Stress-Free Travel: When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Don’t cry over spilled wine

After a wonderful weekend in Colorado Springs we had to switch hotels that last night. After quickly packing our car up and arriving at the new hotel around 10 PM we grabbed Josh’s bag out of the trunk without realizing it wasn’t fully zipped. All of his clothes along with a very nice (expensive) bottle of red wine went crashing to the ground. His business attire, and other clothes for the weekend were all quickly dyed with red wine. The photo shows the stain the morning after from the wine, you can only imagine what it did to his clothes!

$%^#!

What do you do next? Begin to speak in four letter words about how you have to buy new clothes and that you wasted a delicious bottle of wine? Or do you say we will replace the clothes, there will always be more bottles of wine and not let it ruin your trip?

Remember these 4 tips to avoid stress while traveling:

1. Set your expectations correctly

If you expect everything to go 100% as planned on any trip whether it is a year-long or only a few days, you will be disappointed. You can over-plan any trip but without a doubt there will be delays at the airport, confusion with your reservations or spilled wine on a new business shirt. Realizing that something will almost always go wrong and practicing the art of looking past the uncontrollable, or better yet learning to get over it!

2. Be thankful for your experiences

When mishaps happen and you feel the frustration or anger start to build up, stop and remind yourself of all the blessings in your life. When we spilled the wine we were in the middle of a great trip to Colorado, had spent the day hiking overlooking beautiful mountain ranges and refused to let this accident ruin our trip. Yes, these accidents can cause a big inconvenience and some will be more expensive than others, but we were thankful for our trip and didn’t let the need to buy a new wardrobe for Josh get us down. Think about who you are with, where you are, and the experience you are having and realize that almost always the big picture is hardly affected by what happened.

3. Accidents happen

You can’t control everything, you have already learned from step one to not expect everything to be perfect. A lot of things will be out of your control and then there will be times when they are in your control but you simply make a mistake. An honest mis-step of looking at the wrong bus time and having to wait 5 hours for the next departure, or forgetting to get cash out of an ATM and spending double what you had expected, these accidents can leave you mad at yourself and mad at the world. Give yourself a break and take a deep breath. You are not perfect (and that is ok!). You have the power to forgive yourself and reject negative thoughts. There is not enough time in the day to spend an extra hour pouting over an accident.

4. Eat healthy, get sleep and exercise

When things don’t go your way but your body is relaxed and taken care of, you are far less likely to freak out over any situation. If you feel angry go for a run, if your body feels run down get an extra two hours of sleep that night, and always keep putting in clean healthy foods so that your body will continue to function properly. Our bodies are very sensitive to how we treat them, be nice and they will thank you with plenty of energy and endorphins to keep your mood great all day. If you mindlessly eat, forget to exercise and stay out late night after night and then something happens along your trip you didn’t expect, the built-up stress can explode and you won’t handle it like you should.

What are your tips for avoiding stress when stressful situations happen?

Planning for an Unknown RTW trip

How do you plan for an event where you have no idea what to expect?

I have lists upon lists on my computer for each country… need to buy lists… destination lists… vaccinations… budget planners… need I say more? The logical part of me is glad I am embracing these new adventures with preparation and a plan, the other side of me is saying how can you prepare youself for something you know so little about?

I have no idea what to expect when trying to eat in SE asia, or what to do when you are face to face with an elephant in Africa. How cold does it really get at night in Patagonia and is Macchu Picchu truly as spectacular as I have heard? There is a point where trust has to take over. Trusting strangers, trusting your instincts and trusting God that all will be good.

The tabs on my spreadsheet sit mostly empty. Although I know what I should be researching I find myself instead constantly reading blogs of those that are in the midst of their travels. I find myself not taking notes, but entranced by the individual experiences of a variety of cultures. My own travels will be different than what I am reading about online, but there is an excitement in knowing that I will be there soon. I will be walking and eating along the streets of Bali unsure of what to do next, but I will be experiencing life and local culture, studying their habits and jumping on opportunities as they arise.

How do you plan for the unknown? How do you research what you don’t know?

Why Does My Backpack Look So Small?

Every day closer to our departure date my backpack begins to look smaller and smaller. I realize we have committed to our year adventure in a carry on and I don’t plan to change that, but while we are still at home surrounded by our stuff it seems near impossible to believe everything I need will fit in a 36 L backpack.

Josh failing to pack on his first try

I am not complaining about wearing the same clothes over and over because that is what I do at my job currently. :) While training I wear the same black pants and top to work while washing it throughout the week. I think about what I use daily and I know it would fit in a backpack, but its the rest of the stuff and having the option to use it if I want to. It is giving up the luxury of having a blender in case you want to make a smoothie or all three seasons of Arrested Development on DVD for a sick day. You never know when you will need 15 lb dumbbells at home because you are too lazy to go to the gym or want to have the option of 10 different nail polish colors. There are a lot of things around the apartment that we use maybe once a year, they aren’t necessities and are simply taking up space for those chance occasions we want to use them.

