cockpit

Avoiding the Dreaded Jaded Traveler Syndrome

What are the Secrets To Avoiding Jaded Traveler Syndrome?

Good question…

We all know jaded travelers who ho-hum your stories about visiting Myanmar, Bolivia or Morocco. “Oh, I’ve been there!”

Or those that pooh-pooh your heroic tales of hiking the Inca Trail, seeing a Santorini sunset or noshing Bangkok street food. “Oh, I’ve done that!”

And of course they have already stayed at the newest hip hotel, visited the hottest it destination and experienced the latest urban zip trek run. “What’s next?” they pout.

Been there, done that, what’s next?

Personally, I hate the jaded traveler mentality–the word hate in this case may not be strong enough a verb.

Travel is supposed to be a joy; a wondrous adventure–and yes, a sheer indulgent luxury! We are indeed the lucky few able to see the world as so few ever can or do. Travel is also a pleasure–an eye-opening, engaging and thrillingly participatory delight.

Frankly, a lot of travelers these days travel with their eyes closed. They try hard not to look too amazed. Exhibiting a cool nonchalant manner about them. (I’ve seen them on the streets of Paris, the back roads of Bali and the winding trails of Nepal.) When in fact they are indeed amazed. It is just that their egos are too enlarged to allow them to actually see the little things that matter the most and make traveling truly amazing.

So, in the spirit of assisting some of the more jaded travelers amongst us (and fellow country collectors at large), here are Seven Travel Secrets to help ward off the dreaded Jaded Traveler Syndrome.

  1. Don’t take yourself too seriously...vacations, a holiday or an adventure are times to let go, to have fun and get out of your 9-5 fifty week a year comfort zones. It is my firm belief, after conducting the annual travel adventure event known as The Global Scavenger Hunt for the last decade, that travelers never feel more alive than when they are out of their element or having to deal with challenges outside the box. So, get out of your neutral living space, out of the safety of your cubicle and get humbled. Laugh…and be laughed at. It is okay to be human.
  2. Shut up and listen…contrary to most people’s opinions of themselves, we don’t know everything. (Some of us even less than that!) People do things differently in different parts of the world–and for different motivations too. There is no right way. If you allow yourself to ask honest questions and then listen sincerely, you might be surprised what you will hear–and maybe learn also. You might even make some new friends. So, keep your talk-listen ratio in check.
  3. Slow down…breath; look at where you are and what your surroundings are. As a culture we are in crazy busy mode much too much in our 24/7 hyper-connected lives. We miss things. Like the smell of rain. The smiles on children. The cow blocking traffic in Delhi. The storm clouds brewing over Bora Bora. It is indeed an old truism we all know, but sometimes when traveling we neglect it because we are in too much of hurry to see and do things, that we simply forget to stop and smell the roses and take in the sights, sounds and smells. Stop and breathe in your surroundings. You may never get the opportunity to be there again!
  4. You are one of the gifted few…now get over yourself…you need to really know that travel is an amazing privilege–not a right! When it comes to travel today, we travelers are all part of the 1%’ers! You don’t really know how lucky you are to have won the national lottery that allows you the freedom and wherewithal to travel. So, seeing how the other 99% live, work and play in the world is a privilege bestowed upon us–embrace that luxury and make good use of it. Appreciate that mindset and make each vacation, holiday or adventure a truly special occasion.
  5. Embrace la difference...oddly, many travel tips these days are all about making your hotel and eating habits while traveling resemble a home away from home style!? What is the point of traveling? If you want everything to be like home–stay home! Accept strangeness and uniqueness of your surroundings. Get out and explore, turn each trip into a true adventure–that is one of the main points of traveling–the seeing and experiencing novel and fresh takes on life.
  6. Don’t just sight see...site do! Get out of the hotel cocoon, seek out authentic site-doing experiences and be an active participant in your travels, not just a passive sightseer. Know that the key to traveling is to actually experience a new destination rather than just going to see it. Take public transportation and leave the car hire or rental at the hotel. Never eat where you sleep–get out to try something uncommon. Play what I call Taxi-Cab Roulette, by asking a taxi driver to take you to a restaurant that he likes to take his family to! Roll the dice and have fun come what may.
  7. Let serendipity in...shit happens as they say. But know that sometimes, most times as a matter of fact, that the most interesting and memorable stories you will get from your travels, occur only when things do not go according to plan. You must let go, breathe and allow for serendipity to unfold. Learn to trust strangers in strange lands; to be open to human interaction–you will really be surprised. Sometimes the more you get lost, the more you discover. Get lost and let things happen.

