But it will teach you everything you never knew about yourself.
We’ve seen so many travel photos of people in glamorous threads with magazine-worthy hair posing in front of surreal backdrops. But what we don’t see is the process it took to get there. We don’t see the three legs of flights, the train or subway rides, the stressful taxi drives, and the hefty luggage in tow. We don’t see how the process leaves most hygiene-conscious humans dreaming of a shower as soon as they arrive. But as a yoga teacher and retreat host, I see behind the scenes. And I see how travelers often feel disappointed when things don’t as smoothly as expected.
I think I understand why. When we travel, we fantasize about walks on the beach, daily yoga practices, fancy dinners, dance parties, IG-worthy backdrops, fulfilling hiking paths, and adventures that make our palms sweat. We forget that along with beautiful places and awe-inspiring nature comes bugs, unidentifiable flying objects, dirt roads, puddles, dark paths, poop, inconveniences, and sweaty, bumpy van rides that can last for hours.
If I could skip the poop, I probably would. But over the years, I’ve learned bumpy roads are part of the adventure! The hassles are part of the process and the way we respond to those hassles helps us learn about ourselves. So why do we get so bothered?
I think we sometimes sign up for a new experience in a different place, but we expect the comforts of home to travel with us. We look for cafes with our favorite protein shakes. We expect WIFI in every room. We hope for a wine cellar to peruse. We expect Delivery Dudes to grab our must-have pizza, and we want to wake up to decaf coffee brewing in the woods. We try to recreate the lifestyle we’re comfortable with in a foreign place. What are we so attached to?
Disclaimer–If you’ve traveled with me and think I may be talking about you, I promise I’m not! Trust me! That disappointing moment where moodiness ensues happens to everyone, EVERYWHERE! From Costa Rica, Mexico, and Italy to Vermont, Maine, Puerto Rico and Utah–it doesn’t matter! It’s NOT you, it’s human expectations.
So I wonder, how can we let go of assumptions so we can experience more freedom when we travel? How can we adapt to the local way of life with less conveniences? How can we embrace new foods without fearing we will gain weight? How can we detach more from what we think we know so we can learn a different way of life? What lessons are waiting for us if we relinquish control? I don't have the answers but I’ve learned so much about myself and those I travel with on every trip. I find it fascinating!
If you plan to travel with me on a yoga retreat or on your own, I encourage you to pay attention to your feelings when things don't go as planned. Notice how you react or adapt when the hotel, motel, cabin, or restaurant doesn't have what you want. You’ll learn so much about yourself. Pay attention, and travel will offer such grand lessons!
I hope to see you in the jungle, the woods, or the beach soon!