How Long Can You Get Away With Wearing Holiday Souvenirs Back At Work?
I have been wearing a bright orange piece of fabric around my wrist for about three weeks now.
It's a bracelet I bought from a woman in Bolivia. She and her six children live in a small house inside the Maragua Crater, a strange rock formation outside the country’s capital.
In between looking after her kids, she weaves thread into intricate patterns while sitting on her knees for six hours at a time. Her hours of work cost me a measly 30 Bolivianos (about $6AUD).
You’ll be pleased to know this isn't a tale of how I found myself among the swirling landscapes and rocky outcrops of a country tainted by corruption and cocaine. Mind you, these are all incredibly interesting facets.
It's not a shameless plug, either.
See, for two of the past three weeks I’ve been back home in Sydney (*cue ‘post-holiday blues’ -- or whatever term you’d like to coin that feeling of adjusting to so-called normal life after being away from it).
This may have been acceptable for my first week back at work ... but now, it’s getting a little tattered around the edges.
“Still wearing it?” my editor said, as I walked into the office on Friday.
This bracelet may be my undoing.
I was almost forced to part with it a few nights ago, thanks to an overly serious umpire who demanded it came off for a game of social netball.
But here we are, and the bracelet is back.
It lasted longer than those of a colleague who returned from Splendour in the Grass with a similar souvenir, before he was pressured into taking those wristbands right off.
At this point, I'm not convinced mine is any better.
There has been some other post-holiday behaviour in a vain attempt to stretch my time off as far as possible: endlessly scrolling through photos and constantly messaging those new friends who are still chasing waterfalls in Cartagena, trekking to Machu Picchu and eating hot dogs in Santiago.
Is this normal?
The reality of returning to alarms, deadlines and an overflowing inbox after a holiday can be unsettling for some -- or turn into something more serious for others. Countless studies and self-help articles point to a range of ways to “beat the holiday blues”.
Others focus on “holding onto that holiday feeling” -- and this feels closer to the underpinnings of the bracelet.
At the best of times, those of us who are lucky enough to travel can return feeling reinvigorated in some way -- and that’s a feeling to hold onto.
But I think it’s about time I take the damn thing off. Or maybe I'll leave it on just one more week, to remember the wonderful woman who wove it.
Featured image: Emma Brancatisano