As many people might be traveling this holiday season, I thought I’d contribute a few tricks I’ve learned along the way as a traveler myself for the most peaceful trip. And I call them “tricks” because that’s what they are – ways to distract yourself from the sometimes mundane and anxiety-producing processes that are required for travel. No offense to travel, but I find that I LOVE the destination to new or familiar places, and I’m NOT in love with the stupid Air Bus planes or bags getting lost that can happen during the journey. I’m very non- fung shui, but that’s just how I roll, or at least, for the time being.
So to get through it to reach your final destination in one piece, one mind, one body and one soul:
1. Learn how you distract yourself from reality – and bring it with you.
In high school and college I was convinced I was an expert multi-tasker (I’m laughing writing this now at age 26). So on planes I’d bring a million things to do: cards, sudoku, Oprah magazine, super junky magazine (Seventeen, which is SO not appropriate for seventeen year olds), movies, whatever. My carry-on was bulging every trip, to my row-mates’ delight I’m sure. But 2 hour flights to CA still felt painfully long, and I realized that multi-tasking was making me even more anxious as I flipped from thing to thing.
So I’ve reassessed and I’m realizing that all I need on a plane is (as stupid as it sounds): 1 Melody Gardot CD, 1 “Parental Guidance” -or- “The Holiday” DVD and 1 junky magazine. That’s it! I’m determined to fast from my other dozens of travel distractions. I’ll report back later on the results, but I truly think this will help. Honest to goodness, an evening at home after work breezes by, whole commutes breeze by when I listen to Melody Gardot and her friendly band of Pandora radio samba and bossa nova friends (and DVD-wise you can’t go wrong with Bette Midler and Billy Crystal & Jude Law). So think of what passes the time in the blink of an eye in daily life, and then bring it with you on your choice method of travel.
2. Thank the crew before the flight takes off.
It might sound dumb, and they might look at your funny, but think about it. When you have a connection with a person – you feel better. There’s a feeling of trust, even for a second, that makes you feel safe. At least it does for me. So that’s why I say a quick thank you and hello to the crew when they welcome me on board to give me some piece of mind. And remember that you’re more likely to get struck by lightning that die in a plane crash.
3. If the person in front of you reclines their seat, point your air thing at their head.
I’m not proud of this one. And I won’t tell you I learned from this one, but I tried it last time I flew and the person didn’t flinch. Foiled! How do you deal with people who cut off your foot room?
For the anxious flyer, this might seem impossible. But speaking as an anxious person I can say that I have napped on planes before. It’s possible!! Hallelujah. Dramamine is not the answer: peace is! And yes I am a hippie but seriously: I’ve found that I have I can sleep at the beginning of flights (wear a thick scarf that can double as a pillow). I don’t know why this is, but I can take naps right when we take off. In high school on orchestra tour, a fellow cello player hunkered down on her trey during take-off and was out for the longest time on her magazine. I was like “well that looks ridiculous” until I realized she was totally smart and had the right idea (and was a much more seasoned traveler than me, frequently visiting family in Korea).
5. Be thankful that even though you have to travel, at least you’re getting out of your daily rhythms. (Yes, you need it)
As an extrovert this is probably the most rewarding “trick” for travel – I love looking forward to the new people, the new places, the new experiences – even if you’re flying to a home-base, this newness is still possible because of what has changed (who has changed?) since you’ve been back. It’s an adventure! Choose to be thankful rather than be convinced the universe is out to get you! This is basically how Timothy and I are able to dream up crazy trips (honeymoon TBD). If I stayed convinced the universe was out to get me I’d just stay quiet and never bring up my dream vacations. Choosing gratitude is helping me to dream big – BIGGER than I thought possible, to places where I will have a rum & coke with be in hand and the beach will be beckoning just feet away from our beach chairs.
What are your tricks for travel? Have you tried any of these with or without luck? Happy travels!