I used to be such a worrywart when it came to travelling/holidaying. I blame it on the following mishaps from a few years ago:
- I miscalculated my timings and missed flights, which caused panic for my family and costed an expensive one-way ticket.
- Remember when Eyjafjallajökull erupted and caused chaos all over? It happened when I was due to fly to the Philippines (after two years of not returning). My flight was delayed for a whole week.
- On a trip back to London, our plane had engine trouble and our delayed flight got us stranded in Qatar.
- Whilst travelling with our grandmother, Emirates lost her wheelchair =(
- I missed a close friend’s wedding because I applied for my Schengen visa late. It was eventually granted… on the day of her wedding!
To be fair, those unfortunate events weren’t all that bad. I still managed to see my loved ones and everyone took care of my nan (who was then compensated for her lost property).
I also got to see a bit of Qatar and was lucky to have met people with interesting stories, including a Greek grandma who couldn’t speak English. We “communicated” through gestures and “guesstures”. The humanity of it was lovely.
I used to be worried about strangers I meet on travels and I’ve met a few along the way. Surprisingly, these people have inspired me for the moments we were together, whether it was a few days or a fleeting boat tour. There were memorable ones: two old married couples taught me a few things about relationships; a kid on the street taught me about resilience and tenacity; a few Finnish people taught me how to live in the moment. You meet people for various reasons and whether they remember you or not, be grateful for these moments and learn as much as you can. We are more alike than we are unalike.
However, I’ve learned to be more time-conscious and vigilant with my belongings. Because I never want to ever be stuck paying a hefty airline bill and missing out on precious time.
Since then, I’ve also become better at prepping for travels/holidays. I now plan my hols months ahead and make sure my itinerary spreadsheets are all ready. I pack my luggage at least two weeks before (to refrain from using clothes I want to bring) and even have a “travel drawer” for basics I could chuck in my backpack. Marie Kondo would be proud.
I also make sure my work handovers are as thorough as possible (down to each click, flick, and pick). Unforch, I’m still learning how to relax properly. From time to time, whilst on break, I still check work emails (and sometimes reply… eep).
Now I know as bloggers we have this idea of having a “social responsibility” to produce the best photos and come up with original content. Fair enough. But in all the worrying about whether we’ve taken the best beach views or the sexiest selfies, we sometimes forget to soak it all in.
I think this is one of the best things I’ve learnt from last year’s quick trip to Milan. I was so worried about not taking enough photos that I totally forgot to just be in the moment. Or to just be with company. I was in one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world and by the time I was ready to light a candle and say a prayer, it was got a bit rushed as we were shushed out. It totally kicked in when I saw Michaelangelo’s Rondanini Pieta sculpture. This unfinished work of art reminded me of how things don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. My photos don’t have to be as great as my memories, and a blog post is definitely not worth the the worrying.
So I guess that’s all I can say. Relax, HAKUNA MATATA like Simba and SOAK IT ALL IN like baba au rhum!
Because sometimes, nobody gives a shizzle about your #sausagelegs (even though they’re fun to take photos of).
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Lessons Learned While Traveling
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