Language in Bloom

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The Big Picture

I’ve traveled quite a bit in the three short decades I’ve spent on earth. I’ve had some great trips, some mediocre trips, and some bad trips; the one thing they all have in common is that they’ve taught me valuable lessons about traveling. More specifically, with each trip I learn more about my own anxieties and how to deal with those that are aggravated by traveling. In this series of blog posts about travel tips, I’ll mention some of my more peculiar anxieties and how I deal with them before and during travel.

If I become overwhelmed or anxious at any point during the preparation of a trip or while traveling, it helps to remind myself of the big picture. Whether I’m going on a trip for work or for pleasure, I picture what I will actually be doing while away from home. For a business trip, stress about packing the right clothes is calmed by focusing on the rejuvenated motivation that comes with working alongside my creative colleagues. For pleasure, I imagine exploring a new city and taking in my surroundings. Usually, the images I conjure up have nothing at all to do with the things I pack or what happens in transit.

Over the years, I’ve also realized that as long as you have 1) ID (either driver’s license or passport, depending on your destination), and 2) money & credit or debit cards, you can get through pretty much any situation. You can replace anything that you may have forgotten at home, you can stay at a hotel in the event of a canceled flight, you can change your mind and buy a return ticket home (I’ve never done this, but have been tempted). In addition, of course, you also need a healthy dose of patience and humor to get you through a sticky situation.

Of course, I have loads of other tips for anxious travelers like myself, but thinking about the big picture and remembering that all I really need on a trip is myself, ID, money, and a positive perspective are my first steps to quell any anxieties that come up while traveling.

Great Wall of China

*A previous version of this post appeared in Shenandoah Valley Language Services blog in 2013. 

Written by

Tammy Bjelland
Language lover, teacher & coach.

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