It’s hard to let go of control. If you’re anything like me, it’s hard to accept that we can’t always plan everything, and that we have to “see how it goes”. That scares me. It always has. But I know letting go of expectations and letting go of my need to plan everything right down to the hour will help me grow. It will help me appreciate the beautiful country I’m about to be exposed to.
Vacation can be hard for a number of reasons. Maybe you aren’t sure what the food will be like, and that seems scary. Maybe you don’t speak the local language, so you’re doing a lot of impromptu Pictionary to communicate with the locals. Regardless, leaving your home (and your comfort zone) is full of surprises. Remember to take a breath, enjoy the uncertainty, and embrace all this new place has to offer.
Here are my tips for dealing with uncertainty on vacation:
1) Learn a few phrases in the local language, like “please”, “thank you”, and “where’s the washroom?”. This can help you feel a little more comfortable in a different environment.
2) Bring something with you that reminds you of home. Maybe it’s your boyfriend’s favourite sweater, or that pair of socks your grandfather got you last year. Sometimes, it’s the little things that we can keep close to us to remind us of our loved ones that help the most.
3) Explore a local market or grocery store for foods that seem familiar, that you know you’re comfortable with. Maybe it’s apples, bananas, or crackers that look like the ones you know at home. In the market, you can see everything, so you’ll know what it is despite language barriers. Having a few snacks on hand that you know you’ll like can be super helpful and reduce stress while you’re away.
4) Keep a journal. Not only will you want to remember this experience, but I’ve always found that taking a few minutes out of each day to write down my thoughts and experiences is really cathartic. It can help me let go of stress, frustration, or loneliness. It can also help me appreciate all the cool things I did that day!
5) Continue your self-care routine while you’re gone. Maybe you have to modify it, but it’s still really important to prioritize self-care while you’re away. Maybe you’re staying in a hostel, so you can’t take that bubble bath at the end of a long day, so you swap it out for a long, hot shower. Maybe you still go for your evening walk, that morning run, or a morning coffee in a new café. Maybe you download your favourite podcast before you leave, and listen to it in a park. Whatever your self-care looks like, it’s important to continue your self-care routine as much as you can while you’re away. This will help you feel energized enough to keep exploring this new place!
Wherever your travels may take you this summer, have fun! You’re going to make so many memories and that’s awesome. Remember you don’t have to be happy or enjoying yourself every single second, but if your plan isn’t something that’s going to make you happy, it’s not worth it. You can change your plans, you can modify your itinerary, and most of all, you can advocate for yourself. Also sunscreen. And hydrate or die-drate. Don’t forget it. Your body will thank me.