I want to let you in on a little secret.
It’s a simple truth that can change your travels—and even your life at home—forever.
Here it is:
You have the power to experience life however you want to. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what you’ve been given. Rather, the quality of your experiences is determined by how you respond. It’s your choice to make your life heaven or hell.
This may seem surprising. It goes against much of what we’ve been taught in life.
We’re told in school, at home, and through popular culture that what you see is what you get—that thinks are either clearly good or bad and that we should all respond in the same way.
We’re led to believe that canceled flights are annoying, rainy wedding days are depressing, and losing your job is discouraging.
Over time, we start to internalize these norms. Without thinking we instinctively view and react to things through this lens.
In essence, we abdicate responsibility for our thoughts and actions, instead letting fate determine much of the quality of our lives.
Unsurprisingly, this passive worldview is incredibly problematic.
We’re happy when everything is going well. Yet, as soon as something we deem bad occurs, we’re plunged into an uncontrollable pit of anger, despair, and frustration.
We feel as though we have no say over our response because we’ve been told just that.
Fortunately, there is a solution.
For thousands of years, wise philosophers, sages, and mystics have known that each of us has the ability to escape the cycle of fate. They knew that we all have the ability to control our reality, molding it to what we wish, regardless of external circumstances.
As the Austrian philosopher Viktor Frankl wrote after surviving the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp: “Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.”
Learning to perceive the world with the right kind of mindset is one of—if not the most—important skills we can learn in life.
It’s what separates those who live exceptional lives filled with contentment, growth, and meaning from those who feel lost, helpless, and frustrated.
Having the right outlook is particularly important for travelers, as life on the road is particularly unpredictable.
I call this the Traveler’s Mindset. It’s a specific way of looking at yourself and the world that has been shown time and time again to improve the quality of experiences for all travelers—regardless of sickness or health, luck or misfortune, rain or shine.
Adopting the Traveler’s Mindset can transform frustrating trips into enjoyable sojourns, and elevate forgettable travels into life-changing journeys.
There are three main traits that make up the Traveler’s Mindset. They are:
Being adaptable means to quickly and easily respond to and handle changes. It helps you to adjust to new customs and cultures, to survive unforeseen adversity, and to make the most of unexpected opportunities.
When you’re adaptable, you say yes when you’re inited to a wedding while passing through a small mountain village in Macedonia. When you’re adaptable, you take proactive measures when your once-a-week flight is cancelled from Svalbard rather than throwing a fit. When you’re adaptable, you learn to live like the Maasai tribe in rural Kenya a week after hanging out with surfers on the South African coast.
The courageous traveler knows that things won’t always be easy. They understand that exploring themselves and the world means to inevitably encounter discomfort, fear, and intimidation.
The courageous traveler also knows that the only way to overcome these challenges is to confront them; that it’s not the emotion you initially feel that matters but rather how you eventually respond.
Sometimes they proactive seek out uncomfortable situations and sometimes they accidentally find them. But no matter what happens, the courageous traveler handles life with mental and moral strength.
To be open minded is to reject certainty and embrace a world of new ideas and exciting possibilities. It is to allow for the possibility that your deeply held beliefs are false or misguided. It is to experience people and places without rushing to judgement. It is to consider changing how you live your life.
The open-minded traveler sees a world filled with opportunity. They understand that they don’t have all the answers within and so they set out on the road to discover a better self. They learn what they can from others and bring that knowledge home with them. They take comfort in their uncertainty, as they feel no need to defend their world view to every person they encounter.
The open-minded traveler is also a safer traveler. They don’t rely on stereotypes or previously-conceived notions to understand their world. Rather, they see things as they are, adapting their perspective to new information and responding accordingly.
Over the next few weeks I’ll share with you the specifics of this mindset—what exactly it entails, and how you can yourself can develop these traits.
In the meantime, if you’re eager to get a jump start on developing these skills, you can download your free copy of The Traveler’s Mindset: How to Mentally Prepare for Journeys of Travel and Growth right now by clicking here. It’s packed full of exercises based on the latest scientific research and personal experience that are guarantee to transform how you see the world while getting you ready to make the most out of your next trip.