During a recent practice packing session, Josh and I couldn’t stop laughing at the difficulty we were having. It was like trying to pack a watermelon in a coin purse. I have heard it before, to try packing your bag and then take away half of it and repack. We are getting creative and looking at everything very functionally whether we need it or not and if we can pick it up while on the road.

Grasping the idea of traveling 9 to 5 with the bare minimum is both exciting and scary. Once I take the leap I know I won’t miss my George Foreman grill but until then I will enjoy the fact that I have Netflix, magazine subscriptions and a great gym membership in Chicago.

Hopefully the bag won’t look so small once we finish getting our clothes, shoes and other gear together. We have a mini practice trip coming up in December to Florida so we will see how we like traveling with our backpacks!

Meet Plan Go: Validating My Crazy

This past week, we attended the Meet, Plan, Go Chicago event. My upcoming RTW trip and crazy idea of leaving my Midwest bubble has been validated. I sat in a room of 100 people, all with a passion for traveling and a few who had been through an extended trek around the world. We listened closely to the panelists and learned why they traveled, how they saved, and how we could do the same. Everyone wore a name tag with their next destination listed out, which was a great way to hear fascinating stories of where they had been and where they were going. I love meeting others with the same love of exploring because the conversations aren’t about what your job is and how long you have been doing it, but where you have traveled and what you hope and dream about.

I recently had been wondering if I was doing enough planning and whether we will truly be ready to leave in 2012 (~60 days!). After going though the presentation of how to plan and what to do while you are on the road, my anxiety was eased. I could answer each question for our own trip and I felt that we had done the proper research and preparation. I definitely picked up some tips from the panel on dealing with finances, packing and cultural expectations. With only two months until we leave, this event came at the perfect time for motivation and a push of excitement to get through the last minute todo’s.

I thought the 3 and a 1/2 hour event sounded long, but I could have sat for an entire day and talked travel with those in the room. Getting to meet and talk to other RTW travelers. Only a small handful of us in the room had actually planned a big long term trip, most of the 100 in the room were those with big dreams and hopeful goals in the future. If you think you’re crazy for wanting to step out of the 9 to 5 and experience what all is outside of your 10 mile circle I encourage you to sign up for the next Meet, Plan, Go event near you. Be encouraged that you aren’t the only one with dreams and crazy ideas!

Meet Plan Go Chicago

What is Traveling 9 to 5?

Traveling 9 to 5 is a movement built from a hard-working couple, living in a corporate world, who decided to take a step out of the 9 to 5 for one year and take a chance on the unknown. The more planning that we did, the more we realized you can’t plan for this type of leap – there are too many unknown factors! There will never be a good time, you will never think you have enough money and your carreer path will never be 100% planned before you leave.

There are 2 ways to jump off a cliff:

  • Stand at the edge, look down and tentatively step off
  • Take a running leap into the abyss

We are choosing to sprint off the cliff and jump as high as we can with all our might.

Work can quickly get repetitive and your motivation can dry out. A career break out of the 9 to 5 is a chance to revive your interest in life, encourage you to get outside your comfort zone and challenge your normal schema of life. You aren’t doing your company any favors punching a clock every day without putting your heart into your work. Without passion, work can drain your energy and result in just going through the motions.

Living your passion is essential to managing your stress and pursing happiness. Whatever your passion may be get involved with it, if not full time at least outside of your 9 to 5 job. Start to engage in what you love.

You have one chance at life here on earth and wasting time unhappy or stressed is letting each day pass you by. You have a choice to manage your money, rearrange your schedule and put your time and focus into making a difference. There will always be excuses but it is stepping back and realizing that the more excuses you make, the bigger of a brick wall you are building separating yourself from a fulfilling lifestyle.

Would you consider changing your schedule from working 9 to 5 to traveling 9 to 5 for a year and join the passionate people volunteering, engaging and experiencing around the world? Why not?

Dear Josh…

Dear Josh,

Thank You. Not only for supporting me through all of my crazy ideas (such as traveling the world) But actively pursuing and living them out alongside me.

Thank you for being one of my main reasons for loving life and wanting to live out every moment together.

Without you my travel would have no direction (literally, since you always bring the map), less communication (you are much better at Spanish), and not as much history (with your love of “really old stuff”).

The last 8 years have been non-stop adventures, and I am so blessed to be able to prepare for what is to come. I know the being on the road for 10 months will challenge our relationship as we face the unknown together, experiencing the worlds’ open arms as well as its sense of humor. I realize there are a lot of unknowns in our future, but I trust that eventually all of the dots will connect.

Thank you for being a husband who takes risks in order to achieve a more fulfilled life. Who steps out of the 9 to 5 to engage in our world and leave our mark in the people, places and situations that come our way.

Love, 

Care

Kayaking Lake Arenal

One of my favorite outdoor activities is kayaking, so when we had the opportunity to kayak in Lake Arenal we were excited to go despite the looming clouds and foreboding weather. There is something so peaceful about being close to the water and feeling so small next to a huge volcano.

