How good are you at adapting to new situations? Unfortunately, one of the hardest skills to learn or maintain as we grow older is the ability to adjust to a changing world. And this year has really put us to the test!
Whether you have had to modify your personal or your professional life, the fact is that few of us have been able to continue as normal over the past six months.
In our personal lives, we may have found ourselves on our own more than usual, unable to see children or grandchildren, and possibly prevented from pursuing the interests and hobbies that usually fill our days.
Certainly, for those of us who love exploring new places and travelling overseas, our schedule has been completely derailed!
Many of us have also had to make huge changes in our professional lives. At Hedonistic Hiking, which Mick and I have built up over the past 12 years, we’ve had to really dig deep on several levels.
In common with many travel businesses this year, our gastronomic walking holidays were brought to a sharp and shocking stop just 8 weeks before the start of the season, and it was hard to know what to worry about first!
The immediate concern, of course, was everyone’s health, but we also hated the idea that we were letting down our guests and suppliers. Apart from anything else, we also desperately missed leading our tours!
Fast forward a couple of months, and we’ve learnt so much from the experience. We’ve simply had to adapt to move forwards and by doing so, have grown stronger in so many ways.
Naturally, everyone has to find their own way through these tricky times but picking up tips from others can help.
Firstly, if you’re the sort of person who prefers face-to-face chats to phone calls, we sympathise! Phone calls, for many, just don’t deliver the same feelgood factor as catching up over a cup of coffee or glass of wine. But this year, we’ve been left with little choice.
The important thing, we’ve found, is to only make those calls when you feel like it, rather than viewing them as something to tick off a list. In fact, we’ve found these calls, on both a personal and professional level, very rewarding.
Over the years, the people behind the family-owned hotels and restaurants that are the backbone of our business have become our friends. So, as well as being enjoyable, staying in touch remotely has provided plenty of much-needed mutual support.
Nevertheless, phone calls and Zoom sessions are time-consuming, and there are times when a simple, quick message or a make-you-smile photo can fill the gap.
The fact is that while we may want to limit the time we spend in front of a screen, re-connecting via social media, sharing images, and sending or receiving a WhatsApp message can provide a much-needed mental boost.
You may also surprise yourself. For us, the idea of taking our business online seemed completely inconceivable. But we were thrilled to find a way of re-connecting with past guests, and getting to know new guests, via a series of fun online cooking classes.
Fabulous ingredients were sent to our participants/dining companions in advance of a ‘Risotto done Right’ class, led by Mick, a trained chef, and we now love ‘virtually’ accompanying our guests to Piedmont in northern Italy!
So, is it possible to get round the geographical limitations placed on us? We were in Australia when lockdown took hold in Europe, and we quickly realised that travelling to Italy was out of the question.
If we wanted to hike, it had to be in Australia – and more specifically, in the state of Victoria where we spend part of the year. Once we were given a little more freedom to explore, we relished having the time to research local history and plan new itineraries which take in some extraordinary places.
This was our opportunity to connect with all the brilliant food and wine producers around us and set up some fantastic hikes right on our doorstep.
If you’re currently restricted by local quarantine rules, why not devote some time to exploring locally?
Try doing some research into your town’s history. This is a fun way to find out about local food producers and perhaps think about trying a new route each week. It’s amazing what you see and appreciate when you’re on two feet and in the fresh air!
How easily do you adapt to new situations? Do you find it harder now than in the past? Let us know what you’ve done that has helped you adapt to the restrictions imposed by lockdown. Please share your thoughts and comments with our wonderful community.