What every good traveler knows is that every trip contains unexpected surprises. Some surprises bring a wide smile to your face at the first sight of a natural wonder or touch your heart at the unexpected kindness of a stranger. Others make you laugh out loud or purr with delight. Of course on the flip side, events sometimes occur that make us frown with disappointment, wince in pain or even snarl with anger. No matter where you go and what you do, life happens. So even when most of a trip flows pleasantly as expected, learning to accept and flow with unexpected events is the key to traveling SMART.
Last Sunday I woke up in Mexico City with a growling and unhappy stomach. Fortunately we had planned to take the bus to Puebla later in the afternoon so there was no rush to pack up or leave. Thom went to a local
pharmacy and came home with a recommended remedy that was stronger than Pepto-Bismol. A couple of hours later the medication kicked in and we took a cab to the ultra modern main bus station for the city. In a waiting area as nice as most airports, we checked our bags and waited for our luxury bus to Puebla. After an easy two-hour ride, we caught another cab and arrived as planned at our hotel.
No one plans to get sick when on vacation but anyone who says it doesn’t happen is in denial. Thankfully, although my energy level was reduced and we were unable to see some of what I had intended, my experience was still as good, if not better than it would have been if I had gotten sick at home. That’s why I decided to offer the following five SMART Travel Tips For Those Unexpected Surprises that can and do happen when we travel. Hopefully they highlight how to make the best of it when unexpected surprises happen on your trip.
#1 The right plan can make a big difference. As I mentioned in my earlier posts, when you have a plan you always have the option of being spontaneous should the desire strike. But with no plan you must accept whatever fate delivers. Because each leg of our trip was planned out, including easiest transportation and carefully selected places to stay, we experienced no concern about such details while feeling less than optimal. For example, our hotel in Puebla was spacious, comfortable and a great place to relax while I was recuperating.
#2 if you need an aspirin take an aspirin. This statement from a former teacher of ours named Ernest Holmes always reminds me that when something unexpected happens we have two ways to deal with it. One—we fight it and pretend it isn’t happening. Or two—we flow with it and take steps to ease the situation. When my stomach didn’t settle down for two days we talked to the front desk and asked about a doctor. Barely an hour later a doctor showed up at our hotel room, and after a brief exam prescribed several new medications. Not only was this doctor as good as any I’ve seen recently in the U.S., the charge was only about $55 for his services. Best of all, my doctor recommended a natural probiotic (not the antibiotic I expected) named Entergermina. This over-the-counter remedy heals and restores the digestive track in a natural way. Although I had never heard of Entergermina before, it will now be included with all further travels.
#3 Let go of thinking you can ever figure it out. It’s VERY tempting to obsess with trying to discover what it is that I ate that made me sick. Isn’t that what we ALL do when something goes off-plan? It’s as though we think that if we could only find the answer we could control the Universe so that something like that would never, ever occur again. But we are not in control of the Universe. As we know, stuff happens. A SMART perspective is to remember that the one thing we can control is our own reaction to what happens and our attitude from there on out. So even if we get sick or something goes awry, how we deal with it is up to us.
#4 You can still have fun even if you can’t do everything. Did I get to see and do everything in Puebla that I hoped to experience? No. Did I still enjoy my time there? Definitely. Instead of lamenting that I needed to scale back my diet and activities, I slowed down and did my best to enjoy what was right in front of me. Thom called it Slow-mo-ing my FOMO. Remember from my previous post about FOMO, it is virtually impossible to do everything there is to do anyway, so letting go of that and relaxing into any experience is always a better way to go.
#5. Always look for the good. After four days of eating a very mild and light diet I’m certain I have lost weight. Hundreds of women around the world pay thousands to go to luxury spas and achieve the same result. While it is tempting to say that I would never have come down with this condition if I had stayed at home, I could also say that would be true if all I ever ate was oatmeal—but that ain’t gonna happen! Sure it is wise to be careful with what we eat, but a SMART Life is to be savored and enjoyed along the way. As Frida Kahlo said, “Viva la Vida!”
After four days in Puebla I am writing this post on the bus to Oaxaca. I’ve eaten well the last
couple of days and my energy has returned to near normal. My experiences in Puebla remind me that I can be happy and at peace no matter where I am and what is happening. It’s always SMART to flow with unexpected surprises.