I had an opportunity to travel and spend a week in one of the hottest climates of North America for a music festival that I knew would equally excite and drain me physically and emotionally.
Before departing, I could already anticipate all these frivolous anxieties...
"What if I run out of money?"
"What if I have a bad time?"
"What if I get sick?"
"What if I get sick of the people I travel with?
Luckily, none of the aforementioned occurred, but it shouldn't really be called luck that we are blessed with.
Most of us in North American society are blessed with the opportunity and the time to travel, take time off, disconnect, and reconnect with those kinships that we spend time with on the road, yet 75% of us barely tap into the two factors - disconnecting and reconnecting with those around us.
If you spend so much time trivializing the situation of whom that you are going to meet up with, matching up your day-to-day planned itinerary, and are so focused on living behind your camera screen - rather than focusing on working on building the respect out of those you are currently on the road with - what tone will you set for the entirety of your trip?
EXPECTATIONS vs. REALITY
Everyone has their own definition of 'fun' and the 'ideal adventure,' that is in no way, limited to what your inner child believes or how unattached it may be to any branded experiences or circumstances. By focusing less on having the branded five-star rated experience and not having to compare your experience to anyone else's previous vacations - sometimes it's not about your room upgrade, how many drinks it took you to do a handstand, or the fancy cocktail that you had the pleasure of downing but the more miniscule "A-HA!" moments that can easily be turned over to a new leaf.
I've been a firm believer of lessening the effort and expectations of whatever will come out of travelling; while putting in some effort, but not too much, caring a little bit, but not over-watering the plans. Ideally, I've come to foster a fine balance between fun and accumulated stress and tension.
Some days, it's convenient to pre-plan certain visits to highly acclaimed restaurants, bars, touristy destinations, events, and nightlife activities for the general sake of avoiding large amounts of human traffic and moving through the natural flow of business. Other days, it's an amazing eye-opener to find hole in the wall, family-run cafes and temporary pop-up events that you literally happen to walk upon within minutes.
It's easy to take on archetypal travel roles - one person will constantly plan, one person will lazily do nothing, one person will constantly take the lead with directions, etc. It's even more effortless to drop all these roles, give up control of pre-determining how certain results will occur in your favour, or not, and embracing the general spontaneity and surprise that travel can bring.
IN THE PAST
A LOT of compassion and respect comes into play here - I used to disrespect my own wants and the company I travelled with for more spontaneous and delightful impulses (i.e. strolling off when in crowded groups, missing scheduled meet-up times, not answering my phone, the list rambles on...)
I selfishly wanted to seek out a thrilling adventure on my own. This jolted both the relationship I had with myself and the dynamic of building the trust and dependability with those that I traveled with. In a way, I was further distancing myself from what was right in front of me - all the love and altruistic support that I needed and yet I kept running away trying to seek it out in a stranger.
Respect is not paid in the form of reciprocation or making up for lost time. It is not an eye for an eye or an equalized payment for the service or deed received. It's being able to share your wealth of knowledge, responsibility, care, love, and honour when your travel buddies may be lacking capacity or energy in and being able to contribute soundly as a team. I have such grand appreciation for being able to find such a good group of people that I truly enjoyed the company with and respected so deeply.
And so, I am making a conscious, disciplined effort to spend more time, to accommodate, and to nourish those that I choose to travel and spend time with. In the end, lasting memories are created not by the luxurious locations that you visit, but the amazing souls that you get to experience them with :)