Vacations are overrated. Yes, the experience of a new place exhilarates, rejuvenates, or maybe simply provides an escape from everyday routine—at least once you get where you’re going. Getting there? That’s another story. Air travel, in particular, sucks the life out of a person more than even the most sharp-toothed vampire could ever do.

Don’t get me wrong. Immersing oneself in anywhere that isn’t home is a worthy pursuit. But for me, the true value of venturing out into the wider world usually doesn’t become clear until long after the return trip. We have new experiences and make memories. Much later—once the bags are unpacked and our brains catch up to the time zone our bodies have already reached—we digest our experiences and make meaning of them. We may never visit that destination again, but we return to it in photos and stories and memories for a lifetime. And maybe we even learn some previously undiscovered truth about ourselves.

On a recent flight on the way to a Toronto vacation, I was an audience of one for a drama with an intriguing plot twist: The adult mom of a toddler daughter threw a tantrum, up close and personal, in the seat next to me. As soon as we de-planed and were out of the young mommy’s earshot, I voiced my outrage to my loving travel companion. When he suggested I cool my jets and let it go, I had a tantrum of my own. Sorry, Husband. You certainly did not deserve that.

Our romantic weekend could have crashed and burned right then and there. But it didn’t. Click here to see why.