Europe’s summer vacation season is really hitting me this year
Until 2020, it was obvious that every July your Instagram feed would be flooded with azure beaches, slow-motion hopping from yachts, and huge plates of pasta. The Euro summer holiday season was never a good time for social outings if you weren’t traveling that year, but it never affected me as much as this winter.
In the past, I could at least feign happiness for everyone who lived in Croatia, Greece and Italy. Sometimes I really has been happy for them, double tapping their sunny snaps and adding comments like “so jealous!” and “booming!” with genuine enthusiasm. This year, however, it’s been hard to be even remotely happy for any lucky travelers. I want to be happy for everyone. I know that I should be happy for them. But I can’t muster the energy because it’s honestly been so, so depressing wading through the messages.
Seriously, is everybody in Europe right now?? I’m shocked. How did you all refrain from spending all of your locked-out savings on extravagant home roasts / cooking the entirety of that dusty old Ottolenghi cookbook? How did you not develop a crippling financial obsession with late-night (strong) martinis made with only the better gin and better vermouth and better Olives? I was going through a bottle of gin a WEEK. Was I the only person who bought ten different vintage shirts a month on eBay last year? I redesigned my entire living room with mid-century furniture from Facebook Marketplace?
I thought we were all in the same boat in 2022 – emerging from two years of shutdowns with a serious lack of disposable income, thanks to throwing money around in an attempt to avoid existential fear. Apparently I was wrong. People don’t just make Europe, they make EUROPE. WITH MONEY. A LOT.
Guys, I have to be honest. I hate that. I hate waking up every morning and scrolling through all the perfect beaches and sunset couple photos. I never liked it, per se, but I didn’t have that overwhelming hatred for other people’s happiness like I have this year, and I’m certainly not proud of it, but it’s also an experience very real that I live. I hate you and your lush vacation. There, I said it.
OK OK. Beneath all the toxic jealousies and, if I’m being honest, a real competitiveness and social media problem, I can see that these people deserve their well-deserved holidays. They saved the money and now they are reaping the rewards! I don’t really hate you, I hate that I am not you. It is the truth beneath these surface emotions and reactions. I’m just sad.
Nor am I writing this to make anyone feel bad about living in Ibiza this month. I’m writing this for anyone like me – sitting in their old Qantas pajamas and ratty old Ugg boots feeling flat as a nail. I write to say that yes, it is normal to be JEAOUS OF THE PEOPLE OF IBIZA. There’s nothing wrong with feeling bad about their lovely vacation in Europe while you’re sitting in your icy brick living room getting high stranger things episodes because that’s all you have to look forward to right now.
Don’t let those emotions rule your behaviors to the point of commenting “I hate you and your stupid new fucking Antibes bikini” on their cheerful posts. But don’t blame yourself for being an awful friend either.
Some of us just didn’t have the foresight to save money during lockdown. Honestly, some of us needed to spend money on little luxuries all the time because we were having a really good time. It’s NOT JUST that I don’t have money to travel this year. It HURTS MORE in 2022 after we have already lost two full years of travel opportunities. I can have my dramatic little cry for the 2022 European tour that will never happen, and you know what, it’s even okay to passive-aggressively avoid liking this message that your boyfriend’s girlfriend just put up of her gazing casually across the ocean as her $500 designer dress that she will never wear again floats behind her.
But also (come on, you knew this was coming) let’s choose to be decent. Choose not to let our sadness dictate our behavior. Throw these supportive comments, especially to your friends who have had a tough two years and deserve this sunny trip. Double tap ALL Euro messages on days when you can muster that bit of joy for the people you love and enjoy. The sadness we feel is not really about anyone else but about our own situations. I’m sad the old Mel didn’t save any money. I am angry that a crude virus stole two of my years of free and hedonistic travel. I’m depressed because it’s so incredibly cold here compared to what my Insta feed shows.
In fact, I’m not sad, angry, or depressed about the epic things my friends and family are going through overseas, so where I can, I’m going to be happy for them. Or at least I’ll pretend to be while crying into my dull, sad breakfast porridge which, unfortunately, isn’t a Pina Colada.
Melissa is a freelance writer. You can find her on Instagram.