December 2011

Do you get a little weird before you go on a big trip?

The pre-trip jitters can be a complete downer.

I almost cancelled a year long journey through Southeast Asia and Australia in my early 20’s. Three days before I left, a heavy dread crept in that replaced the excitement of planning and dreaming and saving.

Sometimes, when excitement turns to anxiety, it is the result of projecting about the unknowns. It usually sounds like this: It’s far away. They don’t speak my language. Will I get sick? Will I be robbed? Can I afford this?

But we have goals. We want to accomplish what we set out to do. This is one truth: your trip success depends on head-space, not on correct packing. Just like anything in life, your attitude can set you up to fail or soar.

Before you jump on that plane, an attitude adjustment of the introspective kind will upgrade your frame of mind, and ultimately, your trip.

It sounds a little something like this:

Mantra 1

Travel is a gift. People who travel have the freedom, the choice, the cash and the desire to make it happen. I am one of those. How fortunate am I.

Mantra 2

This journey is an experiment. Experiments are never perfect but they are always interesting. I will not have the answers at all times, nor will my travel partner. I will be kind to myself and the people around me. I will give myself grace, time, and patience when I am in a foreign place that I cannot control and sometimes can’t understand. I will find my path through my experiment and come out the other side.

Mantra 3

I will choose my emotions by elevating some and banishing others. I breathe in: growth, health, potential, love, the passing of time, friends, freedom, resilience, newness. I breathe out: fear, restrictions, expectations, control.

Mantra 4

Nothing that I’ve packed will devastate me if lost. Or stolen. Or flown to Timbuktu by accident. My possessions are tools to enhance my time spent away from the comforts of my home. They are all completely replaceable objects.

Yes, attitude upgrades are a choice, but sometimes you need more.

What if something still goes sideways? Then tap into a tool which turns travel mishaps into your next great adventure. It’s called the reframe technique.  This tool is helpful in life and, big shocker, perfectly adaptable to travel. It is essentially about altering your perspective from a failed activity to a fruitful pursuit and it’s a pillar strength of many successful people.

If we change our frame of reference by looking at the same situation from a different point of view, we can change the way we respond in life. We can change our representation or perception about anything and in a moment change our states and behaviors. This is what reframing is all about.   Tony Robbins

Here is an example of using the reframe technique on your next trip: You fell asleep on the train and missed your stop! Your normal reaction would be to freak out and jump right back on that train in reverse, all the while loathing your sleeepin’ fool ass and your wasted time and money. The reframed path would be to get off at the next stop. Call your hotel and tell them you’ll be late. Grab a taxi to “il centro storico” (the old city centre) and soak up your new surroundings. Sit in the piazza and people watch. Grab some lunch (because you were kinda hungry anyways). Then carry on with your original plans.

A reframed perspective translates simply into: no wasted time, no wasted money, just a chance to experience something completely unplanned. Lucky you!

An opportunity awaits; how will you choose? Will your next big trip be business as usual or will you expand your outcomes with your shiny new mantras?  Do you think the reframe technique will assist you in making limoncello out of lemons?

It’s your turn! I’d love to hear about your travel mishaps, your ugly moods and what do to when things look grim.  How have you handled these situations? Shower down your wisdom.


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