Traveling in the Moment

Posted in language
Want to recapture your youth and feel like a child again? Simply head to a foreign country, especially one where you don’t speak the language, and you’ll suddenly rediscover the joy of not having any responsibilities. 

Has anyone else ever experienced this?  When you’re at home, you’re clearly a capable adult and you make decisions for yourself from what time you’re going to get up in the morning to where you’re going to meet your friends for dinner. But put yourself on a plane for a few hours and then take a quick spin through airport customs and suddenly you’re in a land where people decide not to worry you with questions about how and why, but instead just want you to sit back and enjoy yourself, much like you did when you were a child.

Remember when you didn’t have a care in the world?

When I travel to a foreign country my hosts will often consult me on high level decisions like “What kind of food do you want to eat for dinner” or “Do you want to visit the museum or to the beach today” but once that basic information is in hand, I am no longer involved in the detailed planning. Suddenly, I am just following behind my hosts like a child because I don’t know enough about the place I am visiting and/or I don’t know enough of the language to add anything valuable to further detailed discussions.  For example, I’ll be told that we were going to a seafood restaurant for dinner, but I’ll have  no idea as to where that restaurant is, how we are going to get there or what time we are heading out the door.  If I am lucky, I know whether to dress casually or to put on my best dress, but often I don’t know that until I see what my hosts are wearing.  

I admit sometimes being left out of the details can be a bit annoying. For example I’ve sometimes been the reason for a late arrival because someone forgot to tell me we had to leave the house at 6:00 PM until it was…um…5:55 PM. And for someone like me who likes to be in control of their situation at all times, it can also be quite disconcerting to let go and just go with the flow.  You want to know all the details and weigh in on the decisions being made.  You don’t just want to follow along; you want to lead the way. But if you’re with people you trust and who you know have your best interests in mind, it can be nice to live like a child again for a few days. No need to worry about details or the how to’s…just sit back and enjoy the ride.

The joys of traveling like a little kid

Traveling in situations like this really teaches you to live in the moment. No need to worry about what’s coming up because someone else is sure to figure it out for you.  You can just concentrate on having fun at the beach because your friends will be figuring out what time to leave to avoid traffic or how to order lunch from the seaside restaurant. Of course this only works when you’re around people you know you can trust. Don’t just sit back and let someone make all of your decisions for you if you don’t know their motives. If you do, there’s a very good chance you will find yourself with no money and no luggage in the middle of nowhere wishing you’d paid a bit more attention to what was going on around you. If you’re by yourself in a foreign country, always be aware of your situation, the details of your plans and if you’re not sure, ask questions and demand answers!

But if you’re around good friends, try to resist the temptation to always need to know “what’s going on”.  As an adult, there are very few times when you can get away with having little to no responsibility for your actions.  Enjoy that freedom while it lasts and just live in the moment.  
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2 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • ~CDA February 5, 2013, 8:41 am

    So true… in fact, I find that the longer I’m on a trip, the more I welcome having someone else I trust jumping in to make some of the decisions. It is the one time that I allow myself to let go and let others help to make the day to day decisions. Ultimately, that is part of the luxury of travels.

    • Nailah February 8, 2013, 3:21 pm

      The key phrase there is “having someone else I trust”. If you have that, its great to relax and just let go of the controls for a little while.

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