My husband and I are getting ready to leave on a My Way tour. While we are both so excited I am stressing over life, a large dog that needs lots of help to go out( sister helping hopefully!) ; a daughter's messy divorce, etc. You know,life! Does anyone have any tricks to help you forget "life" and just enjoy yourself on your trip? Thanks!
In general I tell myself that the problems I am leaving behind and the problems I may run into are nothing new. Thousands travel every day and solve/survive the problems I have and many which are worse. I also find that when I arrive it is pretty easy to really get into the activity/sites/culture of the place I am going. It also helps if you limit your accessibility (insert YOUR ability to solve the problem someone is having 6,000 miles away) so I don't accept most calls and tell people I will only check e-mails if/when I can.
I owned a stressful business and often had to cope with its problems while on tours. A neurotic client who kept me on the phone for 45 minutes while in Ville Franche sur Mer which made me miss our group's hike to Cap Ferrat. The contract faxed to my hotel in Turkey that took up three hours of my time. Yes, some things from home will crop up while you're away.
While on your trip, stay in the moment, concentrate on what you are experiencing and luxuriate in your surroundings. Enjoy your happiness!
When all else fails, recite the Serenity Prayer. "God grant me the serenity to change the things I can, to accept the things I can't and the wisdom to know the difference." If things really get stressed, there's always the short version "F**k it!."
Just remember, no matter how serious the problem, it will not make a bit of difference 100 years from today. Now if I could just get myself to follow my own thoughts about this.......
I'm with Ray on this one. Limit your availability. We leave a list of hotel phone numbers and email addresses with a trusted relative, then pretty much disconnect. We check our email every three or four days, unless we have been alerted that something is going on. We trust our relative to call us if there's an emergency. Every few days I send a group email to a few friends and family members, so they'll know we're okay and a bit about what we're doing.
Now, this doesn't always work. We ended up last year having to handle some political stuff from Sicily because the person we entrusted the task to bailed. But on the whole, we can relax and pretend everything is okay. The world goes on just fine without us.
Philip,I love the Serenity Prayer but I love your "quicker" version, says it all!! Thanks!! and thanks for other good thoughts. It IS easier said than done!! I guess the bottom line is that we are all so very fortunate to be able to travel.
I think one thing that helps is that on vacation to Europe you are not on "auto-pilot" a lot. You know, at home you drive to the grocery store without paying a huge amount of attention however when you are in Paris you are concentrating on where you are going, which direction to head on the Metro, having the ticket handy, being aware of your surroundings so you are not pickpocketed, figuring out which way to go when you come up from the Metro, etc. All that puts you in the moment pretty easily and really helps disconnect from things back home.
I also agree to limit your accessibility.
Have a wonderful, wonderful time!
Thank you Pam!!
Pre-trip stress is very common because life is always throwing curve balls. However, once you close that front door, it's just you and the adventure ahead. As others have said, limit your availability but be sure you can pick up email in case of a REAL emergency (tree falls on house, fire, etc.). Why don't you get to the airport a little ahead and treat yourself to a neck massage at the on-the-go spa, or a mani or pedi. Or a good beer and meal during a long lay over. Remind yourself that you are free for now and can do as you like. To me the vacation begins the moment I close the front door.
Day to day roadblocks in life is one reason we travel often. We're trying to get our daughter to step up and do her duties as a single mother of two.
I agree that making yourself inaccessible is the best thing you can do. With modern cellphones, the chances are they can call you anywhere in Europe just like they do at home. Last trip, our little granddaughter was calling us in Budapest @ 3:30 a.m. on her mother's speed dial. We may just keep our cellphone on from 12:00 CST to 3:00 CST. And when we do talk to them at home, we're only talking about positive things--like what we saw and did today. We're not talking about what goes on at home, as this is our time.
And when it's said and done, life goes on. And when you return home, you've just got so many more memories that'll last you a lifetime.
The first important step is the "pre-plan" - tell everyone that you really will not be accessible between ___ & ____ dates. Let them know as an emergency, they can contact your hotel. Let them know you won't have your phone (or have it turned on). Before your trip, make sure your daughter has a person she can talk to while you're gone, etc. so you both can feel okay about your trip.
When you board the plane, physically turn your current situations "on vacation mode" when you turn off your phone. Relax, and begin your vacation on the plane.
During the vacation, don't check your phone, don't check e-mail. Because every time you look, it will take half a day to get back into your vacation, relaxed mind.
Like others have suggested, unplug! When I am traveling, I send emails every few days to let people know I am okay. But I don't read my emails. I may scan the subjects to see if there is something that can't wait. I don't use social media. I keep my phone on airplane mode so I am not getting calls or texts. Also, knowing I am physically far away from home naturally makes that life "mentally" far away.