Don’t let the weather completely dictate your plans

Not only was it not bright and sunny, it was raining all morning, but we went out anyways, and within a few hours the clouds spread apart and the sun was shining. Don’t discount any activity due to the weather. You never know what you could miss out on or when the sun might decide to surprise you.

Get your own kayak

I understand that some couples or friends want to enjoy the kayak adventure together. I love my husband, but being in the same kayak together doesn’t work for us. While I am kayaking off to the left he is usually looking at something to the right. While I am a 1/2 mile behind him he is speeding ahead. I usually stop to take lots of photos along the way and the stop and go isn’t his style. We enjoy kayaking in the same lake, but controlling our own paddles…even if we do race every once in awhile.

Locals have great stories

We were accompanied by Hugo, a local in Arenal, who had met many passing tourists and had many stories to share. We kayaked across the lake, left our kayaks near the shore and walked around for a bit. Hugo shared stories about his family, where he had adventured to, along with stories of the token “crazy tourists” he had encountered that made me laugh (and feel a little less crazy as a traveler). It was refreshing to hear his love for the land and his perspective on tourism in Costa Rica. Taking time to ask questions always pays off.

Learn how to cut a pineapple

We learned this quickly in Costa Rica. While Josh and I have always struggled with cutting this fruit, Hugo had it opened in seconds and ready to eat. Once slice here… another few here and…voilà! As with most of our Costa Rican excursions, we ended by sharing some delicious fresh fruit.

Is kayaking on your list of activities when you visit a country? What is something that you love to do when you travel to a new place?

The Broadmoor [Hotel Review]

The Broadmoor Hotel

Name: The Broadmoor Resort
Where: Colorado Springs, CO
When: October 2011
Price: $240 / night

Who helped us? [Service]

From the time we arrived until checkout, everyone at the hotel went out of their way to accommodate us. We were very impressed with the friendliness of the staff and the attentiveness to detail.

A great example was when we had finished hiking we ran to our room while the maids were there cleaning it. We simply wanted to grab some clothes and get out of their way. Before we got far into the room they had us walk back out and swipe our card to ensure it was our room. Such a small act to ensure that no one is breaking into our room while the door is open. We were grateful for the double check.

The concierge directed us to all of our daily activities while helping us with our valet slips. The spa staff ensured our every comfort from heated robes, slippers in our size and a roomy locker to put our stuff in. They encouraged us to use the sauna and therapy rooms and kept our glasses full of cucumber water or hot tea. We could hardly turn a corner without a new face attentive and ready to assist!

What did it look like? [Ambiance]

Walking into the Broadmoor we were taken back by the grand decor and luxurious furniture, wall hangings and designs. The best part that can’t be missed is the breathtaking mountain view from this hotel!

Our stay was obviously much different than many of the bed and breakfasts we usually stay at. The other guests staying with us had a different air about them, everyone was mostly dressed to the nines no matter where they were on the grounds. The property, indoors and out, was always spotlessly clean.

Did we sleep? [Room]

The bed was very comfortable. Plenty of pillows line the bed so make sure you figure out your optimal setup before turning off the lights. Once you are out for the night you will have sweet dreams of fresh mountain air. We had a Superior Room in the Main tower, which is the oldest part of the hotel. We heard that they were trying to preserve the tower’s history, so it wasn’t as updated as other parts of the hotel. There was a spectacular view of the Broadmoor pond and of the front range. The bathroom was large and included a shower with glass doors, a footed bathtub, and two sinks. There was a walk-in closet, minibar with coffee, tea, hot chocolate and apple cider included in the resort fee. It was very colorful and traditional.

Were our stomachs full? [Food]

Not only were they full, they were stuffed. The food is one of the best part of the resort, with many restaurants to chose from with every type of food available. At Charles Court, we had an unforgettable prosciutto-wrapped filet and a seared ahi dish that were delicious. The buffet breakfast at the Lake Terrace was full of options, and had plenty of fresh fruit, pastries, meats and an omelete station. We were rarely hungry for lunch after our wonderful breakfasts.

How quickly could we surf the web? [Internet]

The internet fees were included in the resort rate. Wired and wireless connections were easily accessible and fast!

Where is the Broadmoor? [Location]

The Broadmoor is about 90 minutes from Denver International Airport. The hotel is also about a 20 minute drive from many Colorado Springs attractions including Pike’s Peak and the Garden of the Gods park. Seven Falls is also just a few miles from the hotel. It was easy to get around because we had a rental car, otherwise we would have had to take a taxi to get anywhere from the hotel.

Would we go back again? [Overall Thoughts]

This resort isn’t our typical stay but spending a long weekend in such a beautiful resort was fabulous. We pampered ourselves for 4 days enjoying delicious food, spa services and breathtaking views. This trip was covered by one of our employer’s, which is the only real reason we were able to stay out here. While we would love to stay here again, it is probably out of our normal price range on a regular basis.