The post-election vacation: a self-care recommendation
People tend to turn to travel in times of great personal stress. You get a grim diagnosis, so you hit the road while you still can. You break up with your beau, so you console yourself abroad. You lose your job, so you take a funemployment trip. Election cycles create just as much distress as personal failures, only on a national level, making it a great reason to plan a post-election vacation.Elections are a lot like weddings. Expensive for all participants. Causing months of stress and fighting with people you thought were your friends. All leading up to one night where one tiny thing can go wrong and it’ll ruin your life. Like weddings, elections are best bookended by going on a fabulous vacation to forget all about it.I inadvertently discovered the post-election vacation in 2016, when I was trying to get to Thailand for the annual Yi Peng festival, so I happened to have travel booked immediately after the election. It was a dark time. I cried in disbelief as I watched the US elect a racist, misogynistic, morally (and financially) bankrupt reality TV host to the country’s highest office. After months of expecting that guy to fade into obscurity after November 8, instead we got the hell that has been the past 2 years. And that thought on election night was enough to make me seriously consider self-defenestration.But then I went to Thailand and realized that there’s more to the world than shitty politicians, and that I could probably eventually find happiness again. I didn’t suffer through the days of post-election analysis, about where the campaign went wrong and how this could happen and what does this mean for the next election. I was in Thailand enjoying drag shows and seeing beautiful temples.And this year, after months of hearing about kids getting ripped from their parents at the border, and seeing alleged rapists and pedophiles get defended by our elected officials, and watching the world laugh at our leader’s ineptitude, we came to another election night. I fell asleep soundly around the time the polls closed, knowing that things couldn’t possibly get worse; only stay as horrible as they’ve been. But more than that, knowing that in 24 hours, I would be on an intercontinental flight, not giving a fuck that Florida did what Florida does every election.I don’t have a post-election hangover from lack of sleep and seeing the candidates I was rooting for lose (though they did). But I have better things to do. I’m packing today, and then I’m going to go discover a little part of the world I’ve never seen. Where no one knows who Ted Cruz is. Because I did my part, I voted, which is the best I can do. Whatever the aftermath is doesn’t require my undivided attention.A post-election vacation isn’t about not caring. It’s about realizing that your mind needs a break from caring too much. What’s done is done. The world isn’t gonna fall apart if you turn off news alerts to go parasailing in Fiji. But your mental health will be much improved.A post-election vacation is about rewarding yourself. Because you’ve had to put up with a lot of bullshit over the past few months, and spend a lot of time researching the issues and the candidates, and wait in line to cast your ballot into the abyss. You deserve a break.Whether or not election night lived up to your expectations, whether or not the country will continue to spiral deeper into the proverbial toilet, your sanity doesn’t have to go with it. You can be personally happy and successful even in times of great national distress. The best thing you can do for yourself is get away from it all.And that’s exactly what I intend to do. It’s been real, 2018 elections, but we’re just about done here. I’m out!