Blog: Simplify Your Life
Travel And Expectations -- Not A Good Mix
Matt and I just had one of those day trips where nothing goes right -- things that should have been open were closed, other people kept getting in our way, we came across 3 different patches of road construction, you name it. I could have been irritated about getting off schedule, bit instead we went ahead and had a great day -- because we didn't let our expectations get in the way. It's all about going with the flow.
Keeping It In Perspective
We've talked a lot about physical preparations for your vacation -- but getting into the right mindset is just as important. Many people treat travel like another to-do list, a series of activities to check off and "complete." There's nothing wrong with having expectations for your trip -- I mean, who doesn't hope to see the Eiffel Tower when they go to Paris, or have a beignet in New Orleans?
The trick is to avoid being disappointed when life gets in the way of your plans. You can be as organized as you want, but things don't always work out as intended. And you are setting yourself up for disappointment if your happiness hinges on getting to do a certain thing or see a particular site.
Take a minute to determine ahead of time what you desire from your trip -- then ask yourself if you can shift those expectations just a bit. Take an "I want" that could leave you disappointed, and turn it into something that you are guaranteed to accomplish. What MUST happen to make this a successful trip? For example, if you say "I have to visit the Louvre" (can you tell that I'm stuck on French travel, today?), you need to accept the fact that it just might not happen. You could get there and discover that the museum is closed for renovation. Or the line may be so long that you can't get in before they close. Perhaps a better goal would be "I want to experience art and culture in Paris." This can happen at an open-air market where painters and sculptors are selling their work. Or you might wander down the left bank and stop to watch someone create a watercolor plein air. You could hit any of a number of other museums, or window-shop in a district full of galleries. In all of these scenarios, you have accomplished your travel goal. And should you be able to visit the Louvre, then that's just the icing on top of the cake!
Keeping It Real
Of course, this is a very esoteric, zen sort of solution to the problem of travel planning. But you may have certain activities that really do NEED to happen for you to enjoy the trip. If I had flown all the way to India and NOT had a chance to visit the Taj Mahal, I would have been pissed -- so I made it a priority to get my butt to Agra, skipping a few other possibly amazing experiences to guarantee that it happened.
Successful travel planning means prioritizing -- recognizing that you will not be able to do everything on your trip, choosing those items that are most important, and letting go of the rest. Which sights it would disappoint you to miss? Those get bumped to the top of the list. Which ones would you like to visit? Fit those into your itinerary if you have time, but don't stress over them if you don't. And don't even write down those activities you could live without! You're wondering if I practice what I preach in my own life? When I go to Dragon Con, I'm planning to walk right past the comic artists and porn stars -- I'm committed to seeing Terry Gilliam while I'm there. That's my priority!
Another way to prevent disappointment is to anticipate problems before they occur. Many times, the difficulties and frustrations we experience on one trip are duplicated over and over again as we travel. We get caught up in patterns that make life difficult -- running late, overpacking, failing to get directions before you head out, whatever. No shame in that, just recognize your tendencies and do what you can to prevent those problems from cropping up this time around. Also understand that, despite your best efforts, things may not go perfectly throughout the entire trip. Be flexible and have other options (and a sense of humor) ready if your schedule gets off track. The more willing you are to accept that you can not control every (or any!) aspect of travel -- to face difficulties and delays with a good attitude -- the less disruptive these little frustrations will be if they do occur. Happy travels!
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posted on: 12/7/2010 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips
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Simplify Your Life
by Ramona Creel
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I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!
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