I recently had the pleasure of meeting John Morris, a fellow world traveler and founder of wheelchairtravel.org. John and I are not dissimilar in our needs, namely the use of wheelchairs, and though we each approach travel differently in some ways, the core of our experiences is the same.
One topic that came up in our conversation was that of perspectives. We could swap stories all day about the difficulties of travel, especially in light of the recent health pandemic. But that’s not what we reminisce about.
“Our memories rest in the wonder of our adventures.”
I asked John how he maintains that positive outlook on travel. This is where our difference of approach comes into play, because I travel with a group of friends, while John goes solo.
In the pragmatic sense, a lot of my own positive outlook is bolstered by those I surround myself with. I can look on the bright side, but man, it really helps to have folks around me doing the same. John, however, is traveling alone, so his answer? “I try to focus on keeping a cool head with respect to the inconveniences of travel. Air travel, for example, can be quite uncomfortable and frustrating... but by leaving that frustration at the airport, I am able to better focus on the joy in the destination and the purpose of travel.”
“I couldn't help but agree; keeping a cool head is paramount.”
We can’t control those around us, and we aren’t always in control of our circumstances, but what we can control is our attitude toward it. I much prefer to focus on the joys of a journey than the (albeit inevitable) difficulties – not just looking back on the memory of it, but as I am experiencing it in the moment. As I mentioned before, part of how I do that is by the company I keep – that they be of a similar mind. It helps me regulate my “head coolness.” So, I had to ask, “As an independent traveler, what is a practical way you regulate, stay cool-headed and enjoy the journey? You mentioned the example of leaving your frustrations at the airport – how do you do that?”
To this, John made a great point. “It is through an understanding that there is a time and place to deal with conflict. If there is an issue with air travel that cannot be immediately resolved, it is best to address that through the appropriate channels at a convenient time. In nearly all cases, the appropriate time would not be to interfere with the very reason I have traveled. Save that work for after the journey, if possible.”
This is applicable, not only to travel, but to everyday life. Difficulties arise left and right, but they don’t have to ruin everything.
“Adopt a positive outlook by leaving those frustrations ‘at the airport,’ to deal with later and enjoy the rest of what’s in front of you.”
I believe, by doing this, you’ll discover a world of wonder and joy.