An eight thousand motorbike trip from Guatemala to New York City, an award winning adventure travel company and a lifetime of looking for the next adventure, here’s what I know to be true.
1. Long term travel is not glamorous.
Four days of adverse weather conditions and high altitude.
I’ve hiked the Inca Trail many times, glorious yes, glamorous, definitely not (apart from that one lady from Germany that somehow managed to look impeccable each day as she emerged from her tent in a white t-shirt, hair in place, lips glossed….incredible).
We’ve all seen those the glossy travel photos of bronzed people eating what looks like a banquet style meal as the sun sets over the ocean.
Here’s the reality.
A few years ago I was with my group on Roatan, an island off the Caribbean coast of Honduras and there was a birthday in the group.
With the help of one of my favourite local restaurants I decided to do something special and set up a dinner table right on the beach, I tied balloons on the chairs, it looked amazing, almost like the glossy travel photos.
This what happened next.
The sparks from the BBQ popped the balloons, the tide came in ever so quickly and practically took the table away, an incredibly strong breeze came from nowhere and left most of us ladies looking a touch windswept (understatement) and we had to shift everything in about two minutes flat so it wasn’t swallowed up by the sea.
We ended up have the most amazing picnic style dinner sitting on a big rug on the floor, they don’t show you these types of photos in glossy travel magazines.
The lesson — embrace the glorious not just the glamorous
2. Intuition and Engagement
How do you feel when you go on holiday and everything is new, unfamiliar and exciting?
Human survival instincts will automatically raise our levels of awareness in unfamiliar surroundings to keep us safe and with this comes a certain heightened level of engagement.
You learn to act and react more on intuition and less on other influences such as societal or peer group pressure to do what’s perceived as the correct thing in certain situations.
The lesson — assess your level of engagement in every day tasks. Talking to your partner after a long day at work, walking the dog, playing with your kids, having dinner with friends. Commit to being fully engaged in everything you do from the mundane to the marvellous.
3. Respect the elements
Picture the scene
It’s sunny, you’ve got the open road in front of you, a full tank of petrol and no where to be.
Half an hour later you find yourself in the eye of a tropical storm taking refuge under a bridge along side many other cold wet bikers.
That was me a few years ago and learning to respect the elements was one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learnt.
That storm taught me that we don’t control everything in life, mother nature can be beautiful and fierce all at the same time.
We need to learn how to respect our environment and the best way to do that is to be in it.
The lesson — whenever you get the opportunity, embrace the elements, dance in a rainstorm or take a long walk on a windy day, note how you feel when you embrace the elements instead of avoiding them.
4. You’re capable of far more than you ever imagined
Travel, unlike any other activity or action has the unique potential to inspire you, educate you, make you realise that you’re capable of more than you ever imagined should you step towards the outer edges of your comfort zone.
The lesson — do something that pushes you just beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone but remember that everyones comfort zone is different, set your own goals and focus on them, you’re capable of far more than you ever imagined.
5. People are fundamentally good and the same
The past fifteen years have taught me that people, all over the world are fundamentally good and the same. We all have similar needs, aspirations and desires.
When I spend time time in Europe I see this.
People getting up in the morning, drinking coffee, taking the kids to school, going to work and going out with friends.
When I’m back in Guatemala, guess what I see, people doing exactly the same.
The Lesson — we all catch ourselves from time to time making assumptions, not only about others but what others think about us. Challenge yourself to suspend those thoughts and remember that ultimately, we’re all the same regardless of where we live, what we do and what language we speak, there’s something comfortingly grounding in this.
When was the last time you spoke to someone about your health, wellness and lifestyle goals?
For Health & Wellness Coaching with a sidekick of adventure travel click on the link below.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on July 30, 2016.
Originally published at medium.com