by: Brenda McGuire – ‘The Global Gal’
For over 20 years, I’ve explored the far corners of this amazing world! Through epic journeys to 85 countries on six continents, my travels have taught me some of the most valuable life lessons – such as how to connect with other cultures, be present at the moment, and to appreciate the kindness of strangers. However, I never dreamt that what I learned from circumnavigating the world would serve me during a global pandemic! It never occurred to me that what I learned all those years on the road would help to keep saner during a crazy and chaotic Covid time.
Here are the top 6 things that travel taught me to help me to be more resilient during these difficult days:
1) One Grand Adventure – Back in March, I recognized that a global pandemic was about ready to rock my world. Early on, I decided to look at this ‘Covid Journey’ as ‘One Grand Adventure!’ Like with any adventure, my faith, well-being, and emotional strength would be tested! There would be good days and bad and unforeseen challenges. I chose to make a conscientious effort to look at this like any of the adventures I had planned for – by packing my provisions (getting supplies such as toilet paper and masks), being prepared (getting ready for a ‘lockdown’), and emotionally preparing myself for some highs and lows! So far, this thought process has served me well, even though, at times, it is more challenging than others.
2) Being on a Long Layover – having spent hours, if not weeks or months of my life either being on a long layover in some foreign airport or being stuck on some travel delay, I’ve learned the importance of accepting the fact that it is all part of the travel experience! As a result, I’ve learned how to cope, be patient, and amuse myself (or my family) for hours on end. Through my company, Global Gals, I teach my clients to prepare for a long layover – whether it is to bring a book, videos, a hobby (like knitting), writing in your journal, playing games, or doing something you’ve wanted to do like write a letter to a loved one! During this ‘long layover’ that we are on (until the world starts opening up again), I’ve used this time to catch up with friends, books, movies, hobbies like scrapbooking, and all those things I’ve told myself that ‘one day I will get to it.’ What are YOU doing to utilize this ‘long layover’ in your own life to rest, reflect, connect, or entertain yourself and your family?
3) Smooth Sailing Ahead – having spent almost a year of my life sailing on three around-the world voyages, the one thing I’m certain of is that you will experience rough seas! Again, like a long layover, it is all part of the deal of travel! For sure, we are in ‘rough seas’ right now as this pandemic grips the world. Some of us are barely staying afloat while others are getting seasick (or should I say ‘Covid’ sick). Some of us may have more giant waves and rougher seas compared to others. While we are in the SAME STORM, we aren’t necessarily in the SAME BOAT! But there is good news; SMOOTHER SEAS are ahead! They always come after the storm. It won’t always be rocky (even though it seems like it), but be assured that smoother sailing is ahead!
4) Living in a Small World – while I always have known what ‘a small world’ we live in, this pandemic has reinforced that! In our globally connected world, we are being affected and can see this in real-time on the news feeds worldwide about how our global community is being impacted. We’ve seen how a sneeze or cough on one side of the world can cause a ripple effect and impact (often unknowingly) those on the other side of the world. The one thing travel taught me is empathy for others on our planet and how we affect each other. My heart has broken multiple times hearing stories of my friends from around the globe – from Australia to South America to Africa – who’ve endured far more than me. Instead, I try to think about how I can help support those suffering through such organizations as Doctors Without Borders, Heifer International, or Compassion International.
5) Resilience – whether dealing with being lost or losing my luggage (and many times losing my mind), travel has taught me to be more resilient, patient, flexible, adaptable, and go with the flow! As a newbie traveler, I had to learn a lot of this the hard way, especially when it came to patience, but one of the best gifts travel teaches us is about ourselves and how to navigate stressful travel scenarios. No doubt, the whole Covid experience is emotionally, physically, and financially draining! However, I think the resilience I’ve developed from being in several changing, challenging, and crazy scenarios has served me well! Think back to a time when you overcame a challenge or hardship and use those same skills and attributes right now!
6) Adjust Your Course – As with so many times in travel, the best-laid plans don’t always work out! You’ve spent much time preparing and planning for your trips (or you’ve even hired someone to lead you or signed up for a group tour), and everything seems to go wrong or takes you off course. When I took my mom on an Eastern European river cruise, we couldn’t start our cruise where we intended to due to the low river level. Instead, we were bused to another starting point on the river, causing us to skip those ports of call we had dreamed about for so long! Even though it wasn’t what we expected, we still enjoyed the journey nevertheless. Right now, many of you may feel off-course – whether your career has derailed, your dreams and goals put on hold, or you think your life is going in an unknown direction. Just remember that even in our ‘old normal’ days, plans still would go off-course at times. In today’s ‘new normal,’ we can still enjoy the journey and trust that the new course we’re on will end up being fine in the long run!
What has travel (or life’s lessons) taught YOU to better deal with these Coronavirus days? Or what have you learned from your global journeys that have equipped you to be better prepared to weather today’s rough seas?
I would love to hear them! Feel free to share your comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. Smoother seas are ahead, and we will be able to one day again enjoy and experience this glorious world once again!