Travel Frame of Mind....

Mind over Matter - If you don't mind ..... It doesn't matter

It is spring here in Oregon.... and just as the sap begins to rise in the maple trees... thoughts of travel begin to well up in the Knowmad. Travel remembered or anticipated is richly clothed in mystery, excitement and adventure. Travel itself, however, often arrives ladened with details, fears, loved-ones lleft behind, and responsibilities postponed.  Put less poetically, travel is often more appealing in concept than in actuality. As a business traveler who leaves home for 3 to 6 weeks at a time, I can't remember ever actually wanting to go on the trip as I was leaving for the airport. I have noticed the same trend in other travelers. I used to coordinate business travel for a project in Egypt and have had people call me up a few days before departure to tell me that they have changed their mind and are just too busy to go after all. I have learned the value of emotional support those few days before travel. You really need to tell yourself and those traveling with you, that: (1) everything at home will be OK, (2) You can deal with any unforeseen problems what may arise, and (3) that this whole thing in going to be FUN!

So Let's do the routine:

[1] Everything at home WILL be OK. What's going to happen? If the house catches on fire, the fire department will put it out! There is no sick plumbing, appliance, or pet that can't be fixed by a plumber, repairman, veterinarian. Chill out...

[2] The curse of the unknown: So, what can happen? If you forget your toothbrush or socks...believe it or not, you can buy these in Egypt. And if you have to use a shrub branch instead of a toothbrush in Somalia... it is not going to kill you... I once left for the middle east without a passport. The US State Department was supposed to send it to JFK airport in New York City so that I could pick it up when I changed planes headed for Amman, Jordan. I had no idea how the exchange was to take place, but figured that if I did not get my passport, I would treat myself to a couple of days seeing the sights of New York City, then fly home. When I changed planes, the flight attendant on the new flight had my passport. I was almost disappointed... Things will work out...

[3] This trip is going to be FUN. All my trips are fun.. because I make them fun. Fun doesn't just happen... it is created. If you are bored, it is your own fault! There is always something fun to do. I was once stranded for half a day in the airport in Mazatlan, Mexico. I got a bottle of beer and spent several hours studying the social interactions of the flies that seemed to be available in unending supply...they are very territorial and engage in some pretty vicious fights... very enlightening... I now understand why when a fly lands on your head and you shoo it away, it returns to the same spot... Yup, territory...

Travel Frame of Mind Trip Tips...

Don't Panic. 
The worst case scenario almost never happens... so don't even consider it! 

Be a Problem Solver. If you have a problem, let's find an acceptable solution.You are not the first person to have have this problem,... so solutions must exist!  If you miss your connection to London and must divert to Amsterdam... that is OK... there are a lot of flights out of Amsterdam and it is really a wonderful city for travelers. I love Amsterdam... good public transportation, friendly people, beautiful scenery... people PAY to go there on vacation! The airline employees want to help you find a solution to your travel problems. Treat them as partners in problem solving not as the source of your difficulties. Maybe they can give you a free hotel and meals in Amsterdam?

Accept the Inevitable . Hey, when the plane is delayed... it is delayed. There are lots of things in life that you can not control. So, let's not dwell on the negative, lets see if we can pass the time pleasantly. I spend so some much travel time waiting, that I have tried to make it a formal field of thought... the "art of waiting"... or "waitingology"? I like to people-watch.. or talk to other travelers who are also waiting... or find an unguarded electric plug, open my laptop and play computer games....

Don't Whine! Nobody likes a whiner. And, trust me on this, no matter how bad you think things presently are... they can always get get worse! This is a principle that I learned first hand during my youth in the US Marine Corps. Just when I thought that I was as miserable as a human being could possibly be without actually dieing, things took a nasty turn for the worst. So, just be thankful for the things that are good at the moment. You may be tired, bored, hungry, and stressed.... but you are warm and dry, bugs are not feasting on you...bad people are not trying to kill you, and you have endless options for entertainment if you will just quit WHINING......

Embrace change. Be open to new things.That is what travel is all about... experiencing new things.... eating lamb brains with your fingers in a small street side restaurant in Marrakesh Morocco...that is the FUN part of travel! 

Always carry a black or blue ink pen to fill out entry or exit paperwork. I also carry 5 small dice and rite-in-the-rain waterproof pocket notebook. With these I can play Yahtzee if I get bored. The notebook contains contact information for my hotels as well as email addresses of my friends and local phone numbers for business contacts in country. A waterproof notebook is really good for hot climates where everything in your pocket gets sodden with sweat. 

Travel On
Steve Sharrow

In a passenger plane
I’ve seen some things I’d Never seen before

On Kenya Air
An older man
Whose carry-on was a door

On Egypt air
A hyperactive child
Who bounced from ceiling to floor

On TransWorld Air
A wall duct-taped up
Because it stood no more

United seats so tiny
Our shoulders overlap
My butt all pinched and sore
Time zones pass quickly
Day is night and night is day Body function confused to its core

Cheesy curls and diet coke for dinner
Sun chips and raisins for breakfast
My stomach is at war

And yet I travel on
Because the horizon is there Focusing adventure’s lure

My life is so small
The universe so large
That is what I do this for...