How to Eliminate the Stress of Returning from a Trip (Plus, Free First Class Flying Secrets) : 7 Things I Learned This Week

Monday Jun 20 | BY |
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lima kittens
Kittens in Lima don’t have to worry about coming home to brutal, stressful schedules…

The 7 Things I Learned This Week are all about getting back to business after being in another country for a month.

It’s – as you can imagine – not that easy.

So this week, I’ve been forced to learn a few things or two (or at least be reminded) to help me get motivated again.

Here we go…

1. Getting back to regular.

Coming back to the U.S. and Berkeley is good.

There’s no doubt about it.

When we were living in Danbury, CT full time, I used to dread coming back from a vacation.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Danbury. I grew up in that area.

The reason why is because the difference between where we went on our trip and where we were returning to was usually so different.

There was a stimulus gap that was so great it created unease for me.

What’s a stimulus gap?

It’s the chasm between what is exciting, new and interesting at the place we’ve just traveled to and what is normal, regular and somewhat boring where you’re returning to (in this case it was always Danbury.)

So for me, I would mope about going home, because it was always less exciting than where we had just been.

This time around, I think I’ve solved this problem.

Now, we’re staying in a city that is still new and uncharted for us – Berkeley.

This means that coming home isn’t a drag, it’s an opportunity to explore our new digs a little more. This makes it a totally different experience and definitely makes coming home much more exciting – and much less of an emotional drag.

Imagine coming home from a vacation and being happy to leave where you were?

This is maybe the first time (though it can’t really be classified as a vacation) this has happened to me.

It completely changes your mental and physical state around the travel.

I guess the best way to ensure this all the time is to move to the Bahamas or Bora Bora. This way, anytime you travel home, you’ll be going to paradise.

Just a thought…

2. What’s the point of the end of a trip?

About 3 weeks and 3 days into our trip, Annmarie and I both were ready to go home.

Our minds were already thinking 4 days into the future. We were packing in our heads. We were already “doing” work back in the U.S. We were planning our schedules to commence when we returned.

We were doing all these things, before our trip was wrapped up.

When we realized this, we joked about it. Why did we bother to take a trip for 4 weeks, when clearly our minds and hearts wanted 3?

Then we thought, that if it were 3 weeks, maybe we’d start virtually packing our bags on day 17 or so.

We had no idea, but it was an interesting thought.

It also was a lesson in living in the moment.

Clearly, we had already taken our plane flight back to the U.S. mentally and were not living in the “now.”

Once we discussed this, we made sure that we made our last 3 or so days as good as they could be.

So we spent the day with our Q’ero friends in Tika Tika (a neighborhood in the north of Cusco), we went out to dinner with our friend Jacke and her friend, and we made sure we spent a few hours shopping for fun things and gifts to bring home to everyone in our office.

These last days were a ton of fun because we forced ourselves to enjoy them and we did. Doing these activities, took our minds off of the impending doom of a heavy workload when we returned and helped us be calm before the storm that has engulfed us now.

3. Trip return planning…

Most of the time, when we come back from a trip, we jump back into work quickly and painfully.

I’ve remembered trips in the past where I have calls and appointments that day we get back.

This time, I made sure it was different.

I made sure that I didn’t schedule anything until Tuesday (tomorrow) to give myself a little buffer to help me transition back in a relatively stress-free manner.

It worked.

I really haven’t had a tinge of stress upon return. (Until, I looked at my schedule this week, LOL!)

If you can manage to schedule like this, then you’re in good shape.

If you can’t do this and you don’t have as much control of your job, I’d suggest to come back from any vacation on a Friday, so you can re-adjust or decompress at home for a few days before you get into the daily grind.

I know it might sound appealing to have those two last days in paradise, but all the relaxation that you’d have on those days would just be shattered when you have to work on Monday’s project for a deadline on Tuesday.

4. Always ask for a First Class Upgrade.

This actually has more to do with health than you can imagine…


Because if you’re tall like me, you actually can sleep in a first class seat and not stress out that there’s not enough room on the plane for 5 hours or more.

We never pay for First Class upgrades. It’s a ridiculous cost. Flying is expensive enough…

But what we’ve learned is this – if you have a few things in your favor, you may get lucky with a seat in Business Class at no extra cost.

