How to Ease Back Into Life After a Multi-day River Trip
It never fails. After several days on the river, I see guest’s hearts open, wrinkles relax, smiles widen. I see their eyes twinkle with curiosity and excitement as they experience the thrill of whitewater. I see them push themselves in ways they didn’t know they could and learn new things about themselves. This is the elusive “river magic.”
But retaining a piece of that magic once you head home can be a struggle. After spending several days off the grid and away from your daily stresses and distractions, it can be all too easy to hit the takeout and start thinking about all the emails that have piled up, the messages that need to be returned and all the other to-dos that are waiting for you back in the real world.
It’s no different for guides. Our thoughts are immediately dominated by the giant list of gear that needs to get washed, the long drive back to the warehouse, and checking in with our loved ones.
So here’s how I’ve learned to find some balance in the hectic post-trip whirlwind and hang on to some of positive effects of being on the river just a little longer…
1) Be gentle with yourself. Try to take it easy as you enter back into the modern world. The onslaught of social media, missed calls and texts, and breaking news alerts can be intense. When you turn your phone back on, put it on silent so you don’t get overwhelmed by messages and reminders. Give yourself a few hours, or even until when you get home, before you go back and start to filter through and respond to any missed communications.
2) Send yourself a postcard before you head home. Write about a revelation you might have had, or something you don’t want to forget about your experience. With modern day travel, you will most likely get home before the card does. A few days later the postcard will arrive. When you read it, it will transport you back to the trip and bring back some fond memories. Return to the card anytime you need to be whisked back to the river.
3) Take some time to be silent. Sometimes it takes a few days after a river trip to digest the power of your experience. When you get home, find a place to be still and relive the favorite moments of the trip in your mind. This can help instill memories and remind us why it’s so important to spend time in wild places. Alternatively, sitting down with a good friend and sharing about the trip can create a similar effect.
The point is that our experiences on the river and in nature afford us such special insights. If we take the time to listen to these lessons, then we might be able to transfer the joys we experience in the wilderness to our every day lives.
Photos: Josh Miller