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One of the things I try to avoid is getting into a rut and generally making life too easy for myself. However, this is usually in the realm of work or study and expanding my areas of interest.
Firstly, this keeps me on my toes. Secondly, I need to follow my own advice about personal growth which means challenging yourself from time to time to build resilience. Finally, giving yourself something hard to do enhances self-esteem, keeps the brain sharp and lets you know trying new stuff doesn’t have to be scary.
With this in mind, I recently embarked on a one-month travel extravaganza to meet up with family and friends in Europe and the UK. What a blast, what an experience, what a challenge! If you missed me, I’m back…it’s been a while.
I’ve spent the last few days trying to recover from said trip and the ensuing jet lag, along with processing all the sights, sounds and experiences of my travels. It started in New Zealand, then moved to Hong Kong, onwards to Barcelona, the Mediterranean, Southern England, London, then back to Hong Kong and home. Phew!
Those who know me might be impressed with this endeavour as it’s common knowledge that I’m not really a happy little traveller. This kind of trip might seem normal for most people but not for me, no way. Being a homebody, I love the safety and comfort of my things around me, familiar and reassuring. Most of my challenges are intellectual so this was a whole other kettle of fish.
Being a fan of order, organisation and things running smoothly to a plan, travel can be anything but those things, so boy was I way out of my comfort zone! Nevertheless, it was thrilling, engaging and mildly overwhelming a lot of the time but I’m chuffed to have done it.
A few initial reflections:
1. There are a lot of people in the world! – yes, stating the bleeding obvious I know but yikes so many people of different shapes, sizes, colours, attitudes, beliefs, opinions, all trying to make their way in life just like you and me.
Lesson: We’re all doing the best we can so let’s live and let live.
2. The road to hell is paved with good plans – no matter how well my family, friends and I tried to make rock solid plans, for example where to meet up each day, it never worked properly as we all understood the plans differently.
Lesson: Plans don’t always work perfectly so be flexible when things change as they inevitably do. (I’m not good at this!)
3. Discomfort doesn’t last forever – when experiencing an uncomfortable or challenging situation, for example lots of turbulence on a long-haul flight – tell yourself that it is temporary and will come to an end. At some point you will land!
Lesson: Even though things can feel very difficult at the time, keep focused on the fact that the situation won’t last forever.
4. People don’t do things the way you do and that’s ok – when travelling with other people, it can be frustrating that they operate differently but also heartening to notice that you can get along despite these differences.
Lesson: We don’t all have to be the same to get along with each other. Vive la difference!
It’s wonderful to embark on great adventures but also reassuring to come home to what you know and love. When the wheels of the final plane touched down in Wellington last Wednesday, I was happy to be home and have been sleeping ever since…..zzzzz.
Take care and be kind to each other
P.S. Did wake up to write this post though so all good.