Reason #1 | Flexible With a Capital F.
If you've traveled extensively, you already know what I'm going to say - travel teaches you to chill the fuck out. We could talk about lost luggage, cancelled flights, or no GPS in a country where you don't speak the language...you already get the idea. Because you expect to experience new things when you travel, you're less traumatized when plans change, or things go wrong.
But we're usually not in this headspace at home - you've got your routines, your responsibilities, your expectations. You know how to find the grocery store, do laundry, and get a good sandwich. You're not expecting that sandwich to almost kill you.
Yeah, that happened to me - on a normal night in my hometown, getting a normal dinner with my normal boyfriend (he knows he's normal, its okay). Two bites into a vegan reuben - so delicious, angels cry tears of joy when you order it - my body decided this sandwich was poison, because some tree nuts were hiding in there somewhere. My (more heroic than normal) boyfriend had to stab me with two epi-pens in an hour and rush me to the hospital to keep me alive. As my throat was closing I kept thinking: really? two bites? This is so much drama for something as simple as a cashew somewhere in that kitchen...AIR I need air...
As I'd been rushed to a 'teaching' hospital, my ER room was filled with a crowd of doctors shouting things, giving me medication, and breathing treatments. Dr. Grey's Anatomy Guy pointed out to the Interns how I was an excellent example of anaphylaxis and 'see the swelling around her eye sockets, great sample of this type of reaction honey can you hear us? How's your breathing?'
Depending on your perspective, the unexpected surprises + general culture shock of travel (and life) can feel a little...well, let me paint a picture for you, using a moment from Drag Race season 2.
...like that. In this example, RuPaul is Life, and Tyra is You. Travel can be a total shock, an amazing wake up call, or a slap in the face. So can Life. It all depends on your perspective.
When you almost die from two bites of a sandwich and spent 48 hours in the hospital afterward, you have time to think. You can get angry, feel bad for yourself and maybe even be embarrassed at the drama - but you don't have to. Because you didn't die. (Shout out to The Universe, Dr. Grey's Anatomy Guy + Team, and Boyfriend for keeping me alive!)
You can't predict life, even at home where you think you control things - you don't. You have to be flexible. Let things go. Laugh at chaos. Be grateful for the good.
Things aren’t bad, even when you think they are. And if things are really bad - really, really, bad - the Universe has a way of giving you the people, resources, and internal strength to get through it.
Generally you’re traveling somewhere to get out of your routine, norm, and maybe comfort zone. You expect the unexpected, but hope everything goes smoothly. You don’t know what’s around the corner, so you tell yourself to chill out. If something ‘goes wrong’ (and this is a sliding scale of ‘wrong’ from the sole of your shoe flapping off to an international snafu like being questioned in the airport...) you approach things with a cautiously open mind. You’re flexible, because you need to be flexible to try something new. This is a great idea to employ at home.
Next time someone cuts you off on the freeway, there’s a hair in your food, or you get a flat tire - think Flexible, like a traveler. It’ll save you a ton of energy.