Years ago, when I encountered any sort of problem or difficulty at work, I would tell my team not to worry. I would reassure them that I would just bring in my magic wand. Everything would be fine.
I actually had one that I purchased from a local Renaissance Festival. It was a beautiful twisted metal wand with a gorgeous crystal attached. But that’s not what held the magic. It was the attitude I had about the situation.
Somehow, I always knew that something good would always happen. I was confident that challenging situations would always work out for the best. Call it serendipity, happenstance or just plain luck. Whatever the stress, I understood that a positive attitude would bring a faster resolution.
This was a belief I held in all areas of my life. As soon as I thought optimistically about any situation, a solution would appear. Here’s how I now apply my magic wand of positivity to travel in my sixties.
Recently I was traveling from Fort Lauderdale to Fort Myers, Florida. I had scheduled a shuttle from the airport to take me on the short 2-hour trip. It seemed like a great option. I love land journeys because they are very relaxing. They allow you to see areas that you miss by flying. What happened in the next few hours taught me some important lessons.
Here are the 5 things you can do to deal with them.
One bonus of being retired is that you can take your time and set your own schedule when travelling. It’s great to appreciate the stress free world of boomer travel. I waited patiently at the airport for the shuttle. I felt very fortunate to not be getting on a plane. Have wandering around the airport and visiting with some of the nice travelers. Making the best of every nuance of travel is a gift we can treasure as we get older.
As the pick-up time approached, I went to the designated area and waited. No shuttle arrived. Unexpected travel delays can be a challenge. So, I waved my magic positivity wand and called the office. They cheerfully confirmed the shuttle was just running late. No problem. It was a great excuse to enjoy the fresh air and watch the people with deadlines and timelines go by.
Travel can often be full of uncertainty. The only way to deal with possible unexpected detours is to enjoy what is right in front of you. While waiting for my shuttle, I met a lovely young couple from Australia who were traveling to visit family in the area. We ignored the wait, and had a great conversation about their family and what they had planned for their tip.
Despite delays, you can always find a positive side to any travel situation. For me, I made some new friends. Don’t be afraid to talk to strangers at the airport. We are all travelers in a strange land. Discovering that patience is the only positive response to delay calms the nerves. By now, for me however, the shuttle office was no longer answering calls and my phone had completely died.
These are moments while traveling when you might be tempted to panic. I needed to be on the other side of the state that evening. There was a need to make other plans. Most people in general and women in their sixties in particular, like to be in control.
I personally don’t like feeling trapped. I’m sure no one does. The best response is to get creative and see what other choices are available. Calm and confident waving of the positivity magic wand can work every time. Staying calm is the best way to maintain a steady state of mind.
When problems arise, you have to decide how you want to respond. It never helps to get upset or to be rude. Calmly assess the situation and then decide how you want to proceed. The golden rule of travel is to stay flexible and be open to other possibilities.
Think outside the box. To get to my destination I could rent-a-car, take a train, jump on a coach, hire a taxi or even fly. It’s always good idea to explore all reasonable avenues. It is just like facing those workplace challenges. Literally the moment you begin to short list your options, things start to get resolved. Just when I was about to forget the golden rule, the shuttle pulled up to collect us.
When travelling, you often meet grumpy people. Our shuttle driver was brusque. He had clearly had a very bad day. I was guessing it was much worse than ours. The bus was loaded with passengers who seemed very tired and frustrated. The positive was that we were on our way! At a short fuel break, I talked briefly to the driver and asked cautiously how he was doing.
He explained that he was actually the owner of the company. One of his drivers had called in sick so he had been driving since 4 am. When I approached him as another human being, he was so warm and friendly the atmosphere changed immediately for the entire journey. It was a good reminder that being kind is a great response to most situations.
Looking back over a challenging trip is often the greatest travel souvenir. After arriving safely, having a great dinner and good night’s sleep I thought about what a great day that it had been. I met some wonderful people and got to see some lovely parts of the state and everything worked out perfectly. With this attitude you can turn a tiring, frustrating day into a positive experience.
Perfect does not mean that everything goes to plan. It means that it works out for the best, usually in a way that will surprise and delight you!
I no longer have that magic wand. However, its power is always with me. As long as I remember to have a positive attitude, the very best outcome possible will almost certainly happen.
What experiences have you had while traveling? Do you expect something good or something bad when things go awry? What do you think are the secrets to stress-free travel after 60? Join the conversation and share your stories.