Although there is much beauty in travelling, it can be one of the most stressful experiences. It’s often really difficult to have an attitude of gratitude when things go wrong – when your baggage is lost, when your hotel room is dirty or when you miss your flight. As someone who loves to travel and see new places I’ve learnt to accept the fact that travel can dish out some nasty lemons. In the moment, you’re miles away from home with no support system and you have an issue to solve. This is not only stressful but it also threatens to ruin your trip (if you let it).
Here are some of my top tips to help you have an attitude of gratitude when you travel:
- Reflect if something negative happens – don’t react. Get away, go for a walk and think before you act. Something may not be working in your favour. Your luggage may be lost. You could have an accident in a rental car. Someone at the travel desk could get angry with you or may be taking his/her frustrations out on you. The list of unfortunate situations is endless. Such is life. Try to avoid reacting badly. It’s not easy and it’s something most of us struggle with.
- Write down solutions – at the time we are often upset and focused on the negative things that have happened. Once you’ve obtained quiet time, sit down and write a list of solutions to get you out of the situation or to improve it.
- Take action on a solution – sometimes the solution may not work and you may have to fall back on another solution on your list. This is why having a list of a few possible solutions is key. You’ll maintain your positivity and remain grounded when you do so.
- Seek appreciation in the smallest of things – know that a huge percentage of the world has never left their home country and may never have the opportunities you are having for travel. If someone smiles at you, smile back, start a conversation. Of course you don’t want to attract any weirdos (especially if you are a female traveller), but don’t be afraid to be kind, as the kindness you show to others will set you on a road to gratitude.
- Travelling with someone who is constantly ungrateful, moody or negative? Get out. It’s a simple as that. Travelling is a wonderful way to see if you can get along with a person. It shows a lot about a person’s character because it’s a high stress situation that brings out someone’s character traits. Politely get away from the person if they are too negative or if they bring you down. And be grateful you did.
- Always look for the beauty in everything. This has really helped me as a solo traveller. I try my best to seek out the beauty in every small thing that I experience. Sitting on a bench in a charming little town in Spain for instance is one of the most beautiful things I have experienced. Or purchasing a scarf from a chatty local woman who speaks very little English in a narrow alleyway. These sound like such simple things, I know, but I have found moments like these to be the most rewarding.
What do you do to foster a sense of gratitude when you’re travelling? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.