What’s the Best Mindset to Have When Traveling?
Nobody loves standing in long security lines, and I don’t know one person who is thrilled by the fact that most airline seats only recline about four inches, if you’re lucky. But what’s the best mindset to have when traveling, so that the issues you encounter don’t ruin your trip?
I know people who love to travel, door to door — not just when they arrive at their resort.
They are the people who almost always have a great flight, no matter what. I’ve talked to people whose trips got rained out, or who missed connecting flights, or who got lost, or who even had passports stolen — and when I ask them how their trip was, they smile and say, “It was great!” and proceed to tell me the full, exciting tale.
So what’s their secret? What’s the best mindset to have when traveling? I’ll tell you: They’ve let go of the Perfectionist Mindset and adopted the Adventure Mindset.
The difference between these two paradigms changes everything.
The Perfectionist sets unrealistically high expectations for themselves, others, and situations — and when things don’t go well, they often fall into self-blame or blaming others. The Adventurer makes a plan and is prepared, but is willing to roll with whatever comes along that might not fit with “The Plan.”
The Perfectionist often avoids risk and only goes with the obvious path in an attempt to avoid “failure.” The Adventurer is less concerned with control, and more interested in creative approaches and critical thinking when it comes to problem solving.
The Perfectionist focuses on what isn’t working and is often impatient and critical. The Adventurer sees what’s going well and what there is to be grateful for, and is quick to offer appreciation, flexibility, and help in tough situations.
As author and coach Naomi Teeter points out, the Adventurer knows how to ask “quality questions” when faced with a challenge, questions like:
- What’s the best thing that could happen from this?
- Hasn’t everything worked out just fine in the past? Aren’t I okay?
- What if I chose to be happy and carefree about this instead?
- What is this teaching me?
- How can I use this experience to support others?
- How could I turn this into a great story?
- What can I do differently next time so that this doesn’t happen?
If I’m honest with myself, I know that there are times I fall into the Perfectionist Mindset, in travel and in life.
But I also know that at any moment, I can choose something different.
I can always choose an attitude of adventure. And as a lifelong traveler, that has made all the difference.