I finally got home yesterday from an 20 day trip to Spain and France. There is so much to write about and tell you about and show you that I don’t even know where to start (actually I do but that is what it feels like in my head right now – chaos). I was wide awake at 4:30 am. It is 5 am and I went to bed at 8 pm. My internal clock is still set to Paris time and I thought I would take full advantage and get some work done. Why bother staying in bed.
It is quiet in my house at this hour. Today is a work and school day but there is no need for my family to be up at this hour. It has given me some time to make a cup of coffee and have a walk around the house. It is these moments of peacefulness that you take for granted when you are travelling and surrounded by people 24/7.
When wonder around downstairs, I realize that I have a lot of housework to do…A LOT. I realize we have been a very busy family and there has been much on the go in the last month. This will give you an idea what we have had to do recently:
- April 27 last day of work for me (emergency visit to Chiropractor as I put my back out)
- April 28 return last minute packing and an additional visit to chiropractor and massage therapist for treatment
- April 29 a early 5:15 am departure to Toronto for a flight from Pearson to Newark to Barcelona
- April 30 an early arrival in Barcelona ends 27 hours after my departure from London (with my back was killing me)
- April 30 my husband drove to Ottawa to pick up our eldest from her university dorm (they pack everything up in the van)
- May 1 they then head off to Peterborough to meet up with daughter #2 for a two day soccer tournament
- May 3 they drop eldest daughter off at Pearson as she catches a flight to Barcelona
- May 4 I head off to Barcelona from Lloret de Mar and Lauren arrives in Barcelona
- May 7 hubby and DD2 head off to Vancouver for a family visit
- May 12 they then head on to Calgary for Canadian Nationals (in volleyball)
- May 14 DD1 and I head to Paris on the TGV for the last segment of our trip
- May 17 DD2 and hubs leave Calgary to head home
- May 17 we leave Paris at 11 am and roll into London around 10 pm Paris time (we manage to be at Pearson at the same time without seeing each other)
All told that was 20 days away, seven hotels for me, six hotels for my eldest, one home visit and dorm stay for the others, 18 flights for all of us combined and plenty of meals away. It was hectic before we left and there was plenty of random things added to the mess.
It is nice to be home but you can imagine what the house looks like. It is nothing short of chaotic with all the bags, laundry, souvenirs, travel books, brochures and business card for us and sports gear and more laundry for them. To add to this, my daughter’s stuff from her dorm room is scattered between the living room, her room and the upstairs hall. All ready to be put away when we both have the energy and our internal clock re-sets. My eldest has already started cleaning our her closet to get ready to store her school clothes and getting rid of items that she no longer needs or wears. I haven’t ventured into my other daughter’s room but I can just imagine what that will look like. Hard to believe it look shiny and organized once.
With all the chaos in our lives, we desperately need to get back into some sort of routine so getting everything organized is priority number one. I would love to share what we usually do when we return from a trip to get things back on track:
- Unpacked all the bags downstairs in the laundry room. Because of my fear of bed bugs I NEVER EVER let a suitcase or travel bag go upstairs into our bedrooms. They must all be unpacked downstairs and everything (clean or dirty clothes) are washed immediately – preferably in hot water.
- All luggage is then sent outside to air (in the warm months on the back deck, in the cold months in the garage). They are double checked to ensure no critters are brought into the house. Like I said, I am very cautious about bring anything into my house from a hotel stay.
- Before putting your luggage away, make sure that you review it: did it get damaged in transit? Do all the zippers work well? Did it get scuffed anywhere and does it need a quick clean with a Magic Eraser? Try to vacuum it thoroughly before putting it in storage. You can nest the luggage one inside the other to save space. This makes it easier to store and keeps the luggage dust free.
- Laundry is done immediately. Nothing is put in the laundry hampers. It is cleaned and folded and ready to be put away by the end of the day. Just to give you an idea what sort of ritual we have, by the time we got home, my husband had already done both his and DD’s laundry – washed and folded.
- Sort through your toiletry bag and have it ready for you next trip. Didn’t use up all the shampoo in the container? Put it by the shower and finish it or restock it with more shampoo and put it back in your bag. Replenish any Q-tips, Band-Aids or tissues that you may have used. Keeping your toiletries bag ready means you can just grab and go on you next adventure.
- Empty out your purse and wallet. When you travel, you always seem to have ticket stubs, receipts and business cards that you picked up along the way. It’s time to do a bit of reconciliations and figure out what receipts you need for tax purposes (it was a business trip after all). I also take out all cards that are not relevant to my travels before I left. So now, I have to replace those that I need in Canada and take out the Euros that I no longer need.
- Review all of your receipts. Check on-line to see what has gone through, what is yet to be posted and verify that there are no ‘extra’ charges that may appear. I may even go into my bank and cancel my credit card and get a new one issued. Just to be safe. I know this seems a bit paranoid but we were in a lot of different shops, restaurants, attractions and airports. I don’t do this for every trip but I think disputing charges in Europe may be a bit more annoying. So now that I am home, I know nothing should be charged going forward.
- Lastly, change ALL OF YOUR PASSWORDS again. I know, seems a bit drastic but I am receiving messages on my computer, phone and tablet that someone is trying to access my passwords… so ding, ding, ding… time to change all of them just to be sure.
I have not managed to get my internal time clock to re-set (I went grocery shopping at 7:10 am for goodness sakes)… but I can try and get back my daily routine. I’ve managed to send some emails, finish this blog post and figured out what’s for dinner. Now I have to put away all that laundry.