Its All Between Your Ears
Someone once said that the true definition of luck is where preparation meets opportunity. I like that a lot.
And there may be no better application of that definition than when we travel. You see, making travel easy and fun actually comes down to two things: organization and attitude. Most of the rest is just window dressing.
Organization is the preparation part from the formula above and we’ve talked about it quite a bit in this blog series but I’ll touch on a few key things again here. I’ve been doing this so long its second nature but as I began to write this blog series I realized how many things there really are to take into account and plan. Being organized and understanding a time line of travel planning is critical to success. From booking your flights, to making your lists and getting to the airport, it is all an orchestration of detail. If you dial this process in the way we’ve talked about, it all flows smoothly. And we like smooth.
For example, last week I decided to go to Fiji…and here I am in Fiji TODAY! Total planning and prep from decision to take off was about 10 days. Instinctually I knew that trying to get a flight within seven days was going to cost a small fortune so the decision on exact travel dates had to be timely and at least 8 days away. In the follow up e-book to this blog series, I will create a time line you can use for this until it becomes second nature for you.
Travel is ALL about attitude. Travel is ALL about attitude. Travel is ALL about attitude. Did I mention that travel is ALL about attitude? Did I say that enough? When you travel, what goes on between your ears is at least as important as what’s going on around you. People who enjoy travel are more apt to be people with open minds. They tend to be those who enjoy “participating” in life, getting involved, learning new things and enjoying new experiences. The travel planning process and the “getting there” should also reflect that attitude. From the decision to travel to arrival at your destination the entire process should be one of happy anticipation, excitement over a change in scenery, a break from routine and ADVENTURE! Here are a few paradigms that we live by and that have served us well.
Understand That It’s Not Going to Look Exactly the Way You Think It Is
In fact this is true of life in general. It’s important – no, it’s critical – to have a vision whether it’s for your life or your vacation and go after it. But understand that many roads can lead to the same place. Are you more committed to having it look exactly the way you want it to or in getting a certain result? If your true goal is to have an authentic local meal, then whether its beef or chicken shouldn’t matter as much as its authenticity. It’s the big picture that’s important and holding true to your big vision. Last week, our flight to Fiji was delayed out of LAX by over seven hours. We used the time to write blogs and connect with some new friends that came and hung out with us at the Daily Grill in Bradley Terminal. The next piece of the silver lining was that we arrived in Fiji in the daylight and had a spectacular arrival, flying over the Yasawa group of islands. Normally you arrive in the dark. In the end, we got the result we wanted – a spectacular experience in Fiji. The fact that our flight had a long delay was completely irrelevant. Then we flew from Fiji to Costa Rica. We flew Fiji, LAX – where we had a full day layover, then to Orlando with a six hour layover and then to Atlanta with another six hour layover and finally we arrived two days later in San Jose. Along the way, our bags got left in Atlanta. We were headed out to Cocos Island, over 300 miles offshore, so there was a good chance our bags would never catch up with us until the end of the trip. So we made some contingency arrangements and then enjoyed a glass of wine out on the balcony of our villa looking out at the lights of the San Jose valley below. It was a sweet evening. The fact that we didn’t have a change of clothes didn’t make a bit of difference. Our clothes arrived the next day at the last minute and thanks to a very friendly employee at Delta’s lost baggage counter in San Jose, off we went.
Never Miss an Opportunity
How many times do we say woulda, coulda, shoulda? How many opportunities come by and stare us down hard in the face and we work really, really hard to ignore them? If you know the result you want, opportunities to achieve that are going to show up for you. That’s the way the universe works.
I’ve got so many examples of this that I could write an entire e-book on it – hmmmmmm.
Part of missing these opportunities happens because we are so committed to things looking EXACTLY a certain way – see above – that we are unwilling to take a different road – literally or figuratively – that presents itself that will get us to the same experience. Some of it also happens because we’re uncomfortable to do something which might be outside our comfort zone or worried about spending the money. Without a doubt, travel stretches us and almost by its very nature puts us at least a little outside our comfort zone but that’s half the fun and also where extraordinary breakthroughs occur. As for the money part, I’m a big proponent of fiscal responsibility. I think there’s way too little of that in our society and government and running up thousands in credit card debt and then wiping it off through personal bankruptcy is just plain lame. With that said, I’ve NEVER regretted spending “extra” cash on vacation for a special opportunity that came up. In fact, that’s been the situation in creating some of my best travel memories: a private flight into the awesome ruins of Tikal, jumping on a zipline trip at the last minute with new friends, landing up on a glacier in New Zealand in a helicopter, going on the best shark dive in the world in Fiji or a last minute decision to go to Tibet for a month and climb up to 20,000’ in the Himalayas.
This is the fabric of an extraordinary life. Money is only a vehicle.
Whoa you say! Do what?
Yes, embrace risk, this is not what you may think at first glance and is a critical step to living an extraordinary life and having travel experiences that are what you’ve always wanted. First of all, this isn’t James Dean stuff. Being a rebel for no reason can get you killed in an automobile accident. This is something totally different; in fact by embracing risk, you reduce it. YES! Stay with me here. In our society, we’ve equated risk with danger but the two are not necessarily the same.
Risk is defined as an uncertain outcome and our world is awash in “risk management.” We try to limit uncertain outcomes and in many cases have a false sense of our ability to do that. As the recent financial crisis proves, quite often the variability of an outcome can become grossly under appreciated. The problem with the recent financial meltdown was that everyone believed erroneously that the markets were stable because they had convinced themselves that they were. Risk management is a fable, a myth, a joke. There will always be variability in life – in all things. And maybe in nothing more than in travel. So the whole process around embracing risk is embracing variability in outcome, knowing that there are many roads to your destination and being flexible in using your skills in getting there. That’s what embracing risk means. And by embracing risk, you allow yourself to connect with one of the most important forces in travel – serendipity.
Serendipity is the wonderful, seemingly chance occurrence of great possibilities. It’s present in the people you meet along the way and the opportunities that you stumble across. It’s wild and unexpected but highly rewarding. It takes awareness to spot, skill to tap into and a little courage to jump on a train when you don’t always know exactly where it is going to end up. It’s where good becomes great.
So if you need to change your attitude, CHANGE IT! Get out there, have fun and enjoy! Change TGIF for TGIT – Thank God It’s TODAY! And have fun traveling and adventuring.