Tickets. Passport. Money. Mobile & charger. Go.
For millions of travellers, the ability to pick up and venture off, whether around the corner or across the world, has become a daily reality, not to mention necessity. Mobility is a must to make each day count. And to make each day an exciting learning. The possibility discovering new places, meeting new people, unlocking new possibilities, magnifies the blessing of today and the anticipation of tomorrow.
In the process of travel planning and doing, there are many things that regular travellers take for granted. Flights will be available, taking off and landing on time, with one’s belongings neatly tucked in the belly of the aircraft. Weather, air traffic control, pricing levels, all will coordinate to make it all happen. Onward. Even when things go wrong, frustration is met with a degree of acceptance and understanding. It happens. Plan B is out there. One’s sense of control is still high, even if movement is low.
But then the completely unplanned and unwanted happens. Movement is brought to a stop. Not because of some moving part out there that has slowed or even paused. But by our own engineering failing us.
Suddenly the most critical enabler of our ability to move – our body – is unable to. Dreaded words enter into conversations with oneself and, under duress, with others: “I’m sick”
It is only when one is grounded by one’s own health that one truly appreciates the ability, the ease, the privilege, of perpetual movement. And the ability to find help, especially when far from home base. Symptoms emerging with an underlying not knowing of not just what the problem is, but where and how to fix it, suddenly turns a carefully scheduled day into a significant cause for concern. Not to mention a scheduling mess. Next meetings, next flights, next commitments, raise red flags around the ability to move from sickness back to health. Even if able to keep moving, fear sets in around not just passing something on, but passing by airport temperature screenings and flashing red.
A safe place needs to be found.
For any traveller, regardless of frequency of travel, establishing that safe space is critical to on-going wellbeing. That ‘safe place’ need not be a specific geographic location. Being a nomad more often than not makes being back at base when unwell an exception, not a rule. That ‘safe place‘ is instead a little place that travels with the intrepid traveller – a small space in one’s carry-on bag where essential TLC is kept: medication & first aid treatments to keep one’s body strong, small personal totems to keep one’s spirit centered. Whatever is needed to immediately calm rising panic of unwellness, helping set in motion the steps towards getting real help to get through the fog.
Because the quiet reality is that, when out in the world, a huge part of not feeling out in the cold is feeling like one is not alone with one’s worry. Tucked within one’s safe place should be the things that allow one to feel they can take a breathe, focus, and safely figure out what next.
Moving to the what next, especially when still moving from city to city, hotel to hotel, ultimately poses (and imposes) a distinct test to oneself. Is a sniffle something more serious? Will OTC drugs be the SOS needed? Or is it time to make the call and make an appointment? Being strong is one thing. Being silly is another. No matter what others may say, what advise they may give, listening to the voice in the back of one’s head reveals whether one really feels safe pushing through the unwellness, of pausing to get qualified help. Now.
The value of our greatest travel enabler – our body – sometimes needs a reminder. The incredible blessing of the strength of body and spirit we need to do what we love should never be taken for granted. Sometimes a brief push of the pause button can be a good thing. Only when we pause do we really appreciate the gift of the ability to shift to fast-forward once more.
Safe, healthy travels.
Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2017