I read oodles of travel articles every week praising the latest must-have gadget, gizmo, app, etc. for the best travel experience possible. There’s a plethora of tips & tricks out there on the internet for pretty much any situation at any destination imaginable. Really, it’s a small world to be so big… Don’t get me wrong, all of these are awesome (and I have the Pinterest boards to prove my undying love), but in my experience the number one thing you need for travel is (practically) free! It doesn’t require money or bag space; a little research helps, but really isn’t necessary; and really we should all already have the stuff to make it. What is this miracle you ask? Patience.
(Insert dramatic pause for eye-rolling.)
Okay, I know it seems like common sense, but it never fails to surprise me how many people don’t utilize patience as their greatest asset – especially when traveling. We invest so much time and resources into planning the perfect experience, but life rarely plays along 100%. (What would be the fun in that?) No matter how many back-up plans you have in place, your best bet to a pleasant experience is to pack a little (extra) patience alongside that super excited attitude.
I can’t tell you how many times being patient (and persistent) has saved a trip and/or experience for me. It also makes me worry a bit about the state of the world when customer service reps are so taken aback by a little kindness and understanding. No, being patient doesn’t solve the issue every time, but it certainly ups my odds – especially in comparison to the apoplectic guy standing next to me.
So how do you find patience in impossible situations? If possible, take a break and walk away for a bit. Give yourself whatever pep talk necessary to present a calm and reasonable front (even if you don’t feel it inside). Breathe deep. Then breathe even deeper. Once more for good measure. Or lock yourself in the bathroom and cry it all out. Call someone who loves you and have a good rant. Tell yourself every silly joke you can think of. In short, do whatever you can to distract yourself from the initial irritation and/or panic. Acting on those emotions doesn’t leave anyone feeling better about the situation (or at least it shouldn’t).
I don’t always succeed at feeling as patient as I try to pretend to be. Sometimes I don’t succeed at pretending to be patient. I’m only human. But I also try to remember that whoever’s at the other end of this issue is also human – and that chances are this isn’t their fault. I think that sometimes we all get caught up in the excitement/nerves/anxiety/etc. of our lives – especially when it comes to travel – and forget that we’re responsible for our own actions and attitudes. If you can step out of your bubble and pull out some patience, you’re almost guaranteed greater success and much more fun! It also helps to remember that one day, eventually, all those crazy moments will make for epic travel stories!