Let Things Happen When You Travel

One of the best ways to experience an adventure is to travel: pick a place, pack up your bags and go. But, once on the road, you have to be ready. Any number of things could happen and how you deal with them could spell the difference between a lovely trip and a dreadful one.

Stepping onto a plane bound for a spot in the world where youíve never been before means there are expectations. Your expectations of what you imagine the place to be and the reality of what you will find once you get there.

This is true, whether itís that beach paradise youíve long always been dreaming about since youíve learned to imagine palm trees and mai tais, that cosmopolitan city where you imagine the air is always hot, the fruits are peddled in boats in the world-famous floating market, and the best shopping malls are blocks apart or that country where they all say the churches are old, the bull fights are wild, and having chorizo de bilbao along with your morning pancakesóor riceóand coffee is as natural as breathing.

Expectations like these are good. Imagining a place where youíve never been before, thinking about the things youíll do when you get there, where youíll shop, what dish youíll want to order first from the menu when you arrive in that strange, exciting, beautiful placeóall these are good, it means youíre excited to be there. Thatís the first step in having fun.

See, things could happen this way: youíre all pumped up to go. Youíve packed up a few weeksí worth of clothes into your battered duffel bags. ďYouíre readyĒ, you tell yourself over and over like a mantra.

Youíre ready to have an adventure. So, youíve printed out the maps, color-coded the itinerary data and even brought along not just one or two but all five of the guidebooks you own.

Youíre ready to go and have an adventure. Youíve set your mind on having one so thatís how itís going to go.

But see, thatís a major roadblock. Itís a mistake to think you can ever be ready for an adventure. Color coding all the historical data and information of all the places you would like to tour when you finally get around to visiting the little chapels in Florence or graphing the direction of your trip is all well and good mental exercise but to what purpose will this serve? No amount of preparation is going to get you ready for the real thing. Itineraries are changed, schedules adjusted without warning, and nosy, irritating fellow travelers make the trip just a tiny bit unbearable, if not exactly interesting when you tell stories about it back home.

Organization is great but thereís an end to what it can offer you. Thereís something to be said for flexibility, spontaneity, for lettings things happen, for going with the flow. You may not always end up where you planned to but how much itíll affect your mood or pizzazz or mojo will be entirely up to you. You can sulk, rant, rave or punch a hole in the wall and ruin your entire travel experience. Or you could take things in stride, dismiss the irritating aspects of travel, of life, as they happen, and enjoy the good times.



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