By: Eli Shostak

At the end of a vacation, have you ever felt like the boat is about to flip and everything is going to wash downstream? You want to keep going with the flow and enjoying your journey, but stress about how to navigate post-holiday rapids has you fully gripped. 

So, how do you keep the vibe alive? For purveyors of fine adventures, ensuring travelers take their good times home and continue to source those experiences for inspiration and joy is as important as making sure PFDs are well-fitted. Guides call this magical, timeless spell transference. To conjure it, leaders identify specific lessons delivered in extraordinary places and illustrate how to apply those learnings in more ordinary environments. From expansive sunrises, surging rivers, and star-filled skies, we forge ideas that, with a little guidance, will support us no matter where we go.

Westwater Canyon Rapids Smiles SplashTo put it bluntly, those wonderful moments we love so much on vacation can continue to float our attitudes when we head home. Grown like willows along the riverbank and baked to perfection like a Dutch oven apple crisp, here are five simple lessons we’ve found to be useful long after our sandal tan has faded.

Be Mindful of Conditions:  River conditions can change as quickly as Taylor Swift’s outfit. Fluctuating flows and fickle weather mean hidden hazards surface and simple stretches of water become grinders. To be successful, our actions must match how things are, not how they were or how we want them to be. By orienting our attention to the present moment and acknowledging the NOW, we proceed with accuracy and are successful in any endeavor.

Stay Centered: Like dropping into a big rapid, life can quickly get intense. Ultimately, conditions are what they are, and they don’t care about our feelings or opinions. In any situation, our reactions are truly the only thing we can control. If we don’t want to get swept away, we have to breathe, focus and keep our seat

Accept Help: Do you ever wish you could just admit you’re not “crushing” it and would love a little help? There is grace in understanding we need assistance to keep our heads above water. Working together is a habit baked into expeditions which we recognize also serves everyone back at home.Outdoor River Retreats

Gratitude is Key:  On vacation, as life’s distractions and to-do lists fade away, it’s easy to feel grateful for the simple pleasure of sitting in the shade of a giant cottonwood tree. Finding reasons to be thankful, which seem especially abundant on an adventure but can really be found anytime, increases our awareness of the goodness in our lives and boosts our sense of contentment.

Reflect: One of the best ways to learn from life is to pause and absorb its lessons (tweet, post, and blog about them later). Reflection takes us one step closer to being better at everything we do.

While riverside beaches and broad desert landscapes can seem far removed from our everyday existence, it turns out our experiences in wild places have plenty to offer in support of our routines in familiar habitats. If these ideas resonate with you, it’s time to sign up for an adventure with Holiday and see what else you can discover!


Eli Shostak is a Lecturer of Adventure Education at Fort Lewis College. A former river guide, NOLS Course Leader, and sea kayaking instructor, he is a firm believer in the power of shared experiences in wild places. Eli is dedicated to using his expertise in mindfulness, leadership, and expedition planning to facilitate journeys for finding the personal and interpersonal benefits of exploring diverse landscapes. His favorite game to play on trips is called “Knuck Tats,” something you’ll have to ask him about.