It’s Tuesday morning. Back at my desk after an epic 11 hour flight back, an overwhelming sadness grips me. Listen to the audio if you prefer.
After 13 days of discovery, magic, nature, and sun in Turkey, it’s hard to re-integrate back to work.
I was actually really irritated with Istanbul the first two days. Previous visitors called it ‘magical’ and ‘mystical.’ I found it dirty, crowded, hot, and very commercial. If I saw one more KFC or Popeye’s Chicken, I was going to scream. Sitting in taxi’s, the traffic rivaled LA, but on streets dating back to the 13th century and not designed for the load.
Where was the magic?
It came the last night.
We had no dinner reservations at Michelin star restaurants. No art historians leading us on a historic tour of a mosque. Matt and I just wandered the city until the sun set. It was Sunday, and all of Istanbul was out, walking on foot. Modern women in hijabs, Converse sneakers, and jeans, walking with purpose. Women in full black abayas in 90 degrees walking slowly. Understandably so.
By nightfall, we were crossing the Galata Koprusu bridge. I was eager to get back to the hotel, the weight of an 11 hour flight awaiting. Fishermen bent their long rubbery poles over the sides of the bridge, waiting for a nibble. Some set up makeshift tables for conversation and cigarettes. The silver flecks of fish shined in gallon water bottles sawed in half.
Google maps turns into my north star when traveling. I was mired in directions back to our hotel in the Old City. I looked up from my phone, searching for Matt, who was busy photographing the fishermen. And I gasped.
The entire city had lit up like the inside of a glittering jewel box. Like the ones I had as a kid, with the ballerina who turned to twinkling music. The six minarets of the Blue Mosque, floodlit at night, held its own against the Hagia Sophia on the other side of the square. Both stood high on the hill overlooking the Bosphorus Strait and Golden Horn.
As the driver brought us to the airport the next day, I was really emotional. I didn’t expect Turkey to impact me so deeply.
If you are seeking ways to keep pieces of vacation in your routine once back, here are a few things I do:
1. Write Down Realizations
I often come back from vacation with a renewed sense of what is actually important. I WRITE IT DOWN. For example, I came back knowing I needed to better manage reading daily. Out to sea, my mind was like a sponge, soaking up stories of 7 figure founders. Rather than watch TV, I wrote down that I will reserve one hour each night to read. And be kind to myself. Implement one new idea each week. Not all at once.
2. Use 5 Senses to Connect to Being Present
My brain made so many new connections while I quietly paddle boarded in the Mediterranean. New ideas bubbled to the surface while I stared at fish for hours. I wasn’t making decisions, code-switching, being on sales calls like the typical work day. I can’t be on a yacht forever, but each night, as I journal, I record
- What I smelled.
- What I tasted
- What I heard
- What I saw
- What I did
It forces me to be present to the things I find in my own hometown.
3. Show Yourself Some Grace.
Normally, I would bulldoze back into my to-do list. I was so great at giving myself grace while away. Not being perfect. Not doing my hair. Not wearing a speck of makeup. Why does that grace evaporate at home? So, today, I decided to commit to showing myself some grace. I did a brain dump of all my responsibilities on a 11×12 sketch pad as I usually do. I scheduled all the self care first (workouts and groceries) and prioritized 3 work things that will get done today. For the remaining emails, I responded with a cut and paste: “I received your email and I have just returned from vacation, I will follow up as soon as possible, you can expect to hear from you on this matter in 2 to 3 days.”
Now on to this week’s newsletter:
One leadership tip:
One public speaking tip:
Don’t know how to promote yourself? Maybe you aren’t comfortable with it?
One adventure tip
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