Summer Travel Hell

Sunflowers season is drawing to an end here in the south of France….

Looking back, it seems that summer 2022 has been a season characterised by a variety of travel disasters. Flights, trains, and buses were cancelled at the last moment, bags lost or indefinitely delayed, connections missed, and exhausted passengers were stuck at airports and train stations due to not enough staff or staff on strike. One of my guests arrived 36 hours after the retreat started. But he got here, and luckily it was a longer retreat, so he had time to unwind and make the most of his time here. Until he had to travel back…

All this follows fast in the wake of a two-and-a-half-year pandemic, just when everyone is desperate to visit friends and family or just get away from crowded cities. The summer travel season is now coming to an end, but we have most likely not seen the end of the travel disruptions.

So how can we prepare ourselves for the travel challenges that we will have to face in the future?

There are a few practical things that I am going to implement: I’ll make sure I always have enough water and snacks with me for at least 24 hours, I’ll travel only with hand luggage, I won’t buy loads of stuff while I’m on holiday and my books are coming in digital format. Inter alia.

I’m going to aim for slow, sustainable tourism and travel as little and as light as possible.

All this will go a long way to make travelling easier, but the most important thing we will have to take with us in the future is an altered mindset. We’ll have to take on board (sorry, couldn’t resist) that travel is not just a means to an end; it is not just about getting from point A to point B, it should be an integral part of the holiday itself, an adventure in its own right. If it is going to resemble a rollercoaster ride, whatever happens, we may as well enjoy the ride and see what we can learn about ourselves and about the world around us while we are at it. Instead of panicking, travelling will be much less stressful if we accept that there will be some incidents and events entirely out of our control. Instead, we may look around ourselves to see if we can be helpful to others.

Get there “quicker,” by lending a helping hand.

That poor mother travelling on her own with a screaming baby, instead of thinking that she should have known better, we might imagine that she is taking her child to its elderly grandparents, still too scared to travel, who haven’t seen her or the new baby since the pandemic started.

I’m not good with babies, but I can offer to go to the shop for her, and buy what she needs, or help her with her luggage, or push the pram…. or the elderly lady on the steps in front of you, holding up everyone behind her, struggling desperately and close to giving up to get her bag up the stairs, maybe you can carry it for her, or grab one end, and make her burden lighter.

Or the hassled ground staff, at their wits’ end trying to help disgruntled passengers, why not go and buy a few cups of coffee at the restaurant and hand them over?

How about ringing a friend who is going through a difficult time, or one that you have been meaning to contact for ages, and have a chat? Or send an encouraging email, or make a photo collage of the pictures you took on your holiday and send it to your grandparents?

Use the waiting time to recharge your batteries and then go with the flow.

There may be nothing you can do to solve your travel crisis, but there are always lots of helpful things you can do to make the waiting time shorter.

You CAN avoid getting a stomach ulcer, stroke, or a heart attack when you travel: You might choose to pop your earphones in and listen to a relaxing guided meditation, do a calming breathing exercise, or use your five senses to practice mindfulness right there where you are sitting on standing in the queue. Or you might catch up on your reading, listen to soothing music, or get rid of the frustration by writing about it in your travel journal…the idea is to not allow the upheavals and delays of post-pandemic travel to spoil your holiday.

The world-famous Anonymous once said, “Stop being afraid of what (else) could go wrong and think of what could go right.” Anonymous definitely had a point, you won’t attract a more enjoyable travel experience by worrying about everything that can go wrong next.

Why not take the advice above, download my ebook Make Your Next Retreat Your Best Retreat Ever and join us here in the still sundrenched south of France for a ReConnect with Yourself, with Others and with Nature walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela retreat or a New You: Detox Your Mind Detox Your Body with Intermittent Fasting retreat – you can also combine these two retreats to increase the benefits.

Travel is an investment in yourself, in your future. Don’t allow travel disruptions to decrease the value of your investment.

Keep calm and travel on.