Here are the things that make an upgrade more favorable to you…

1. If you have a frequent flyer card. We have about 3-5 different cards from different airlines. When we ask, we usually have this card in our hand – whether we’re really that frequent of a flyer or not.

2. Ask for your upgrade at the gate, not at the ticket counter.

At the ticket counter, they’re ready and willing to take your credit card for an upgrade.

While it’s great to ask for an exit row seat or to make sure you’re sitting next to your travel partner at the counter, it’s not great to ask for an upgrade then. We’ve learned the hard way.

Once I asked for First Class on a flight from San Francisco to New York and the woman told me it would be no problem – it would just cost an extra $1000.

I obviously declined.

3. Ask when they’re relatively busy.

I know this sounds weird, but we’ve had two occasions where we’re been upgraded because the woman at the counter just didn’t have the time to process a transaction for us to pay. In both cases, she just wrote the seat numbers on our boarding pass.

Not so bad, right?

Apparently, this is counter-intuitive, but if there’s space and they don’t have the time to put all the info in, they may be more than likely to hook you up.

One downside is that in this case, you likely won’t get a meal.

But for us, that’s an upside. We don’t eat the stuff anyway. LOL!

5. Passion fruit are perfect to travel with.

I know you may not be able to find them fresh in the U.S., but if you go anywhere where there are passion fruit, be sure to travel home with them for your travel snack.

I don’t know why I have a love affair with passion fruit, but it think it’s for more than one reason.

First off, they’re weird looking.

When you pop one open, it looks about as close to alien food as I’ll ever encounter.

The gooey seeds, the yellowish liquid and the white tentacles all make for an interesting and somewhat creepy snacking experience.

But what makes up for the Third Kind encounter is the flavor – which is the second reason I love these guys.

They’re a perfect mix of sour, sweet and crunch.

This is definitely why I love these little guys. The alien food thing is cool, but the taste is obviously more appealing.

Finally, they’re easy to travel with because of how you can eat them. All you have to do it break through their shell, pull them apart in two halves and then suck up the seeds all in one quick, tight little process.

No mess, no fuss.

The perfect travel food.

Next time you’re around them, get a bag of 5-10 to travel with, you’ll thank me for sure.

6. Next time we’ll travel with more oregano oil.

This trip, we were pretty adventurous when it came to eating different foods.

We ate at the market more than we usually have before, we tried various chichas, and we stuck to vegetarian street food.

What this means is that there is a greater chance that you’ll encounter some sort of bug that may not make your stomach so happy.

Luckily, in the beginning of the trip, we had oregano oil with us and at the first hint of stomach unrest, we would load up on this special herb.

Unfortunately, toward the end of our trip, we had run out.

This would have been awful, since we both did pick something up, if there wasn’t a pretty powerful product called “Floragat” that we found at one of the local herb shops in Cusco.

Floragat did the trick, but I’d hate for you to have to search around for something like this in an unknown city when leaving the hotel for 15 minutes or so could mean you run the risk of having an explosive incident. (Just being honest here!)

So my advice to you is bring as much oregano oil as you can fit – when you’re traveling to areas with poor water quality. I’d put it in priority over socks and underwear.

It’s just that necessary.

(Remember, I warned you… LOL!)

7. Happy Father’s Day!

I thought Father’s Day was the previous Sunday, so Annmarie and I had already called and wished our families a happy day a week early.

It was pretty funny to find out that we were off a week, but I guess it’s the thought that counts!

I’m not a father, but I can imagine how difficult it is to have children. Eventually, we’ll have them too.

So I hope, yesterday, someone took good care of you. If not, take this week and take good care of yourself… you deserve it.

Most people who even have the slightest interest in health tend to be very caring and sometimes forget to take care of who really matters the most – yourself.

Use holidays like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day to reflect inward and take some time for you.

I know, you may have forgot to do it yesterday, but today is just as good as 24 hours ago.

Why not treat yourself tonight to a massage or a special dinner?

You deserve it.

(You don’t even have to be a Dad to take time for yourself today, you know… anyone can. There’s no law against it!)

I want to know your thoughts: What do you do when you’re returning from a trip to ensure you’re not throwing yourself into the flames?

