It brings to mind our luggage-free vacation a couple of years ago. Apparently our suitcase had done some good traveling throughout Italy while we spent our 10 days hiking the Dolomites and traveling around without it. Our stand-out funky suitcase never reached us; it went lost.
How did we have a good vacation without luggage?
Self-talk message #1 – Make the decision to have a good vacation anyway. Lost luggage was not going to ruin that long awaited dream trip. It creates some inconveniences like spending time shopping for those few essential items and some articles of clothing, but it cannot take away the joy of being away unless we allow it to.
We were in Venice. We focused on the little bridge by our hotel that beckoned to us, “come explore,” it seemed to say. And so with our hiking shoes which we wore on the plane and our airplane clothes which had dried overnight on our porch, we set out walking the romantic city of canals.
Self-talk message #2 – They are really only Things (that were in our suitcase). As the saying goes, “the most important things in life are not things.” Our health and attitude were our cherished commodities, and our cameras (which were in our carry-on) and that’s what we kept telling ourselves and being grateful for. The old, ‘it could’ve been worse’ line of thinking definitely came in handy. And of course a sense of humor about it all, mostly attributed to my husband, Alan.
Late nights were spent blow-drying our alternate pairs of socks and underwear so they’d be ready for our next day’s adventure. At $12 a pop, I figured washing more often wasn’t a bad option.
I quickly learned not to look at myself too closely in the mirror. Between the hot sun, ice pellets during snow storms high up in the Dolomite mountains, intermittent rains, and the saunas at the beautiful hotels, my face got its share of natural ingredients to keep it fresh. Who cared about make-up now. As long as I could hike through those mountain trails without my sticks, I was happy.
Self-talk message #3 – Compartmentalize the aggravation. We saved the phone calls to the airlines, insurance company, and other business dealings, to the late afternoon after our day’s outing. Again, the decision that this was not going to interfere with our day’s fun, was consciously played out. We all know the feeling of being put on hold indefinitely and never getting to speak to a live person, so at some point we decided to deal with all of this once we were back home.
Self-talk message #4 – When it’s out of our control, let it go. After a few days of being promised our luggage but to no avail, we let go of our hopes of still getting it while away. We stopped calling and inquiring since that only caused frustration. We were doing fine and accepted that we’d finish out our 10 days without our ‘stuff’.
Focus on what truly matters. For us it was being able to do what we loved – traveling and hiking in a gorgeous country. Lost luggage didn’t take that away.
Appreciate your partner for being different from you. My husband is certainly the more easy-going one. His motto is: no big deal. This time it really paid off.
As per Richard Carlson, “don’t sweat the small stuff”. We tried to follow those words and can honestly say we had a great time.
And we felt proud of ourselves for being able to enjoy ourselves and have a good vacation (and a most memorable one), despite the inconvenience.
Postscript – five days after arriving home, our suitcase was delivered to our house, safe and sound. It too had a memorable trip; as the tags displayed – Milan, Rome and Venice. Wrong order for our itinerary.
How do you handle aggravations so they don’t take over and ruin the bigger picture?
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