There has been a lot of talk lately about the power of appreciation, and its benefits go far beyond what it does for other people, but for what it does for yourself and your own personal happiness as well. In general, being appreciative keeps you in a positive, happy, mind space. It is something that many people consciously try to incorporate into their daily lives, but what about when we are traveling?
I kind of like to break up the topic of appreciation into two components: One, is appreciating other people for their service, kindness, empathy, etc. The other is carrying a general feeling of appreciation about life's blessings.
Sometimes when we are traveling and we are in the moment of excitement and newness, we can be prone to forget various common courtesies. One of the best examples I can think of is when someone is visiting a foreign country, and they go up to a local to ask for directions and they automatically ask in English rather than asking first if the person speaks their language.
Also, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been on a plane, watching flight attendants working their butts off delivering things to people who don’t say, “thank you." Or, you’re at a restaurant and the waiter pours you more wine or water—I can tell you as someone who has been on the other side of that equation in the past, just a simple "thank you" really matters.
The moments where a “thank you" goes a long way, especially when traveling, are almost endless.
1. Someone from the bell desk delivers your luggage to your room. Thank you.
2. Your taxi, bus, etc. driver has brought you to your destination safely. Thank you.
3. You went to that little restaurant your friend told you about, and it was fantastic. Thank you.
4. A Hotel concierge maps out the perfect plan for your day for you. Thank you.
5. And let's not forget my all-time personal favorite, someone holds the elevator or the door open for you. Thank you!
Essentially, when unsure if something “deserves” a “thank you,” just do it. Extra points if you can take a moment and really feel the appreciation inside you. Chances are, they will feel it too.
Now in terms of appreciating life’s blessing while on vacation, if you are fortunate enough to get to travel in the first place, it is so important to take a moment and appreciate that fact alone. There are people all over the planet who have never been able to leave their country, sometimes even their town, and possibly never will. The ability to travel and see other parts of the world is a hugely tremendous blessing that some avid travelers underestimate.
When things are going great, it is easy to be appreciative. The day is beautiful. You got upgraded. Everything was on time. Your dinner was delicious and special...
What is interesting is that appreciation can actually be a wonderful tool for when things are not going right in your travels. When someone's flight is delayed or canceled, few people think in terms of appreciation at this moment, but there is always something, and if you can get yourself into this mind space, it can make you feel so much better.
1. Thankfully, they found this mechanical issue before we took off.
2. Thankfully, if there had to be a flight delay, I brought my favorite book and I am prepared.
3. Thankfully, if I had to have a flight delay, at least I am with my friend who always makes me laugh.
4. Thankfully, even though my flight was canceled, they were able to put me on another one.
5. Thankfully, I can use my cell phone to make my necessary arrangements due to this travel change.
It is impossible to travel with the promise that little issues may not come up. It is simply part of life. While you don't want to create negative self fulfilling prophecies, living your life with the knowledge that challenges may always come up can actually help you appreciate your positive circumstances in light of these things, especially when traveling.
And remember, the only thing that is truly the end of the world is, well, the end of the world.