Your Perceptions and Expectations about Traveling
If you fly commercially, you're no doubt familiar with this scenario. You arrive at the airport an hour or more before your flight is scheduled to depart, stand in line to check your bags, and go through the security check only to find out that your flight will be delayed two hours. Maybe you're fortunate and your flight leaves on time, but every seat is filled and you're crammed in a center seat between someone who sneezes constantly and a crying baby. To make things worse, the guy in front of you lowers the back of his seat all the way down, almost in your lap. By the time you reach your destination, you're tired, cranky, and wondering if it's worth the trouble. Is there a way to mitigate the aggravation?
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill
As you already know, your attitude and expectations influence what happens to you. Your ideas create the circumstances you encounter while traveling, just as they sow the seeds for outcomes in other areas of your life. If you expect a trip to go smoothly, look forward to meeting interesting people, and anticipate enjoying pleasant experiences, that's exactly what will transpire. If, on the other hand, you focus on prospective problems, that's what you'll draw to you.
Writer George Sand expressed it this way: “Since it always happens that one gives form and substance to the dangers upon which one broods to excess, the dread of the possibility [becomes] an accurate forecast of the future.”
Fear and Control
Alcoholics Anonymous considers the word
“Many of our fears are tissue-paper thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.” — Brendan Francis
What scares you about traveling? Are you uncomfortable being in a strange place, away from your familiar surroundings? Do you feel anxious when you're not in control? Does being in a crowd of people make you edgy? Do you experience claustrophobia or motion sickness?
According to author Louise Hay, the probable emotional cause of motion sickness is fear of being trapped, of not being in control. (Most people don't get carsick when they're driving, only when they're passengers.) If you feel trapped or anxious in a car, plane, boat, or train, and start to feel sick, repeat the affirmation “I am in control.” If possible, sing it aloud until the motion sickness passes.
Loss of control is at the root of most travel-related fears. If you're flying in an airplane, you have to trust the pilot will get you to your destination safely — you don't have control. If you visit a foreign country, you'll be confronted with strange food, unfamiliar customs, and a language you don't understand — you don't have control. When you travel, you can't control things like the weather, other cars on the road, how your baggage gets handled, or the people you encounter along the way.
Changing Your Perspective
Chelsea decided to go on a hiking trip around Europe. She had no agenda, no timetable, and no fixed destinations. She saw each day as a new adventure, with no preconceptions or fears. Occasionally, she hit a snag, but overall she met wonderful people and enjoyed a plethora of positive experiences — including many happy accidents — because she approached the journey with an open mind and trusted the universe to guide her. Of course, this sort of trip isn't for everyone. But regardless of where you're going, for what reason, your expectations will color your experiences.
Whether you're the type who organizes every detail or someone who prefers to wing it, it can be helpful to examine your ideas before you head off into the wild blue yonder. Make a list of the things you're anxious about. Address the ones you can control, and consider what options might be available to you.
Are you afraid your luggage might get lost? Maybe you can ship it to your destination ahead of time. Do you fear that your car might break down? Get it serviced before you leave and join AAA. Are you worried that relatives at a family reunion might argue? Make a backup plan — book a motel room, arrange to meet a friend, take a walk — that allows you to get away if things become too stressful.
Next, look at the things you can't control or fix with practical solutions. Here's where magic comes in. This chapter provides spells to help you smooth the bumps in the road, so to speak. Life itself is a journey. You never know what's going to happen tomorrow. But that doesn't prevent you from living. In the words of the great artist Pablo Picasso, “If you know exactly what you're going to do, what's the good of doing it?”