The only problem with rafting is that every great river trip must come to an end. When you return to regular life, you immediately realize that punching the clock on Monday morning feels nothing like punching through rapids, and you can’t help but daydream about those glorious days on the river again. It happens to everyone, but some handle the adjustment better than others. Those folks are the seasoned pros who know how to grieve and move on. So instead of turning into a soggy sneaker, here are a few tricks to ease the transition and avoid the post-river trip blues.
It sounds so grandiose, but it doesn’t need to be. All you need to do is go out for a beer or pizza, or whatever with your group on the last night of your trip. It doesn’t matter if you’re fed up with the way Jim chews his food, or if Sally’s laugh sounds to you like she’s gargling a handful of lugnuts, now’s the time to buck up and forget about those close-quartered annoyances and go out for a final meal. Nothing gives the trip a better sense of closure. This is the time to recap some highlights, hand out superlative titles to the Best Storyteller, the Best Swim, etc. When done properly, this closing meal recaps the trip, provides a few good laughs, and makes everyone hungry for more.
Cry and Eat Ice Cream
Let’s face it, the high from a river trip gets a splash of cold water on that first Monday back to work, so do yourself the favor and extend your trip through Monday so that your first day back is on a Tuesday. This means you start on a short work week! Even still, that first one back is rough. Take it easy on yourself. Go directly home after work, pull the blinds, put on a movie, and dig into a pint of Chunky Monkey. Don’t be surprised if tears start streaming down your cheeks as you cheer Meryl on as she runs The Gauntlet in The River Wild. Tears are not essential, but they help. This is your private, little, special time so it can’t hurt to let it all out.
Unpack Your Bag
You didn’t unpack yet? Seriously, that should be first, but we’ve all been there before. Some combination of laziness and longing can result in your personal bag (with a sandy pair of Chacos, Chums and half-empty bottle of sunscreen) sitting in the corner of your bedroom until the snow starts falling. It happens, but remember, under no circumstances will leaving your bag packed actually motivate you to go on another trip soon. It actually makes it harder to get out of bed in the morning for work. When your first sight of the day is a reminder of the trip you’re twice as likely to hit snooze and drift off into river dreamland. Do yourself the favor and unpack your bag ASAP.
Share Your Trip With the World
Now that you have overcome your grief, you’ll have the strength to rummage through your digital memories without falling headlong into a nostalgic stupor that forces you to call in sick. Choose a few of your absolute best shots, the ones with smiling faces, ridiculously beautiful scenery, and post them to Facebook, Instagram, or wherever the bulk of your friends will see them. The goal here is not only to make your other friends insanely jealous, but to solidify the bond with your boat mates. Get them to engage with the post by cracking an inside joke or committing one of their river quotes to posterity in a thoughtful, well-crafted comment to jump start the dialogue. Remember, sharing is caring, so show your crew some love.
Plan Another Trip
Don’t sit back on your haunches and bask in the glory of your past trip for too long. If the season is on, and the water is flowing, there’s no time like the present to round up your crew and plan another trip soon. We’re blessed with an abundant variety of rivers to explore. Some may be local rivers that you’ve always overlooked, some might be an excuse to visit a new country, and others are the bucket list trips of your dreams. Whatever the case may be, there are way more rivers out there than you have time to float, so don’t waste a second – start planning your next trip pronto.