you can be miserable at home doing what you always do, or you can go somewhere new and at least have something to take away from it.

Once on Jeju Island (South Korea) I was swimming in the ocean and although I was there with my ex I never felt so alone. We had been together forever at that point (about 13 years) and yet when I looked at him on the beach he seemed no different than any of the other strangers gathered there. This isn’t normal, is it? I mean, people talk about how marriages change, but…Is it supposed to be like this? Our relationship was not defined by compliments, or acts of service, or any of the 5 Love Languages for that matter. I was rarely told I was loved (unsolicited), though I must have said it a thousand times to him that he was. It was defined by a need for security and history that would be hard to walk away from.

Six months later we were in Florence sitting in one of those Italian restaurants with the red and white checkered tablecloths still recovering from me having my stuff stolen and he looks at me and says (for the first time…ever?) “I’m so in love with you.”

That’s when I knew it was over.

It was the STRANGEST sensation I’ve ever experienced, because the revelation was immediately blanketed by my insecurities like a white blood cell attacking a Staph bacterium. True, if asked, he would have told me he loved me back, but he’d never said “in love.” Looking back on it I knew he was just saying he was proud of me for dealing with the theft really well, but hearing those words for the first time and realizing it wasn’t what he meant or even true…When I didn’t feel like one is supposed to feel when told such a beautiful thing…It wasn’t until eight months later we finally confronted the fact that we were no longer a good fit. But I remember swimming on that beach and enjoying that meal in Italy, and I have positive feelings about those memories now. The negative feelings are no longer part of the equation when I evaluate the worth of those times spent together travelling. When I think about that beach the first thing my mind picks out is the beautiful aqua shoreline and the way the water felt like silk as I tread in it – not the loneliness. I remember the delicious lasagna and wine at the restaurant in Italy and how it felt so good to get out of the bitter winter. The theft was EPIC, but it doesn’t bother me anymore. I finally had my: Wow, I’m in ITALY! moment there.I know at the time the wraiths were hovering…but I no longer feel their presence when I go back in time to reminisce.

As I write this I look forward to many new adventures, hopefully spent under better circumstances, however I also know that if something IS on my mind (because, you know…life) it’ll still be worth the trouble to get out into the big, wide, world. I still haven’t had the chance to travel with my new hubby yet (we’ve been together nearly 5 years now), but I know that when I do that feeling of loneliness won’t be there. He just makes life so fun and breezy.

(The cat and I might still have issues, though).

*I lied. There is no cat. The cat is figurative. But if I HAD a cat I’m sure it would be passive-aggressive and try to plant seeds of doubt into my subconscious, make me question my self-esteem and basic sense of reality by gaslighting me at every turn, pretending it wasn’t trying to trip me, tell me lies as it purrs one minute before swatting me the next, evaporating the last vestiges of my confidence and just what do I have to do to please, you, Figurative Cat?!!

It’s OK to Feel Like Crap on Vacation

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