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Travel Tip Tuesday – Relax!

Traveling is stressful!

Did you remember to pack everything? Passports? Tickets?

Is the oven off? Is Joe going to check the mail? Did you stop the newspaper delivery?

Is the Supershuttle actually coming? Are we going to get to the airport early enough?

Are we going to make it through that long TSA line quickly enough? Do I take my laptop out of my bag? Take off my shoes? What do you mean I can’t take this? It’s just water. I just bought it!

This guy on the plane is staring at me and my kid. I am trying to keep her quiet, I promise!

What carousel is our luggage at? Did the taxi rip us off?

Photo Credit: Mike Russell

The room looks so much different than the picture!

And the list goes on!

I would argue that we create our own stress. For the way that most of us travel, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

When are we going? We spend time poring over weather data for a given location, trying to get the best outcome. Then, we coordinate our available time and hope that it all lines up!

Where will we go? There is a big family reunion this year, but did you see the deal on Travelzoo’s Top 20!? Are we ever going to get to Bali?

After you figure that out, then it’s on to logistics. You need to get there, but then, where will you stay? Will you spring the extra to be in the action, or do you go out of the way a bit to save some money?

Then, when it is all planned, the crap really starts to sink in, and this is where we bring on all of our own stress. We begin to manufacture expectations in our heads of the perfect Instagram vacation pictures and memories. We look at picture-perfect experiences of others and replace their faces with our own. When something happens out of the set parameters, it can be seen as catastrophic!

To me, travel itself is the adventure, and the sum of the parts equals the whole. I have found that the Stoic approach is the best: I cannot control what happens, only how I react to it.

We have just finished up 3 amazing months in Vietnam, and we are coming into the rainy season. On our way to our homestay a couple days ago, it was raining so hard that we might well have been treading through the canal waters of the Mekong platoon-style. We were transferring from a taxi to a riverboat that was to take us down the canal to our homestay, and it was coming down like nothing we have ever experienced before. The boat driver (and later, our host) was trying to apologize for the rain, but we just started laughing! What else was there to do? We couldn’t make it stop raining, and there was zero chance of us staying dry, so we just went with it.

This moment, cruising down the narrow channel, smelling the fresh rain, and laughing over the rain beating the metal roof of the boat, is one of our best memories of Vietnam.

Cort and Amy laughing at how much it is raining. I was laughing at their ponchos!

Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. Plan for the best, and then let it go and experience the memory you have created. Fantastic or atrocious, it will always make for a great Facebook post!


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