Even a vacation can become a personal teaching tool. Here are 12 lessons learned from my vacation travel — I hope that you will find them useful.
When you are involved in a home-based business and you do some traveling, you can take your business along. I have done so more than once, and find the experience satisfying.
On my most recent trip, I went with two friends from Alaska to Maine. I journeyed for 2 1/2 weeks, and worked on my website as I traveled. Upon my return, I came up with a list of 12 lessons learned that might be helpful to another person taking their business on the road. Here they are:
1. You can return to a place, but not to the past
On this trip, my friends and I spent our first two nights in Connecticut at the Old Lyme Inn, the place where I’d spent the first nine years of my life. It was my grandmother’s home, which she shared with my mother, my father, and me. The family owned a large piece of land, 360 acres.
My mother had a riding academy there, where she taught students and took them out on the many bridle paths on the property. When a new highway usurped some of the land, the family decided to sell the place.
I had not been inside the house for 72 years. For the two nights we were there, I stayed in the room that was closest to the one that had been mine. It had been made smaller, as part of it was incorporated into another room.
The experience really brought home the realization that we are not allowed to go back to revisit the past. All we really have are our memories. We can cherish them, but we mustn’t dwell on them. Look forward, not backward.
2. Learn from past mistakes
If you make mistakes during your journey, find a better solution and then release your negative thoughts about the subject.
On this trip to Maine, I traveled with friends who had arranged the whole trip. Instead of old-fashioned maps, they brought not one, but two GPS devices.
The two couldn’t seem to agree. Once they both started talking at once, each giving different directions. We ended up asking locals along the way if we got lost. Amazing, how helpful people were.
Finally, on the last two days of our trip, my friend who drove discovered a GPS with a large screen right on the dash of the Suburban he’d rented, and we found the directions it gave to be clear and understandable.
With this new device, our problems disappeared, and we had no more backtracking and refiguring our route.
3. Keep a positive attitude
Even if you experience some negative situations as you travel, keep your attitude positive, as it will help you move through the bad things and back into the light.
We got lost and laughed at our experience. We dealt with little setbacks and considered them part of the adventure.
In our little 150-year-old rental house in Camden, Maine, the stairway to the
bedrooms was steep and narrow. The only bathroom was up there. We learned to give warning when we went up or down so we could transport anything up or down for any one of us, thus reducing the number of times we had to deal with those stairs.
By keeping a positive attitude, we enjoyed all that happened, and the whole trip became pleasurable.
4. Greet all you meet with a smile and a friendly word
If you treat everyone you meet as a potential new friend, or as a person who might have an interesting story, you will draw them into your circle and may find you have made a valuable alliance that can help you later in some way.
We made many new friends on this trip by greeting folks with a smile and then some friendly words. This practice certainly helped when my friend, Tom, left his credit card at the place where we had supper.
He didn’t realize it was gone until we stopped for the night after the next day’s journey. Then he knew where he’d left it, so he called. As he’d become quite friendly with our server, the man knew right away who he was.
They had discussed insulation for a building the man was constructing, and he jokingly thanked Tom for leaving his credit card so he could get his insulation. Then he said he’d mail it the following morning. Knowing the server by name and having established a rapport made the whole exchange much easier.
5. Relish the difference
When you meet new people and face new situations you are pushing your boundaries and enlarging the landscape of your life. From the differences you can create new dimensions to your own experience and weave those new ideas into your present life.
As we traveled around the East coast area, we saw a lifestyle that had similarities and at the same time differences from our own. We saw big colonial homes that, beautiful as they were, would have looked quite out of place in Alaska. We saw big cities and couldn’t miss a few slums as we drove through them.
The fall colors had just started, and the trees rewarded us with lovely views. Rolling hills, all well-manicured and divided off by trees, big barns and farmhouses and charming small towns delighted us.
