Travel

Traveling Happily Means Rolling with the Punches

Prague, Czech Republic

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.

  1. Accept that things can and will go wrong
  2. Refuse to get overwhelmed or frustrated
  3. Embrace the change of plans for the surprise that it is
  4. 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!

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