Travel these days is full of challenges. Getting from here to there, no matter your mode of transportation, is costly and time consuming, and comes with no guarantee you will actually reach your destination. It wouldn’t surprise me if you asked someone how they spent their holiday weekend the answer might be A) Stuck in traffic or B) At the airport. It wasn’t that long ago that the worse you would be told is that it rained all weekend.
I can’t help but laugh when I see travelers being interviewed on television at the airport or the gas pumps, they seem surprised that this is happening to them. laughing may be mean spirited but… have they not been paying attention!! Gas is selling at record level prices, and airlines are selling tickets on planes that don’t exist! It wasn’t a secret! It’s all over the news, even the fake news!! They appear incredulous that this has happening to them personally, even outraged, their favorite line is “I can’t believe this is happening.” What were they thinking when they went to catch their flight? That it was just ‘other people’ that this was happening to? That the problem didn’t apply to them? Did they honestly believe that their flight would be on time or at the gate at all? Why are they acting so surprised and outraged that is happening to them, and not just the ‘other people’?
I am one of the ‘other people’. What makes me an ‘other people’ is not that I am prone to misfortune. Okay, I may be a little more prone to misfortune than most ‘other people’. But not so bad that I don’t recognize good fortune when it comes my way. I’m not totally delusional. I think I have a very realistic view of the world around me, and understand that I am never just a spectator. The moment I walk out my door, I am an active part of the world, and shit can happen to anyone, me included.
I would much rather be one of the ‘other people’, than an ‘I can’t believe’ person. ‘Other people’ have their expectations grounded in reality. They deal with the adversity of travel, much better than the ‘I can’t believe’ group does. ‘Other people’ are a step ahead, when things go down. They travel knowing they’re not immune. The likelihood of something happening had already crossed their minds. They watched the news! They prepared in advance! They brought their backgammon board to the airport!! And pillows!!!
There is a serious upside to being one of the ‘other people’. My travel experience will always be more positive than the ‘I can’t believe’ people. Their lows, will be lower than mine and my highs, will be higher than theirs. Expecting the unexpected, allows me to be chill, as the ‘yougins’ would say. I may not be happy about delays, but being an ‘other people’ let’s me recover from a negative impact quicker. That way I don’t miss seeing the ‘I can’t believe’ guy break his toe kicking his luggage in a rage over the delay. You’re wearing sandals, dummy!! Having realistic expectations, doesn’t let me get that low.
Being an ‘other people’, takes some of the sting out of travel. Sure, I might groan audibly when I see the total on the pump, every time I fill up Ruby, but I expect it. I expect some delay or expense for some yet unimagined problem. I have no clue what that might be, but when it happens, I won’t be standing there with my mouth agape in total disbelief.
Being an ‘other people’ allows me to feel actual happiness when I travel without a hitch. When the plan comes together, and the unexpected doesn’t happen. Or when the unexpected happens and it is good unexpected, like being upgraded to business class free of charge because of overbooking, or the price at the pump does actually go down. I feel like I won the lottery! I feel like my ship had finally come in!! I feel like doing a ‘happy dance’!!!
The ‘I can’t believe’ people will never feel this emotional high, only the toe-breaking lows when they travel. That’s because the best they will ever get out of their travel experience, is the feeling that their expectations were met. Where is there joy in that?