Whenever we travel abroad, we place ourselves in conditions that are out of the status quo, away from our usual routine and schedule. Because so many experiences might be different than in our day-to-day routine at home, the diverse environment around us persuasively invites us to broaden our horizons and be flexible amidst the differences in language and customs. If we choose not to go with the program, we’ll likely feel impatient, unhappy and frustrated.
Traveling offers us the opportunity to see life as a grand adventure and to embrace the unique differences at hand, rather than expect others to be like us. Whenever we allow ourselves to shift our perspective in this way, our expectations are lowered and we can actually appreciate the diversity rather than holding onto a judgment and seeing it as an annoyance. Case in point, while recently traveling on a flight from Greece to Paris I was waiting to get off the plane to catch a tight connecting flight. As I stood in the crowded aisle, there were people around me who were nudging me to move forward long before the line began to exit…..and they were standing really close to me, beyond my usual comfort zone! I had to remind myself that perhaps their culture’s boundaries were different than mine, and I had an opportunity to shift my perspective. What I had initially perceived as rudeness might have simply been a difference in a cultural tradition.Now imagine applying this same perspective to your everyday life amidst your day-to-day interactions. Granted, it can seem easier to practice this expanded tolerance when traveling, because we have a lower expectation that other cultures should be like us, but think about how liberating it would feel to see your life as a constant adventure with each person having their own unique experience. The truth is that each one of us on this planet is raised with completely different circumstances that give us our unique imprint, unlike anyone else. The next time that you find yourself in an interaction with another that tweaks you, you have the opportunity to simply become the observer and metaphorically put on your Indiana Jones fedora! From this expanded purview, you can either let the experience slide off of you with no attachment, or offer feedback from a non-reactive position.
When we view our life as a constant grand adventure, all is seen as new, alive and refreshing. Enjoy the journey!