To me travel is equal to fun. And I don’t just mean the destination – I love the journey – airport and airplane included. Air travel is what taught me to see the good in every situation and try to find the bright side.
For many years I traveled weekly in my role as a consultant. Often I was in and out of places in a day spending more time at the airport and on a plane then at my destination (or home for that matter!). Travel slowly lost it’s luster and I became a stereotype – bitter, overworked, consultant working my way up the corporate ladder. I knew I had to make a change but I didn’t know what. Truth is, I really enjoyed the work I was doing with clients. It wasn’t the work that needed to change; it was me.
So I set out to reclaim the joy I found as kid when I got to board an airplane – after all, I was literally getting in an aircraft and FLYING THROUGH THE AIR. This is the stuff dreams are made of! Little attitude changes made a big difference:
- Looking out the window instead of absorbing myself in some other movie I had already seen or, worse yet, working. There are some truly breathtaking views from the sky:
- The places you are visiting. For example the approach into landing at Washington National airport is essentially a birds eye view tour of the monuments, National Mall and the White House.
- The places you aren’t visiting – yet. I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time by air on my to California. I later returned and saw it on foot. Both views were amazing.
- The world above the clouds. Again, how cool is it that we, as humans, can float above the clouds?
- Not putting in my headphones and “don’t talk to me” face right away. I have met some truly remarkable people sitting on the plane and heard fascinating stories – some of which I’ll recount on this blog!
- Remembering that the people working at the airport and on the planes are not Mother Nature – they do not control the weather or a number of other factors. Instead of asking them what they could do for me when a flight got cancelled I started leading with “at times like this you must be swamped with negativity. What can I do to make today just a little bit better?” Followed up with a candy bar of course! Both our moods were lifted and, as an added bonus, they were generally willing to bend over backwards to help get me to my destination!
- Doing away with day trips and staying awhile. I recognize that I was fortunate to be able to more or less dictate my schedule. I honored that privilege by seeing (and eating) something in each city I visited be it big or small.
And like that, travel was fun again. Sure I still had work to do (and the hours remained long) but I was no longer wasting my time – I embraced each destination (even the one’s that didn’t seem like they would have anything to offer – I’m looking at you Arkansas – where I was proven wrong). I met wonderful people. I was fulfilled.
Life, as it is prone to do, didn’t stay the same for long. Somewhere in the chaos I found the love of my life, married and had a child. I slowed down on the travel when my son was born. Eventually, opportunity presented itself for my husband and I quit my job and moved our family to the Middle East. Travel is no longer for work and I am getting to explore a whole new corner of the globe – this time with my family!
My main goal these days is to see and experience as many different cultures, places and food as I can while fostering a sense of adventure in my little one. Join me on the journey!
Shine on my friends!