Travel and Exploration: Not for the Faint of Heart

by | Feb 17, 2022 | Global | 1 comment

I’m heading out on another three-month adventure and I hear the usual accolades: “You are living the dream,” “La Buena Vida”, “What an inspiration!”

The excitement of a world traveler.

As I cruise countries I share adventures with friends and family, blog, and post on social media stories and photos of stunning locations, fabulous food, breathtaking landscapes, and adventure-filled days.

Living the dream Gwen Hyatt
Living the dream by Gwen Hyatt

Speed bumps along the way

What I don’t often show and tell are the speed bumps, hurdles, frustrations, and challenges along the way.

Whether traveling for vacation, business, a world excursion, or relocating to a new country you are bound to incur some baffling or disheartening situations no matter how careful and fastidious your planning.

Travel glitches are part of the adventure and include flight delays, illness or medical issues, lost luggage or personal belongings, miscommunication regarding reservations, poor accommodations, safety issues, or travel burnout and fatigue.

Being a road warrior

Enter my road warrior persona, imperative for slow-going world travel. It all begins with that uneasy feeling upon leaving for that unknown, indefinite period of time. One has to be tough when diverging from safe, seamless and predestined tours to slow extended travel exploring and living on your personal time and schedule with no prearranged itinerary.

Endless possibilities Rachel Cook
Endless possibilities by Rachel Cook

Now let’s be real – no matter how much you like to travel, it can be nerve-racking and intimidating. Like the time in Lisbon when my MacBook Air was stolen from a locked cabinet in my locked room. Or when my bus broke down at midnight in the middle of nowhere in Nicaragua.

Also, the week I rented the darling little open-air bungalow at Playa Gigante and then was slammed by a dry windstorm and everything became saturated in perpetual dust for five days.

Oh yes, and the broken arm I suffered hiking in Guatemala and the ensuing four-hour hike, one-hour boat ride, two-hour bus ride, and one hour walk to get an x-ray, only to find out I would need to return the next day for the x-ray report.

I won’t forget the time I had money stolen from the unlocked safe in my apartment while it was being cleaned and I was sitting in the next room.

The most outrageous situation – the night a man walked into my Airbnb bedroom and wanted to get into bed with me.  OYE!

Not to mention I haven’t mentioned the missed connections, delayed flights, or having to pee in some horrendous bus stop bathrooms.

Correcting and adapting

Easy does it Chad Greiter
Easy does it by Chad Greiter

Plus solo travel can be lonely. I can go days without speaking to anyone, especially if I don’t speak the language. Be prepared for travel fatigue, because it can easily set in, particularly when changing locations frequently.

Handling challenging and stressful situations can determine the success of your adventure. Being able to course correct and adapt is imperative, a skill I have slowly acquired. At times it requires surrendering to not knowing.

The most important and first priority when something unexpected happens is to make sure you are safe. Then to remain calm and to be present to assess the situation to determine a logical plan of action.

Time to regroup

If I’ve had a rough incident I find staying in one location for a while to rest, rejuvenate, and regroup helps me to remain grounded. The low points are usually temporary.

Yes, slow travel requires that you step out of your comfort zone. This is where growth and learning happen and relationships are formed. You learn to adapt, morph, and become less flustered by situations that you cannot control and learn to settle into unknown spaces. Travel weathers you like a wave-sculpted stone.

Despite the sometimes frustrating and unnerving situations I have experienced, I continue to travel far, wide, and deep, knowing that the joys and rewards of these experiences outweigh the occasional negative situation.

Viajes felices y seguros!

While you are here motor around the TCI website for other tips and information from seasoned travelers and expats. And don’t forget to leave your comments.

by: Gwen Hyatt