It’s almost time to get on the road again! I’m very fortunate to do some traveling for a seasonal gig. My third season with the client is about to start and this time around, I’m determined to do things differently. I love to travel and I’ve had a blast on the road so far, but I know that if I make some adjustments I can enjoy myself even more.
Lately I’ve been thinking about what I can do to be more productive, take care of myself and enjoy my time while I’m traveling. I’m calling them my Travel Vows because these are promises that I’m making to myself to help me overall. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
- Master the art of packing – I take way too long to pack and bring entirely too much with me. I’ve got a 3 day trip coming up in about a month and I’m determined to only bring a carry on and a backpack. It seems simple enough, but trust me… I’ve had some serious struggles in the past. My commitment to packing light will most assuredly increase the time it takes me to pack. To combat this, I’m going to set a packing deadline far in advance of my departure. If I can have my bag packed 48 hours before I leave, hopefully that will ease my anxiety and help me get a full night’s sleep before my flight. This will NOT be another trip where I stay up all night poring over my suitcase, board my early morning flight, barely sleep on the plane and arrive at my destination too zombified to have a look around the city. I’ve already looked into what I want to see when I get there, so I need to be rested and awake.
- Master the art of unpacking – Sometimes unpacking is easy because all I do is do my laundry and throw the same clothes back in the suitcase for the next trip. However, when I have more downtime in between trips, I should really be unpacking. For instance, I got back from my last trip a week ago and my suitcases are still stuff & sitting by the closet as if I have a maid who’s going to sort them out for me. I’ve got to be better.
- Don’t obsess about seeing everything – Before each trip, I make incredibly detailed notes about what I can see and do in the area. Sometimes I list way too many points of interest and beat myself up about not getting to every last thing on my list. Going forward, I’m going to focus on being thankful that I get to travel at all and not see each missed excursion as a failure.
- Flex those social muscles – As shy as I am, my natural instinct is to go off and explore by myself, but I work with a team of amazing people that I really like being with outside of work. Instead of being such a lone wolf, I’m going to see if anyone wants to join me while I venture out into each city. Some of my best memories on the road have come from experiencing things with other people. So while I’ll still undoubtedly have my introverted moments, I’ll also make a point to enjoy the company of others more than I usually do. While traveling to areas that I’m unfamiliar with it’s a safer choice, too.
- When all else fails, just do your job – All of these adventures are great, but at the end of the day I’m traveling for work. So when I’m feeling overwhelmed about tackling a new city, I’m going to remind myself that the whole purpose of these trips is business. If I’m too exhausted to go into full tourist mode, that’s fine. That just means that I need to recharge myself for WORK… and then maybe I can play later if I’m feeling up to it.