How to cope when your friends are having fun in Europe without you

I wake up in the mid-afternoon sun, there is a dull-yet-persistent booming from nearby, my head hurts, and all I can taste is cheap rosé. This can only mean one thing - I'm in Mykonos, and it's peak Euro-summer. Then I roll over, look out the window and see my Mazda 3 parked in the driveway. The dull thud is not a day club, but a construction site place nearby, my head hurts because I slept in a funny position and the cheap rosé, well that's still cheap rosé.

But while I am safely (and sadly) in Australia, it seems everyone else is not. A scroll through Instagram reveals that the annual pilgrimage to Europe has started, which means roughly three months of obnoxious Instagram posts about Pasta! Puglia! and Pretty Sunsets!  

I'm not mad, I'm Europable

My feed is usually a delicate mix of Brown Cardigan-style LOLS, dream houses I can't afford and EmRata. Right now it's a deluge of subpar Aperol boomerangs. We get it, Natasha, you're in Amalfi paying AU $30 for a spritz, what a hero.

I know I sound more bitter than the Campari Aperitif someone just ordered in Santorini, and this is because I am not part of the contingent this year. Instead, I'm resigned to watch from the sidelines, begrudgingly doling out likes and prayer hands emojis.

Despite my best efforts, with each sunkissed photo, I become increasingly snarky, DM-ing other people's holiday snaps to my friends and saying things like "How does he afford so many holidays, doesn't he work for himself? Is it family money?"

The obnoxious holiday season has started

Forced fun

The worst part about the obnoxious holiday season, for those left behind, is that it seems to drag on forever. It begins in June, peaks in August and stretches through to late September. That's a long stint pretending to be happy for people - a chore in itself.

At the same time, it forces you to do some weird shit to prove you're alright with your passport collecting dust while everyone else loses their minds in Dubrovnik. Having been through this before I can already see the red flags.

Firstly, you start to reach out to weird fringe friends in a misguided attempt to rebuild your social circle.

I'm not envious, you are

The internal monologue begins like this: Maybe I should hit up Jaryd from high school? He's actually pretty nice, from memory. Do I have his number? No. I'll send him a Facebook message. Wow, the last time we spoke was in 2012. How funny.


Next, you decide to get your own back by booking a winter weekend away. Yeah, that'll show them! Enjoy Budapest guys; I'll be downing hot chocolates at the Hydro Majestic in the Blue Mountains.

But then you arrive, and it's freezing, you remember that the Blue Mountains is basically just the elderly looking at the Three Sisters. Meanwhile, your best mate is at a beach club in Ibiza with three actual sisters.

Give a little...

Now there's no doubt that all of the above is my problem and I should get over it, but if I've learnt anything since turning thirty (seamless segue to my last column,,) it's that life is about compromise.

An example: I bumped into a friend recently, one of the few people I know who doesn't do social media. He asked me what I'd been up to, and I told him that I'd recently signed up Foxtel Now for a free 10-day trial so I could watch Chernobyl. After that boring anecdote, he dropped this bombshell, "I just got back from six weeks in Europe, I did South of France, Italy and then up through Portugal and Spain."

Six weeks, four countries, not a single photo. Had it not been for his glowing tan and a few ill-fitting leather bracelets (a definite Barcelona panic purchase), I never would have bought it.

Microdosing Mykonos

I'm not suggesting we need to institute a blanket ban on, but how about this:

I'll agree to stew quietly in my crippling Euro-envy if everyone overseas agrees to take the less-is-more approach when documenting their trip. A limit of one story per day, per activity should do the trick.

Now pass me that cheap rosé, turn up the Euro-Disco and let's turn this mundane suburb into Mykonos…if only for a moment.

After continually being told to "use his words" as a young boy, Thomas Mitchell took that advice on board and never looked back. Since then his words appeared all over the place, including in the Sydney Morning Herald, Time Out, The Huffington Post and GQ. Thomas spends his days observing the unique behaviour of the Australian male, while trying not to overstay his welcome at the local cafe.

Follow Thomas on Twitter.