Nobody loves standing in long security lines. Just like no one is thrilled by the fact that most airline seats only recline about four inches. Getting sick on vacation is the worst, so is getting on the wrong train and not realizing it for hours, or realizing it’s a holiday in “X” country and everything is closed for three days.
But people who love to travel, door to door — not just when they arrive at their resort do exist in real life. These people almost always have a great flight, no matter what. People whose trips got rained out, or who missed connecting flights, or who got lost, or who even had passports stolen — smile and say, “It was great! A dream trip!” when you ask them how their trip was. They proceed to tell you the full exciting tale.
So what’s their secret?
They’ve let go of the Perfectionist Mindset and adopted the Adventure Mindset. The difference between these two paradigms changes everything.
The Perfectionist sets unrealistically high expectations for themselves, others, and situations — and when things don’t go well, they often fall into self-blame or blaming others. The Adventurer makes a plan and is prepared, but is willing to roll with what comes along that might not fit with “The Master Plan.”
The Perfectionist often avoids risk and only goes with the obvious path in an attempt to avoid “failure.” The Adventurer is less concerned with control and more interested in creative approaches and critical thinking when it comes to problem solving.
The Perfectionist focuses on what isn’t working and is often impatient and critical. The Adventurer sees what’s going well and what there is to be grateful for and is quick to offer appreciation, flexibility, and help in tough situations.
As author and coach Naomi Teeter points out, the Adventurer knows how to ask “quality questions” when faced with a challenge, questions like:
- What’s the best thing that could happen from this?
- Hasn’t everything worked out just fine in the past? Aren’t I OK?
- What if I chose to be happy and carefree about this instead?
- What is this teaching me?
- How could I turn this into a great story?
- What can I do differently next time so that this doesn’t happen?
- Bend, don’t break
It’s all too easy to fall into the Perfectionist Mindset, in travel and in life. But at any moment, we can choose something different. We can always choose an attitude of adventure. And as any lifelong traveler will attest, that can make all the difference. So what happens when everything goes wrong and we find ourselves sitting in an airport, hotel, or in a plane seat with The Perfectionist mentality? It’s time to take a huge, deep breath and let it all go. On the inhale, take the Adventurer mentality. Check back in with the above list. Review it. Maybe read it again. More deep breaths. Let’s dive into the list.
What’s the best thing that could happen from this?
Surely things could be worse. After all, this is vacation which means you have freedom. Freedom to pick another activity if it’s pouring rain, or if the museum is closed due to maintenance. Maybe the master plan could be rearranged to make the most of the day.
Hasn’t everything worked out just fine in the past? Aren’t I OK?
Since you’re reading this, the answer is obviously “yes.” Yes, things have gone wrong in the past but you made it through whatever it was. Sometimes the way things eventually work out is better than they were originally planned. Sometimes the best adventures come from something falling apart that led to that awesome adventure opportunity.
What if I chose to be happy and carefree about this instead?
Oof this one is hard. The Perfectionist wants to fight to make things totally perfect again. But often times that option is off the table. Two choices exist then: let it fester, overthink it, stay mad about it. Or let it become the past. Move forward in the best way possible. The adventurer mindset is happy to be on vacation – any vacation in any weather, on any plane, on any tour.
What is this teaching me?
A huge benefit of travel is that is always teaches us, keeps us exploring the new. There’s a lesson in here somewhere that will make us a better person (eventually, after the stewing is over probably).
How could I turn this into a great story?
The worst travel failures often make awesome stories once you get back home. Jot down a few notes or chronological thoughts about the situation that has gone wrong. There’s sure to be a great story in there somewhere. It may be one you’ll laugh about for years to come.
What can I do differently next time so that this doesn’t happen?
This circles back to the “what is this teaching me?” question. Sure, a whole lot of travel mishaps are completely out of our control. But sometimes we can learn from one and better yet, learn how to avoid the situation in the future.
Bend, don’t break
The Adventure Mindset bends – it’s flexible. It doesn’t break. Breaking rarely makes the situation better or more manageable. Bending, on the other hand, brings about a flexibility to choose the outcome and mood for the rest of the day. Bending eventually straightens again. Breaking is harder to recover from.
Where is your next adventure taking you?
If you’re ready to plan your next great adventure, we’d love to help you get there. We can’t control the weather or if your row mate on a flight hogs the armrest, but we can plan your perfect itinerary! We’ll send you off on a worry-free, fully-planned vacation. You just have to get on that flight and relax! Let’s get planning today!
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