Monday, May 23, 2016

Flexibility: just as important in travel as it is in yoga

I got this raven photo only because I was flexible in my plans.
About a month ago, I attended a day-long symposium held by the B.C. Association of Travel Writers.

I go to a great many symposiums and workshops that contain elements of professional development included in their schedules.

These workshops can vary quite a bit in terms of content, from topics like pitching editors, photography, business planning... I've even been to one that included a session on fitness for writers, both on the road and while at home.

And in reference to this post's title, yes, yoga can be a great boon for travel writers - or for that matter, travellers of any ilk.

But the physical malleability required for something like yoga is only one aspect of flexibility.

Emotional-mental flexibility is a quality often overlooked, but vital to develop if you spend any time travelling, especially out of the country, or for that matter, any great distance even within your country, particularly countries as large as Canada or the U.S.

It's overlooked, which is probably why I've never seen a workshop session about the importance of keeping an open mind and not being fazed by unexpected circumstances or detours while travelling.

I was recently reminded of the importance of being flexible with respect to a day-trip I had planned.

My "partner-in-crime," the indefatigable Divine Ms. K. and I planned to go to the Sea-to-Sky Gondola at Squamish, B.C. We'd bought tickets back in December, but hadn't had an opportunity to use them. They expired in April, and we planned to go on/around the 16th of that month. However, the morning of the 13th, she realized she had to make plans to fly out of town for business the very next day.

Rather than wring our hands and bemoan the fact we'd lose the tickets, we just spent an hour or two re-arranging our day and by noon we were off on our local outdoor adventure.

To stay flexible on the fly, try this tome.
We had a great time, too.

Now while it may seem not that big a deal, when you run several businesses as a self-employed couple, it's not always easy to change plans on a moment's notice. But we did it, partially because we've developed the ability to go with the flow and be flexible.

That same attitude can help on more distant, more lengthy journeys, as well. I've had to do it twice in South America, a couple of times in Africa, and on many trips in Canada.

While it may seem like a waste of time to try to teach "travel flexibility" in a workshop setting, as so many take something like that for granted, there are books and other resources that address general flexibility that teach techniques which can be applied to travel.

You can find them by doing an online search. A quick glance on Google showed me "Learn to Roll with the Punches and Dodge Life's Wrenches." There are plenty of books out there devoted to the subject, including one by the Dummies series.

So, there's really no excuse. Being flexible mentally will not only help you be a better traveller, you'll probably handle life a whole lot better, too.

Just keep in mind the words of from "Cowboy in the Jungle," a Jimmy Buffet tune.

"We've gotta roll with the punches,
Learn to play all of our hunches,
Make the best of whatever comes our way..."

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