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solutions to post-travel blues

September 20, 2012

The first day was hard. The second day was easier. Then easier. Then the intensity of Iceland that, unbelievably, I beheld with my own eyeballs, began to recede into a packaged, documented memory that I carry and share in snapshots and anecdotes. The most difficult part is not the longing or the missing or the denial; it’s the transformation of this staggering experience into an object that can be shared with others. It’s the question, “How was Iceland?,” and it’s the answer, “It was great.”

My solution to the post-travel blues? Make up projects for yourself.

Such as: put together a one-year wedding anniversary surprise picnic basket for two beautiful friends, filled with cheeses, apricots, salted caramels, and homemade wine jelly (recipe below).

Paint your bedroom yellow; then decide you hate it, it just won’t work, it’s too goddamn cheery. Dash to the hardware store 30 minutes before closing, buy new paint on the spot, and re-paint your entire bedroom that night in Winter’s Storm and India Ink. Sleep the deepest, most restful sleep you’ve had since returning home.

Frame and hang iconic photographs, antique postcards, and a vintage needlepoint from your trip to Iceland.

Spend a day curled up with your boyfriend watching Parks and Rec because it makes you laugh. He knows the noise and crowds at your usual go-to diner spot are too overwhelming for you (you just returned from the Icelandic wilderness, after all), so you share breakfast at the quiet New Orleans Cafe instead. You eat hot, sugary beignets and remember that America has its bright spots too.

Make the first hearty soup of the season with kale, butternut squash, CSA sweet potatoes, onions, lots of paprika and garlic.

Dive headfirst into organizing DC’s first-ever Food Swap. Make apricot skyr, pickled okra, and spicy pepper jelly. Basically, overdo it, like usual.

And, okay, okay. Allow yourself to reminisce.

wine jelly

adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

1 bottle cheap red wine
3 1/4 cups sugar
1 (3 oz.) envelope liquid pectin
3 T lemon juice
1/2 t. unsalted butter

In a small saucepan, boil 1 1/4 cups of the wine and cook until reduced to 1/3 cup, 15 minutes.

In a large pot, boil the remaining wine with the sugar, stirring often. Add the pectin, lemon juice, and butter, and bring to a hard boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the wine reduction.

Pour the jelly into sterilized jars, cover with lids, and let cool to room temperature completely before refrigerating. The jelly will keep in the fridge for about a month. Alternatively, you can process the jelly in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes, and it will keep for a year. Enjoy with cheese and bread.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2012 8:39 am

    Wine jelly! I’ve been wanting to try that for a while now. Sounds soooo good!

  2. September 22, 2012 5:06 am

    What about the receipt for the soup?
    Never mind…anyway i don’t have these kind of squash here… :)

  3. September 22, 2012 10:43 am

    Looks really appealing and I just need a few ingredients before I give it a go

  4. Harold Rhenisch permalink
    September 23, 2012 9:16 am

    I feel the same loss. I went back to become even more lost and found. Next spring, I am taking up a writing residency in Skridaklaustur. Here’s some of the thinking that Iceland led me to, as a small gift of thanks for your beautiful post on the land and people I now love so intensely…
    http://okanaganokanogan.com/2012/05/07/embroidering-the-land/

  5. September 23, 2012 1:49 pm

    Ah la rentrée, it sounds like you have excellent coping mechanisms without losing sight nor the wonderful feeling of the recent experience. Sharing food with friends, a wonderful homecoming. And I agree that soup looks just divine! Will check out the recipe you mention.

  6. September 23, 2012 7:42 pm

    Love your blog! Your photos are gorgeous and I can’t wait to make the wine jelly. I have also added a trip to Iceland to my bucket list!

  7. September 28, 2012 5:20 am

    :) I want that kale and sweet potato recipe.

  8. October 2, 2012 3:38 am

    You’re pictures are great. Really. Congrats for you blog! (:

  9. October 2, 2012 11:50 pm

    Lovely photos. Post travel I always had to keep busy too. I loved writing when I travelled but when I wasnt travelling I found a lot of my writings lacked something so I started drawing and doing cartoons-I love it. Even when i do cartoons about daily life I can be creative with my characters and settings. Not much of its true but I get to exaggerate and have fun.

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