Do you get a little weird before setting off on a big trip?
You’re not alone.
I almost cancelled a trip I had planned through Southeast Asia and Australia one year.
When the date of departure crept closer, a heavy dread crept in that replaced the excitement of planning and dreaming and saving.
Excitement turned to anxiety. I was fixating on the bad stuff that could happen.
Some common pre-trip anxiety soundbites:
“I shouldn’t take all this time off work.”
“They don’t speak my language.”
“Will I get sick?”
“I can’t afford this.”
“Should I risk bringing my laptop?”
These “before you go” worries can be overcome, but if you keep getting sidetracked by them, they can cause you problems during your trip.
We’ve all witnessed irate travelers, yelling at poor stewardesses or waitstaff.
The thing is, your travel success depends on headspace, not on correct packing.
These 5 mindset hacks will give you an instant upgrade, without swiping your credit card.
Mindset Hack #1: Check yo’self before you wreck yo’self.
Embrace the concept that travel is a privilege, not a right.
A ride on the gratitude train means you reconnect with the awareness that the very fact that you can travel means you’re one of the lucky ones — you have freedom, choice, cash and the desire to make it happen.
While you’re complaining about legroom in seat 45D and turning your nose up at the dry chicken, there’s a woman in a refugee camp who skipped her meal so that her kids could have another half-scoop of rice. And she’s been in that camp for 4 years, using a shared bathroom that would bring you to tears.
Mindset Hack #2: Experiment
Embrace the journey as an experiment. Experiments are not perfect. Nor are they meant to be.
You won’t have all the answers at all times, nor will your travel partner. Getting fixated on some “end result” is an exercise in frustration when you’re a guest in another country. You don’t even speak the same language, so the faster you accept that “things aren’t like at home,” the faster you’ll be able to embrace all the beauty that will come your way exactly because “things aren’t like at home.” Have a growth mindset and be the person smiling throughout their trip. Other people scowling on the train will wonder what you’ve had for breakfast, and can they have some.
Mindset Hack #3: Choose happy.
Another way of saying “choose happy” is, “Decide to feel the way you want to feel.”
Here’s a real-life example: One of the reasons you booked your vacation was because you “need a break from work stress.” And just like that, out of nowhere, at some point during your trip, you can feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when a baby starts crying on the plane. You’re getting stressed. You’re feeling the exact opposite way you want to feel. Seriously? You go on holiday to get less stressed, but here you are stressing over something you just can’t control.
I believe every annoyance in life is categorized in two ways: things I can control or things I can’t. Which is why I have not looked at gas prices in 10 years — gas prices fall under the “can’t control” realm (and I like driving my car) and so I ignore them completely. My energy is best spent on things that I can control, like the fuel I put into my body (should I eat this entire bag of Miss Vickie’s Salt and Vinegar chips right now, or the celery sticks in the fridge?).
Mindset Hack #4: Unpack that bag.
Don’t take anything on your trip that you will be devastated to lose. Or have stolen. Or be flown to Timbuktu by accident. Your possessions are tools for enhancing your time spent away from the comforts of home. They’re all completely replaceable objects. If they aren’t — don’t bring them.
Ask yourself — is this replaceable with money? If it’s not (like heirloom jewelry), leave it at home. If it’s data, back it up before you leave home.
Mindset Hack #5: Reframe failure.
What if something really does go sideways?
Time to tap into a tool which turns travel mishaps into your next great adventure.
It’s called the reframe technique. It’s essentially altering your perspective from a failed activity to a positive experience, and it’s a pillar for many of the people you admire (anyone world-class at anything has had to do this to deal with massive setbacks).
“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.”
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 a return train, all the while cursing your sleepin’ 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 center) 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!
We have more tips like this, designed to help travelers thrive.
If you’re looking for more articles like this, here are our top posts:
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- A Sad Start but a Happy Ending: The Italian Fix Backstory
So, whaddya think?
Will your next big trip be business as usual or will you expand your horizons with your shiny new mindset hacks? Will you be using the reframe technique to make limoncello out of lemons?
Now, over to you! 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? Share in the comments below.
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Image Credits: Leela Cyd, Azzurra Biagi, Caroline White