As discussed in my first post, people who travel often can start to focus on the hassles of traveling instead of the excitement and joy it can bring. After a while, constant travelers would rather be at home enjoying the stability of not having anywhere to go. Quotes from the film The Accidental Tourist elaborate:
"While armchair travelers dream of going places, traveling armchairs dream of staying put."
The fact is that sometimes traveling is just plain tiring.
"Oh, travel...it's just red tape, mostly, ticket lines, customs lines..."
We have to deal with post-9/11 security measures, some of which are Big Brother-esque, like the TSA body scanners. We can't bring drinks onto planes unless we spent money on them after having gone through security. Then there's the lack of leg room, dry air, airborne illnesses, crying babies, small talk, and disappointing meal and entertainment options on international flights. We have to wait in seemingly endless lines at customs in foreign countries - it once took me two hours to clear customs at Heathrow! It was the holidays... We have to arrange for transportation to and from airports and train stations that isn't always reliable - I once waited from 11:30pm to 1:15am for a hotel shuttle to pick me up in Toronto. We have to deal with jet lag, unfamiliar beds and sub-standard lodging conditions, and unhelpful staff once we've finally reached our destinations. And if there's a language barrier, well, good luck. We have to exchange our money for theirs and try to work out the exchange rates in our heads...
Sometimes traveling presents more hassles than enjoyment. When this occurs, how do we avoid the fatigue that follows?
1. Take everything with a grain of salt. Remember that most people on the planet don't have the opportunities that you do. Remember that tomorrow is a new day and you can start fresh. Remember that missing your plane is really a minuscule problem compared to the child in the Ukraine who's growing up malnourished in a dilapidated orphanage. Don't lose your perspective.
2. Remember your purpose and celebrate the small victories. Are you there to have fun? Then focus on the great memories and look for ways to laugh at the crap you're dealing with. Are you there to work? Then celebrate your productivity. If you accomplished your work or leisure goals, you followed your purpose for taking the trip to begin with. Don't let the negative stuff take that away from you.
3. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! So you missed your flight. Bad day. But hey, now you have a chance to go to that museum or beach or theme park you didn't have time for! Or you could sleep, get some work done, skype people you haven't spoken to in a while, catch up on your favorite TV shows.... the possibilities are endless! I know, I know, sometimes you just want to be home already! Trust me, I've been there. It's in that state of mind when you have to refer to numbers 1, 2, 4 & 5.
4. Hassles come with the territory. You can't escape the airport security. You can't escape the exorbitant food and beverage prices. You can't count on other people to live on your schedule, and you can't count on a perfect night's sleep. You can't count on beating traffic or the crowds, and you can't count on your experiences living up to your expectations. Sometimes, life happens. But you'll be able to take the knowledge you gained from a bad experience and apply it to your next trip. Next time, you'll be more prepared, or at least you'll be less shocked.
5. The one thing you can count on is the fact that your trip will end. The good stuff will be over, and you'll wish it wasn't. The bad stuff will be over, and you'll be glad it is. Either way, stay positive and make the most of your time away from home!
Check out some websites for tips on how to slow down, get more sleep and avoid jet lag: