The Hangover after the Hangover: Tips for Dealing with Post-Vacation Depression
Recently my best friend and I took a trip to Las Vegas for a couple of days to reset and get away from the grind (this by no way coincided with both of us getting our tax returns. Really). After a few weeks of planning, we decided that going by car was the best option. Unfortunately, the weekend that had we planned out was bush-wacked with the worst weather possible at the last minute. As an alternative route to driving blindly up the icy mountains in the dark, we chose to drive south through the southern states and go the (very) long way around the Mountains of Death.
But those states also were getting dumped with the most snow they had seen in years. I set a new speed record for reaching the New Mexico border, and as we posed for selfies in front of the “Welcome to the Land of Enchantment” sign, we were immediately chased by brown bears back to the car. After that terrifying point, the weather took an immediate turn for the worse and I spent several hours driving through a thick fog that only gave me twenty feet of visibility. This was just a precursor to an icy blizzard that had snarled up the whole state of Arizona. The weather decided to finally let up 40 miles away from our destination. By the time we rolled onto Las Vegas Boulevard, I had been driving non-stop through shitty conditions for twenty hours. We then stood in the check-in line at our hotel for a catatonic forty-five minute wait and at that point I started to wonder if I was in for the Typical Vegas Vacation which consists of burning through my per diem before 9am, buying a box of Pop Tarts with my last six bucks and proceeding to sulk around my hotel room watching C.S.I. NY re-runs until my debit card cleared the next day to repeat the same depressing process.
But that didn’t happen this time.
After taking a quick (cold) shower, Pat harassed me into going out to the adjoining casino to gamble for a few hours. Aside from an embarrassing moment when I was taking upwards pictures of statues inside with a beer in my hand, thus leading to a beer shower (I was crazy delirious), we had an impressive run of luck with everything we tried our hands at. We both won several rounds of roulette and I hit a slot machine for an impressive sum, and we retired to bed around 11 pm, both of us up several hundred each.
We woke up the next day early which was a surprise to both of us. As we walked to get some breakfast, I put a five bucks in a slot machine and won sixty bucks for breakfast. As a word of precaution, avoid eating at Nathan’s Famous at any time. They assured me they were out of English muffins, so I ordered a couple bacon biscuits instead and they were served to me on English muffins. We then proceeded to shop around at both outlet malls on both ends of the strip, get a tour of a Volkswagen restoration shop, eat at In N’ Out several times, and see that crappy pawn shop that they film Pawn Stars at. We got a pretty decent tour of the town and everyone was really cool. Then we got to the Hard Rock and began our quest to imbibe to the extreme. We figured we should use one day to get crazy drunk and one day to sober up was the best course of action so we took it upon ourselves to drink nonstop from that point on.
We drank, we won, we drank more, and we won more. At one point we were both walking around with handfuls of hundreds stuffed in our pockets, sucking down 30 dollar cigars and stopping and eating at the poshest restaurants the strip had to offer.
We had become ballers. We were legendary. We were so drunk we were convinced that we were Simon and Garfunkel. We were at the top of the world!
At least until we deemed ourselves likely to black out in the gutter at 4am, and we stumbled back precariously (and guided by pure luck and really cool guys from Utah) back to our hotel room where we then proceeded to do lots of personal redecorating with our stomach lining. When we woke up at noon the next morning it appeared that a rogue group of elementary kids had exploded a piñata full of vomit all over our domicile as we slept.
We did not do so well at gambling the last day, the whole time feeling like our brains had been mashed and microwaved to the point of becoming ramen. I made lots of stupid mistakes, including a $400 dollar pull on a slot machine because I wasn’t paying enough attention to notice the last guy who played that machine set it up to play $25 lines. I pulled out some money, and after that, some more until my bank told me to GTFO and I was down to my last sixty bucks. We then took my last bit of available cash and walked to the Rio so I could ride the building-to-building zip line. That building is far more massive in real life, and being hung over and with an uneasy gut full of shellfish sandwich, decided that I couldn’t go through with it after all. So I put that sixty dollars in a weird Captain Nemo slot machine and instantly shot up to 450 bucks. With these winnings, we finished off the evening with a big buffet dinner and a Michael Jackson ONE Cirque Du Soleil show and it was as equally as magical as the big fireworks show at DisneyLand when it closes at night. We headed out the next morning at 4am to a much easier drive full of fantastic weather.
This trip had it all. Danger, pissed-off bears, winning, balling, stupid drunken adventures, despair, tension, and finally, an amazing and unforgettable resolution. It was everything we had hoped for and it paid out in spades.
So getting back to reality was a tough order, much like going back to work the weekend after packing the Gothic theater as a rock star. I like to refer to this as the “Joe Vs. The Volcano Syndrome” where reality shows up to kick you in the square in the dick and remind you that you are no Hannah Montana. I had a really hard time coming back to this reality after spending several days being the King of Everything, so I thought I would list a few tips I used to rehabilitate myself back into being another cog the system.
*If your trip involved lots of creative planning and plotting along the way (road trips are especially full of this), start following up on those plans and ideas. I started taking the first baby steps to getting our podcast started and started writing a couple of scripts for some of our YouTube video ideas. It’s a way to keep a part of that trip alive long past the point you finally get home to sleep off the damage done to your mind and body from driving 1,900 miles in three days.
*Make a shadow box or scrapbook of your trip. I made a neat little shrine of my trip using our barf-covered bottle of Jameson, some roulette chips and the program from the show we got to see. It looks pretty cool next to all those plastic football margarita jugs from previous trips to Mermaid’s.
* Try and figure out the stuff you missed out on and use that as a guideline for planning the next trip. I missed the zip line this time but it’s not going to escape me the next time I go (shellfish sandwich be damned).
*Take the edge off those blues by surrounding yourself with your family and those who love you. Positive energy is a strong combatant of all things and feelings negative.
*Make a quick weekend trip up to Blackhawk to quell your gambling desires. It’s not quite the same thing as the capitol city, but as long as you can get past the smaller bet amounts, the lack of dancing girls by the tables and not getting black lung it works pretty good as a band aid.
*Get on your motorcycle (or bicycle or Rascal or whatever) and go for a ride. That’s the reason you have it!
*Summer is going to be here soon, filling our lives with awesome summer activities. In about a month we can go kayaking again and wear tank tops all day long.
*Know and accept that no matter what, you are still alive, kicking and fighting. Others aren’t nearly as lucky.