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Wendy says:

    Come home before a weekend. That’s always made transition easier.

  2. That’s curious, I would never think to ask for an upgrade to first class. I will have to try that. I am never afraid of asking for anything–the worst that can happen is that they say no, right?

    Glad you’re back home and getting into the swing of things.

  3. Tara Burner says:

    Will have to remember the first class upgrade tips when traveling abroad, I dont mind not being in first class when traveling in the states, but longer flights I’d love it!

    usually when coming back from traveling, I am thrown right into the fire…just seems to be the way it works out 🙁

  4. Desley says:

    Hi, Glad you had a great trip. Sorry to tell you but if you live in paradise you still have to work, many people visit here to relax
    and we appreciat it but for us as much as we love it, it still is work and the change of landscape is nice. Any thanks for the travel tips, maybe we will see you both here soon.
    Love from Ausralia

  5. roni says:

    i moved to Costa Rica – coming home is always a relief. Pasiflora edulis is your passionfruit vine. its pretty concentrated and sour! I thought it might make an awesome fruit leather dehydrated. I like mine mixed with water! the flower is amazingly beautiful too. (go look on my fb page if you haven’t seen them.) My vines are producing now, so if you give me a mailing address, I will send you some dried seeds. You can plant them indoors in a pot, and put outside in warm weather.

  6. Stephanie says:

    We’ll be traveling to India soon…your travel advice is helpful. Can you/someone advise on how to take the oregano oil? Do you take a dropper straight up or dilute- we have some here at home but Ive not used it yet- pretty potent stuff!

  7. Kuru says:

    I LOVE coming home and getting back to my own rhythm and all the things I love about my life. I’ve learned to allow 3 days to recover and enjoy jet lag; ie, getting up at 4 a.m., taking long naps in the afternoon, being in no time. I prolong it as much as possible and then get a massage to ground me back into the material world.

  8. Jane says:

    We just got back, too, from an adventurous trip of over 2 weeks in SW China (high altitude too, the glacier is 15,100 ft, the “ground” is about 7,500 ft). The time difference was 23hrs the opposite. The 1st wk back, I slept about 14 hrs during the day everyday … eat, laundry, then slept more. 2nd wk, forced myself to move a little bit, i.e. yoga, pilate, walk; gradually back to normal. On 11th day, I felt 100% back to normal. It WAS a great feeling! LOVE to read your “7 Things I Learned”.

  9. Annie says:

    I swear by ‘oregano oil’ and its healing properties. It is the greatest natural anti-biotic known to man. The dosage I use is half a dropperful under the tongue and then drink a glass of water. In my opinion ‘North American Herb and Spice’; has the best oregano oil and I purchase it @ Whole Foods.

    Peace on earth to all

  10. oreganol says:

    I prefer to dive straight back into work. Arriving back a day or two early seems more stressful to me.

  11. Susan says:

    Thanks for the tips-very helpful. I am going to Peru next year, so am taking careful notes. Thanks to Annie also for her tip on how much and where to get it. Glad your trip was good…

  12. Cassandra says:

    Ha, I just moved to Hawaii not long ago, and couldn’t figure out what “Lilikoi” was but noticed it was in everything here…apparently that’s what Hawaiians call passionfruit 🙂 Now I just have to find some whole passionfruits and indulge! Nom nom nom

  13. Jane says:

    I was once told by a spiritual teacher that if you do not love where you live, you are in the wrong place. Luckily, I love where I live!!

  14. Sandy says:

    I take homeopathic remedies when I travel to prevent jet lag. When there is a huge time change I take homeopathic melatonin to help with sleep patterns.

    It’s less stressful coming back from vacation if you can sleep at the right times.

  15. Sue says:

    I make sure that when I leave, I have all electrical appliances unplugged! I learned the hard way once, when I came home and found some of my appliances fried! I had not thought of unplugging lamps before that time! Maybe with today’s power strips you could save some things, but long enough ago, power strips weren’t an option!

  16. rachel says:

    Congratulations on a very interesting trip filled with wonderful happenings. Yes, “home” is always nice to get back to…
    I love being outside and going for long walks,
    also taking long naps. namaste’, rachel

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