7 Mindset Tips for Traveling
- Wake Up Early
I’m reminded of a quote from one of the greatest philosophers of our time.
“There’s no such thing as spare time, no such thing as free time, no such thing as down time. All you got it life time."
Did I say philosopher? I meant angry lead singer of 80s hardcore punk band, Black Flag, but the point still stands- get yourself out of bed and get moving.
Do you ever get that feeling when you’re awake super early, and you’re the only one around and you feel like it’s ‘your day’, and you welcome everyone else as they join you on your day:
“Oh, hi! Welcome to my day! You’ve missed a glorious three hours already, let me catch you up to speed."
When you’re traveling, the amount of things to see and do goes up a ridiculous amount, and if you’re only waking up at midday, just think of the things you miss. The sunrise, the locals setting up market stalls, the roosters crowing- you’re gonna want to soak that stuff in, because it’s far more interesting than the inside of your eyelids.
- Laugh at Yourself
In foreign countries where you don’t speak the language, you’re going to get laughed at. I remember I had stopped in the mountains, and I started talking to a few people. They would say something in their local language, and I would immediately start trying to translate things I wanted to say, using books, translators and hand gestures that would put the world’s charades champion to shame. Only to be given an immediate response in the same, local language.
When they could see I was obviously confused, their first reaction was to laugh. Literally pointing, laughing.
What’s a guy to do? Simple. Laugh at yourself. The road is no place for anger and humility will always bring better consequences.
In the end, they noticed I had a guitar and we sat and played for a bit. If they laughed at my guitar playing though, that would be a different story.
- Don’t Give Up
If you listened to the last episode, you’ll have heard the story of how Meg Jerrard saved for her travels. She caught the travel bug, realised that it was something she wanted, and strived for it. She worked two full time jobs whilst studying full time. She’d regularly work 6am-11pm, and the most she worked was 110 odd hours a week.
They key takeaway here is that she didn’t give up. She knew that it was something she wanted, and she made it happen. So remember this, whether you think that you can’t live a life of travel and wonder, or that you can- you’re right.
- Open Your Mind
“Oh I would never do that, it’s not my thing.” often transforms into “I can’t believe how amazing that was” with the catalyst of “Go on, I guess I’ll give it a go."
That happens a lot more than you think.
Remember that you are not you. I know that sounds weird, but, hear me out. You are not this person that has likes and dislikes, things they do, things they don’t do - you are just ‘You So Far’. Not a lot of people pack up and move to New Zealand to be a skydiving instructor out of the blue - what happens a lot though, is they’re in New Zealand, get talked into going skydiving and realise that it’s the thing they love most in the world.
So the advice here is not to just try new things. But to try every-thing. Everything that’s offered to you (fatal allergies aside) should be considered deeply. You are a gold miner, and your pan is filled with experiences, and each pan full you get has the potential to contain a big nugget- so don’t throw away half of the pan before you’ve explored it.
- Don’t Believe the News
Would you believe me if I said “I had a terrible time in India, it’s so corrupt.”?
Would you believe me if I said “My time in India was life changing. I fell in love, learnt about myself and found the most welcoming people in the world.”?
I’d rather you didn’t believe either. Why? Because you’re seeing it through my lens.
With the news, it gets a little deeper. It’s more like I have an interest in you liking or not liking India- so my review of the place is.. coloured with intention?
Don’t not go to Bangkok because a report said it’s bad for backpackers. Don’t not go to Greece because a report said it’s a terrible time to visit.
You’ll form your own opinion of a place by visiting it and experiencing it, and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
By the way, the second review of mine about India is true. But go find out for yourself.
- Say ‘Yes!'
If you’ve listened to the show for a while, you might have heard my eight-fingered Vietnamese man story.
The twitter version is: I had just arrived in Saigon, bag on my back, looking around and an eight fingered old man parked up next to me on his motorbike. He hands me a book. “If you’re reading this, you’re standing in front of Captain Kim; go with this man.”
Obviously I said yes, hopped on his bike and had the most amazing time in the Mekong Delta.
I cannot count the number of times that saying ‘Yes!’ has led to something amazing. The best was saying ‘Yes!’ when I really wanted to say ‘No.’ This word has so much power. It’s like someone knowing there’s a nugget of gold in your pan and asking you if you want to have a look or throw it away.
As often as you can, say ‘Yes!’ to everything.
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (It’s all small stuff)
This one is one that you learn after traveling for a while, but it’s so important.
What were you doing on this day, one year ago? I can’t remember either, but if I didn’t know that it’s all small stuff, I would probably have been stressing about something that was SURE to put my life in a downward spiral and send me on a course that I would never come back from.
You’d think I’d remember that a year out?
However big a problem may seem, you’re not going to remember it. And it won’t take a long time at all to forget it.
Checking in for a flight into New Delhi, I was told “You can’t check in.”
Check in closed in twenty minutes.
Apparently in order to get into India, I needed a flight out. Was I going to be stranded in an airport, nowhere to go, travel plans ruined? Of course not, the chicken place had free wifi. I bought a flight to the first place that came up near India (Kathmandu) and checked in. No problems.
What if there was no wifi? I would have sorted it out. What if my battery was gone? I would have sorted it out. What if, going to the chicken place I tripped, broke both legs and knocked myself out on a table?
When I woke up I would have sorted out both a flight and wheelchair.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. And don’t forget- it’s all small stuff.