Ask anyone what they would like to do more of and I’m confident that the majority of them would give the same one-word answer: travel. Travel is the thing we aspire to, the thing we plan for, and the thing we can’t wait to embark on. Travel is, for lack of a better word, freedom. Unless it isn’t, like when you travel for work.
Traveling for work is a beating, and it’s a beating because you don’t have a say in where you’re going, or when, or how long you’re going to be there. You go because you have business to attend to. This can take a significant toll on you, especially if you find yourself traveling fairly often. Constantly being on the move and away from the creature comforts of home has a way of making even the most seasoned of travelers feel tired and burnt out. Somewhere down the line, travel becomes less of a novelty and more of a burden. But what if we could diminish the law of diminishing returns (see what I did there? Redundancy for effect.)?
We can, and it all starts up here (he says, as he points to his noggin) with mindfulness. Having the right mindset, or setting the right expectations for a trip, is what’s going to lessen the strain of travel–at least a little bit–and here’s how.
PRACTICE PRACTICING YOUR PRACTICE OF CHOICE
One of the biggest casualties of life as a road warrior is the rhythm of the day. Let’s say that you are a consistent practitioner of yoga and every morning you give your salutations to the sun as it rises and start your day with loosened muscles and a clear head. Your alarm is set to the same time, you wake up in a comfortable setting, and you’re ready to hit the ground running—er, posing. This doesn’t happen on the road. The beds are different, the setting is different, the practice is different, and the time zones may be different; any of which can stop us from continuing our morning routine. Don’t. Fight through it. Work on continuing your practice from wherever you are. After all, it’s called practice for a reason, it’s not supposed to be easy.
The same goes for hitting the gym while on the road. Sure, most hotels have fitness rooms, but you and I both know that those are nothing but glorified closets outfitted to look like a Bowflex infomercial, which is enough to repel even the most dedicated of gym rats. Face that discomfort and keep trekking. It’s called a “workout” for crying out loud. It’s supposed to be work.
SURRENDER TO THE FLOW
As you just read, being on the road is not easy. It requires a suspension of the norm, and a lot of people don’t love that. But one thing is for sure: while on the road, there are things you cannot control. You can’t control that there may not be an organic food store within 100 miles of where you’re staying. You can’t control that the shower pressure is reminiscent of a water fountain. And you sure as hell can’t control that the bed may be too soft for your liking. But what you can control is how much that affects you.
As a little band so eloquently says, “the trick [to eternal joy and never-ending splendor] is to surrender to the flow”. Stop fighting against that which cannot be defeated and find a way to exist harmoniously within this “flow”. This does more than save your sanity. It allows for you to stop seeing things as detriments and allows you to start seeing them as opportunities. The gym doesn’t have enough weights for you and the other 15 people in the “gym”? Don’t write off your workout for the day, go for a run, or do some squats and pushups, instead. Your body (and mind) will thank you.
Ok, so not every town is going to be New York, or Chicago, or San Francisco, but there is something to see everywhere. Talk to the locals and see what local fare there is to be had. Find the best restaurant that isn’t a Chili’s (no offense) and go there for dinner. Maybe just walk around and see how life in [insert city name here] differs from life in [insert city where you live]. Don’t think there is anything to be seen where you’re going? There is, trust me. If I can find somewhere to go in Appleton, Wisconsin, you can find somewhere to go almost anywhere. For reals, there are bars in every city, and locals that populate them. Get a drink and strike up a conversation. You never know what kind of adventure you’ll wind up having.
Until next time – safe travels