Well, I think my issue is more that I "stuck" my sister and husband with babysitting a 120 lb. Newfoundland with back end issues. I got carried away and "volunteered" her for 15 days instead of a week. That's what little sisters are for, right?right? I guess there is always pay back. thanks for all the great advice!! =]
Oh for the "good old days" when you went on a trip you were completely out of touch. My wife and I would go to Europe/China and tell the kids and the boss "see you in 3 weeks". At one point I was working in Germany for 3 months and could make 2 phone calls home a week to my wife.
Now, when we were first married I was in the Navy. When off the coast of Viet Nam letters took about 3 weeks for a turnaround (ask a question and get an answer). Worse yet was when I was on a submarine and it was 2 to 3 months from the time you left until you got back and absolutely no communications with home.
So it depends on your background how much you have to be in touch.
Well, Reading, sometimes it's great to be able to be in touch. Other times,out of side, out of mind. Not sure if we are going forward or back wards!!
Another vote here for disconnecting! We don't even travel abroad with a phone but do scan through our email on a daily basis. I leave a contact list with a family member, our email address with a neighbor, and messages from either are the only messages I look for. I drop a short note to family every 4 days or so but that's it.
Once you're on the plane, you leave the bill-paying, cooking, cleaning, laundry, yard work, errands, appointments and other mundane tasks behind: your time is ALL YOURS. Enjoying THAT doesn't take any effort!!
I totally understand how you feel. Been there. But let me tell you, once you arrive, get to the hotel, you are so busy finding your way, seeing new sites, taking photos, reading the guide book, going to dinner, meeting the group. Every day is jam packed with new adventures you don't have time to think about your life at home. I am not kidding, you are so busy with what is happening in the present, you forget your troubles and your home life. The trip becomes your life. But there are rules, like others said, make a contact list and call every few days home to make sure all is well and to inform them you are fine. But limit the phone calls and don't talk about the divorce etc. Just make sure the dog is ok. Tell them, it is too much money to talk long, plus you have to be somewhere. Unplug and don't look at emails. Better to call for a few minutes than read emails. During the trip, don't have conversations with your husband about what is happening at home or about you life at home. Reconnect with him and talk about the trip sites and other things, just not home life. Give yourself a break, let's face it, it will be there when you return. I have to follow the same advice as you as my mother has cancer and is going for treatment. I am leaving in Sept for a RS tour but asked the doctor if I could go as I would have cancelled ( and I did not buy travel insurance), but he said of course go, why not! So I am going and will try not to worry while I am France. And my mom wants me to go and have a good time. So I know what you are going through. Just make a list of what needs to be done upon your return as you forget everything and when you come home, you won't remember what needs to be done. It is going to be an amazing trip you will be sorry you didn't do it sooner!! Have a safe and fun time! Best, Ann
If it's really feeling bad about your sister, the dog, and its medical problems, isn't there a vet who boards dogs near you? Your dog's issues would be watched, your sister is carefree, and you feel guilty only about your dog, not your sister. We all feel terrible leaving our pets.
So much good advice!! It's good to be reminded that we all have "issues"! Betts, good idea about the vet. that will be plan B. Ann, I wish you a wonderful trip also. You too need to recharge and relax. Maybe I'll see you in Paris! Best to your Mom.
When I took a vacation from a busy, demanding career, I told my subordinates that the only reason to contact me about the business is if it were on fire. And then, what was I supposed to do about it? Leave strong people in charge, turn off your phone, and only take a personal phone number that your immediate family knows. And drink good wine, you'll feel a lot better about things.
I'm going to differ from the majority here regarding "keeping in touch". I've been travelling with a cell phone for many years, and wouldn't leave home without it. Even if I never make a call, it provides some "peace of mind" and the knowledge that if someone wants to reach me (or vice versa) for something important, they have the ability to easily do that. If there was a major problem (such as with my house), I'd definitely want to know about it as decisions may be required. Being incommunicado for a month just doesn't sit well with me.
I also travel with a Netbook and use E-mail. However, I've found that due to circumstances, I sometimes don't have the ability to access Wi-Fi every day. The cell phone is a much more reliable method, as I can use it when I have "down time" such as on train rides.
As I travel solo much of the time, I also like to be able to send texts to my family to let them know where I am and that all is OK. Texts are a really cheap way to keep in touch.
This isn't a trick, but it an important element of dealing with stress. For me, my knowledge that I serve a loving God who cares about me and those I love, makes a huge difference when I face the challenges of life and situations that can seem fairly overwhelming. Even if things are "out of my control", they certainly aren't out of His. This helps to keep things in perspective.
I hope you have a wonderful trip.
Thank you Carol.