When you’re traveling, it’s so easy to get fed up when things don’t go according to plan. I admit, I used to let these things ruin my day. OMG, can we go ANY faster?! What, this tour is not what I was expecting?! Crap, this place is closed on Mondays – what am I supposed to do now?!
Oftentimes these kinks cost you time and money; good reason to be frustrated!
But when things “go wrong,” as they almost always do, your reaction to it is far more important than the actual event itself.
I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. While a lot of things seemingly “went wrong” on my European adventure, I look back and understand that everything that was not as expected ended up being either an amazing twist of fate or a valuable learning experience (that I can now share with you)!
My rules for happy traveling
As soon as you can do the below, you’ll be a much happier traveler.
- Accept that things can and will go wrong
- Refuse to get overwhelmed or frustrated
- Embrace the change of plans for the surprise that it is
- Appreciate the gift you’re being given
Because… resistance is futile!
Case in point: I had a ticket for an early (8:30 a.m.) train to Berlin after a late night in Prague. Still, I was awake and moving, and believed I would arrive to the train station with 10 minutes to spare. But somehow, I underestimated the distance of the walk to the station. I was walking with there with a new friend, and as it became overwhelmingly obvious I was not going to make it there on time, he admired my lack of panic. I shrugged and said, “If I’m meant to take that train, it will still be there. If I’m not, then maybe I’m supposed to do something else.”
All at once, I surprised myself. Not only the words out of my mouth, but the fact that I wholeheartedly believed them. The Julie of the past was much different. Somewhere along the way of my travels and through growing up, I adopted a laissez faire attitude. I had come to the conclusion that I’m much happier when I let it be and completely surrender to what fate has in store for me. Resistance is futile!
Well, you guessed it: the train was just pulling away as I arrived.
Lesson learned: I won’t be pre-booking any trains before 10 a.m., and I’ll check the route to the station in advance.
Amazing twist of fate: Having missed my train to Berlin, my friend invited me to accompany him to his next destination. Sure, why not? I rolled with the punches… leading to an unexpected adventure first to Holland and then to Belgium, two areas not on my itinerary.
This story is just one example, but I have many more. Time and time again, whenever I encountered something “wrong,” it led me down a path that I otherwise would not have been on but ended up being life-altering, knitted lifelong friendships or turned into #bestdayevers. I’m telling you, this will make you a much happier traveler: As soon as you believe that everything is happening to you for a reason and accept it with open arms (or a shrug of your shoulders), you become open to receive the gift of the next experience.
Do you have an example of a travel kink that ended up changing your life for the better? I’d love to hear. Share in a comment!