Editor's Note

How to Survive the End of a Trip

Hint: It’s food. (Of course it’s food.)

By Catherine Matusow September 21, 2018 Published in the October 2018 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Every vacation has one: that person who views the end of each day in funereal fashion, lamenting the passing of another glorious 24 hours, already mourning the trip’s end. The traveler who dreads the return of reality, of chores and obligations and goals beyond the simple quest to let go and have a good time.

I confess that, although I know it’s annoying and therefore try to conceal it (and, by the way, actually like my real life), I have always been that person—the one who is enjoying the moment, yes, but also the one fretting over that moment ending. So I often end up saying things like this:

“Hey, guys! Guess what? It’s only Thursday. Sure, this vacation is 75 percent over, but let’s focus on the 25 percent that’s left, am I right? I mean, why obsess over the fact that we have to go back on Sunday? That would be silly.”

This is met with eyerolls and/or requests to please shut up and quit ruining everyone’s buzz.

And so, I try not to indulge such feelings, and to fight them off by giving myself a treat to look forward to on the other side, one that will help ease my way back into reality—usually, an invigorating five-mile run.

Kidding! It’s food. Of course it’s food.

In my view, traveling is no time for dieting. Whether you’re trying a fabulous new restaurant you may never get the chance to eat at again, or returning to a favorite haunt, it’s about treating yourself. (If you don’t believe me, there’s a fantastic feature story in this very magazine that will change your mind.)

Anyway, to stave off the blues, what I do is, take this treat-yourself mindset and extend it a bit past my vacation. So, for example, I always stop at Hruska’s Store & Bakery, along TX-71 in Ellinger, on the way home from a fun weekend in Austin. It’s hard to be angsty when you’re enjoying a lovingly prepared turkey sandwich from an iconic roadside Texas attraction, topped off with one of the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookies.

And—pro tip—it’s even harder when you’ve got a box of kolaches in the backseat.

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