I have just returned from vacation — but not fully.

My brain lacks focus, so I sit at my desk accomplishing the bare essentials. The greeting on my office voice mail continues to tell callers that I will return on July 16. It is, as I write this, July 18. (Let me pause here to fix that.) I’ve been biking around the lake when I should be on the bus, heading downtown.

My whole being seems to be stuck on the warm rocks of Madeline Island’s Big Bay State Park, ready to plunge into Lake Superior when the heat threatens to overwhelm me.

Though the particulars may differ, this problem is not unique to me. Many have complained of the same issue.

As my synapses slowly re-engage, I’ve been pondering how to re-enter with more gusto. I usually succeed in doing so, and I have a few ideas.

Take an extra day for transition. Are there still dirty clothes in my closet, with beach sand tucked in their pockets? Yes, there are. I definitely feel more grounded and prepared for the workweek when my household is in order. My family often returns from vacation on a Saturday, leaving Sunday for grocery shopping and other errands that help us ease back into real life. This year we pulled into the garage late on a Sunday afternoon, and I feel the difference.

Make sure your vacation is long enough. Many of our summer vacations have lasted a luxurious two weeks. This year, we had just over a week to bask in the lake life. I suppose the relative brevity of this vacation has fed my malaise, because when vacations are good and long, I often return to the office full of new ideas and eager to implement them.

It also helps if you like your job. I can check that box. Even if you lack total enthusiasm, arrange your workflow so that a fun tasks awaits. For me, that means enjoying other people’s trips. I am about to look at potential Viewfinders photos, vacation photos sent from readers. I just hope none are of Lake Superior, or I will begin daydreaming again.


Send your questions or tips to Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com, and follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.