As someone who has luckily traveled the globe many times, I am a huge proponent of what I call Travel 3.0 that allows you to get the most out of your travels by mixing authentic, challenging and participatory elements together to reach a type of travel rapture…a bliss or zone while traveling that makes you feel more alive and wanting more. Try it–you will never be the same again!

This type of travel addiction is much more interesting and enlightening than the “Been there, done that, what’s next?” ego-driven affliction.

By William D. Chalmers – Copyright 2000-2016, GEA, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(Reprinted from Huffington Post, July 2012)

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the world in a suitcase

Travel Skills

It is often asked, by competitors, fellow travelers, and the media—just what does it take to be crowned The World’s Greatest Travelers? That is, what does it take to win The Global Scavenger Hunt world travel championship event?

Over the years, we have witnessed countless acts of tenacity and creativity on the part of our intrepid travelers in the name of completing scavenges. We have learned from watching Teams, successfully—and not so successfully!—take our quick three-week lap around the world. Face it, this travel adventure requires not only taking a huge leap of faith, but overcoming a lot of situational challenges along the way too: there are language barriers and cultural differences, logistic snafus and jetlag, internal Team dynamics, as well as, the obvious heat of the competition itself. Overcoming these challenges well will be the difference between just surviving this event, and maybe ultimately winning the 2016 crown.
11 - YYZ - GSH 2013 PLC 001
Based on our personal observations of former participants—winners and losers alike!—over the past 12 events, we have concluded that whichever Team is to eventually crowned The World’s Greatest Travelers on May 7th at the conclusion of The Global Scavenger Hunt’s 2016 edition, we are sure that they have some, if not all, of the following skill sets:

● the ability to admit that they are hopelessly lost—and then humbly asking for help;
● the cautious use of honest shoe-checks—and always having a temple shoe bag with them;
● knowing how and when to trust those short hairs standing alert on the back of your necks;
● the uncanny knack of never asking locals simple up/down, yes/no types of questions;
● the capacity for promptly identifying and quickly resolving any Team dispute fairly;
● the ability to conduct on-the-fly problem solving in ever-changing contexts;
● the good common sense to start each day early with a good breakfast—even after drinking late;
● a flair for packing quickly, effectively, and very, very lightly;
● the sagacity of asking the appropriate questions—before getting hopelessly lost;
● possessing the time-honored virtues: patience, compassion, stick-to-it-iveness, honesty and fairness;
● the wisdom to say enough is enough and letting go of a quest;
● the luck of the Irish; politeness of a Canadian; skill of a German; and, the chutzpah of an American;
● the wisdom of understanding our unofficial motto of “he who runs cannot walk with dignity”;
● juggling effectively the need for flexibility, organization, scheduling and contingency planning;
● the self-awareness to know when to stop and smell the roses and enjoy the sunset—behind you;
● the gracious capacity and wisdom to listen, really listen, to others while they are talking;
● having the personal resolve it takes to regularly take several deep breaths while counting to ten;
● being a bit of a thrill-seeker and calculated risk-taker, who’s up for any challenge once—big or small;
● the good sense of always having some emergency toilet paper handy;
● knowing that when all else fails, that a few bucks can sometimes facilitate anything;
● the innate gift for willingly grabbing on to serendipitous opportunities when they arise out of the blue;
● the intuitive use of situational awareness to ward off potential pitfalls lying before you;
● knowing that you get out of things what you put into them: truly, nothing ventured, nothing gained;
● the fearlessness of adventurer Indiana Jones;
● the curiosity of Nancy Drew;
● the patience, tolerance, compassion and empathy of the Dali Lama;
● an excellent, timely, and regular utilization of your sense of humor;
● the wisdom to look for, and readily accept, the underlying good in all things and all people; and,
● the capacity to be regularly humbled.

Oh yes, and the great ability to loosen up and have fun while not take anything—including themselves—too seriously! Because after all, it is just a game!

Want to add any skills? Please do…

 

 

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