Different accents and varied ways of dressing caught our eye…and, after Alaska, all the people everywhere never ceased to amaze me. No large tracts of wilderness here — this land is well-used. The contrast gave us much to talk about.
6. Become an astute observer
People who are different from you may also have different ideas of how to do things. Observe their methods. Perhaps you can find a better way to do something from your observations.
Life is so different on the East coast. Because we are sparsely populated in Alaska, we often have to travel quite some distance to see many people. On the East coast, people are more apt to travel to get away from people.
We spent one day in Boston. Pedestrians thronged the streets. Public transportation featured buses, taxis, and trolleys. Many trolleys are used for showing tourists the sights. A well-used commuter train system takes many people to their work place.
I read that Boston is called the “walking city” because so many people walk to their destinations whenever possible. I’m guessing if you lived in the city proper, you wouldn’t need a car unless you wanted to get out of town. That way is certainly more affordable and much easier than trying to find parking places.
East coast culture is very different from our Alaskan way of life.
7. Take notes
Write down the new ideas you receive, as you may be able to use them later in a website post.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. As you travel, if something gives you an idea for a story you can compose later, be sure to write your ideas down. Perhaps you’d like to do a story on New England architecture, or the
difference between fishing for lobster in Maine and fishing for king crab in Alaska.
You never know where the next inspiration will come from.
8. Don’t be afraid to try something new
Traveling is an excellent way to find the opportunity to do something outside your realm of experience. Seize the chance, as you could be adding a valuable new dimension to your life that will help you move forward.
Perhaps you discover a new food that you try, and find you like. Perhaps it’s an activity that is new to you. Whatever it is, relish the opportunity to become involved.
We went out on a lobster boat — not a commercial one, but one designed to teach visitors a bit about lobster fishing. Though not a challenging new activity, it was interesting and informative. Since we were eating our fill of lobster, we thought it nice to learn how they got to our table.
9. Ask questions
Learn from new people about their life and their dreams. Learn if they are satisfied with their path, or looking for something new. Perhaps you have something to offer them that is just what they are looking for.
Asking questions can supply information on a topic that puzzles you. You can also learn more about this new person you have met. Perhaps you will find that they are seeking something that you might be able to offer them. Don’t be afraid to talk about your business and hand out your card.
10. Remain flexible
When you move outside your realm of experience, you may find you have to let go of your ideas about a situation. You may need to alter your course or your beliefs to align with your present circumstances. Allow yourself the freedom to change.
Folks in a new place may have a way of doing things that is foreign to you. Observe and copy, if it fits your situation.
Perhaps you miss a turn on the road. Find an alternate route.
Maybe you can’t get in to an event you wanted to attend. Don’t let negative thoughts grab you. Look for an alternative that you would enjoy.
Be open to the new, different, and unusual. After all, you are traveling, and part of the allure of travel is the varied experience you will have. Enjoy them all.
11. Bloom where you’re planted
Do the best you can from where you are. If this picture changes often, try to make each scene vivid, clear, and meaningful. As you move into a new place, enjoy it for what it is and don’t let it distract you for too long from your ultimate goals.
We were planted in Camden, Maine, for a week. With an established base, we could make short trips around the area to see as much as possible. However, I didn’t forget to work.
Even though we were across the country from home, I did some work-related task on my computer every day, to keep progressing toward my goal. I did not forget to remain active in my business.
That is the nice thing about having a home-based business. Where you are is home. What you nurture can bear fruit, even from a remote location, and you can cultivate success from your present space.
12. Enjoy the process
No matter where your experience leads you or what you discover that you have to change along the way, remember to enjoy your present moment. This moment will not come again, and you miss an opportunity if you pass through it from a negative place. Find pleasure in your experience.
Coming home is often a happy relief after a long journey. If you were positive and happy as you traveled, you will find that coming home simply enhances the whole experience you have had.
Return to your customary lifestyle with a renewed energy and a readiness to incorporate your new-found knowledge of the world into your old belief system.
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