Changing My (Travel) Story
This post is for everyone who’s heard me complain about traveling. My disdain for travel is a story I’ve told for years, and true as it feels, I’m ready to give it up.
Not so I can travel more, but so that when I do it’s more enjoyable.
In preparation for a new story, I thought it would be helpful if I gave myself some good material for a new story. Because turning this vibe around feels like a bit of a job, to be honest.
So I paved the way for my upcoming new story by setting a strong intention for the Martha Beck Coach Conference I was traveling to speak at: enjoy this trip.
That might not seem like a lot to ask, but for me that’s practically entering miracle status.
“Enjoy the trip.” Simple enough. Even if it is ambitious.
“I can do ambitious,” I remind myself.
The morning of departure my ex gives me a lift to the airport, and I talk him into letting the dogs ride along. Chalk up four nice things already (helpful ex and three happy dogs).
You know the baggage check guys out on the terminal drop-off curb? A handsome one asks if he can check my bag. I start to shrug him off, but then I stop and ask, “Is this the same thing I would be doing inside?”
“Yes,” he says, as if he just singlehandedly transformed the stupidest person into the world’s smartest. “Alrighty then! Check my bag!” He does so while I converse with the pleasant baggage handler. Nice guys. So far so good on trip enjoyment.
Inside the terminal I see the incredibly long line I get to completely skip because I let handsome skycap take my bag. Now I’m feeling like a smart traveler.
(How did I not know about this before?? Ah, part of my “hate to travel” story, no doubt.)
I make it through security without having to disrobe. Make a mental note of successful outfit for next trip! Laptop makes it through without having to remove it from bag – yay!
Looking for a seat near my gate, I spy one next to a husband and wife who have belongings spread out. I take the empty seat next to hubby’s suitcase. Hubby sees me craning neck to read tv; he invites me to sit next to him for better view and makes room for me.
Normally I would say I was fine and stay put (so as not to trouble anyone), but this time I don’t miss a beat: “Thank you, I believe I will.” Now I get to sit by friendly couple as we watch tv together.
I can’t explain why that small gesture on both our parts feels so connecting, but it does. (Connection is a core value of mine, so you know I’m already having a good time!)
Reading a great book on the plane: The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks which offers lovely tips for my group participants to raise their financial setpoints. Can’t wait to share it!
As I’m enjoying insights from the book, I look out my window.
(Getting goose bumps even THINKING about this part!)
Guess what I see?!
CLOUDS! Fluffy, puffy, happy white CLOUDS! Right there outside the window! Close up, like I could reach out and touch them!
Immediate thought: “I. Am Flying! In CLOUDS!”
Come on, how cool is that?! I mean, who couldn’t enjoy this?! I wonder why pilot isn’t announcing them – they are certainly something to be appreciated!
I can’t stop smiling while flying through playful clouds for the next 30 minutes. Yet still I finish fab book before we disembark.
First thing I notice at baggage claim is a big sign reading “If someone asks if you need a ride, they shouldn’t be.” I think about what must be happening that they put signs up like this. I remember last time in Chicago, Oprah had a limo waiting for me. Nice memory.
Those combined thoughts lead to a manifestation where one of the someones who shouldn’t be asking if I need a ride asks if I need a ride. I say yes. He hands me his card: “123 Limousine.” I discover his car is not a limo by any stretch of the imagination.
Regardless, I enjoy an entertaining conversation with Frank and Steve on the way to the hotel. One’s out of prison, the other’s out of work. This is their enterprising way of making some money. They’re friendly and accommodating and quite colorful; once safely at the hotel I regret every nervous thought I had while mentally replaying scenes from “Taken.”
Next scrumptious activity needs no explanation: Haagen Dazs for dinner. Nice tip for the friendly man who brought it!
The conference is amazing – or rather, the PEOPLE at the conference are amazing. (More goose bumps!) Even though for many this is the first time we meet face to face, it feels like a reunion of old friends! How delicious!
Having fun with coaches (especially Martha Beck coaches) is easy. It’s the traveling part I’ve struggled with, so let’s fast forward to day of departure:
Handsome concierge responds to my request for taxi by saying he has a limo ready for me. (You don’t just have a plain old taxi?) He takes my bag to – sure enough – a limo.
Limo, huh? (Translation: “what’s this gonna cost?”) I calm the money gremlins and remind them I deserve a limo. Why not?! Enjoy the ride, girlfriend!
I smile at how Chicago and limos seem irrepressibly connected for me.
The handsome limo driver is from Ethiopia. He asks how I liked Chicago, I told him I didn’t see as much as I’d have liked. He points out the buildings and offers some history as we drive. He rolls the tinted window down so I can see better. I love that I’m getting a tour on my way out of town.
He tells me about his brother who moved to Atlanta, and how he prefers Chicago to Atlanta. We share opinions on the homeless, the unemployed and the Olympics.
At the airport, I brace myself for a big charge for the ride. But then Ms. Manifestor turns it around in time with, “This is very reasonable. I would SO do that again!” Indeed, he gives me a fare ticket that’s only $5 more than my other “limo” ride. I give him a 70% tip which makes both our days.
And I’m not even to the best part yet.
On the Southwest flight home (those guys are still funny!), I see my friendly clouds again and realize that an opportunity to play in the clouds is reason enough to get on a plane!
Another great book on the way home: which inspires me to be nicer to and more grateful for my boyfriend.
As we land and taxi to the gate, our flight attendant announces a request that we all stay seated in order that Mr. and Mrs. Butler can deplane first. He tells us they’ve traveled here for their grandson’s funeral, who was killed while serving in Iraq. When the plane comes to a full stop, everyone remains respectfully in their seat.
I’ve never seen anything like it.
Not one single person moved. No scramble to retrieve bags; no rush to stand in the aisle. I didn’t even hear a seatbelt unbuckle.
Everyone quietly in their seats, thinking about the couple here for their soldier grandson’s funeral.
Eventually at the front of the plane a tall elderly gentleman stands up. As he steps into the aisle, he glances at the rest of us passengers, who are still motionless in our seats. Not just motionless and quiet, I suspect. But reverent.
He gives a slight nod and everyone starts clapping. Except me. I clapped and cried.
The girl in front of me turns to her seatmate, another handsome young man dressed in a white uniform and cap. (That’s Navy, right?) She offers her hand to shake his and says, “Thank you for your service.” They chat for the first time on the flight.
I am still moved to tears and glad no one else is moving yet, so I can collect myself before it’s time to go. A woman ahead catches my eye and smiles while I wipe my nose with my sleeve. She understands.
And that’s my travel story. As you might imagine, I can hardly wait for my next excuse to get on a plane! I never had such a good time and that was just from an INTENTION! Wait till I officially get some good time in with a whole new STORY! woo hoo!!
I share this to inspire you to remember the power of a simple little intention, and also to publicly retract my old travel story while my new one takes shape.