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Author: Contributor: Jen Kluczkowski
Last updated: 13 March 2017

We look forward to them for months, and for many of us, it’s why we work so hard. I’m talking about vacations. Vacations are a time when we get to tap into what we love most about ourselves – we get to be curious, care-free and playful. Even though we can plan a trip to the last detail, there’s still a lot out of our control. What happens if our flight gets delayed, our baggage gets lost, or it rains for half of the trip?

Encountering the unexpected could send us into a downward spiral… or, here’s where mindfulness practice can come in handy.

Mindfulness means observing the present moment, just as it is, without judging it as good or bad, positive or negative.   

The idea is that if we can accept our present circumstances as they actually are (instead of trying to change them) we’ll be a lot happier. When we resist what is, we get into trouble.

On vacation, this really translates to going with the flow. You might be thinking, “I’m on vacation, of course I’m going to go with the flow!” But, expectations can get the best of us.  

If a two-hour layover turns into five hours, and now you’ll miss the bus to your final destination, you could get angry. You could decide right then and there that your trip has been ruined. Or, you could roll with it and see what other options exist in that moment, with the mindset that plan B is just as good as the original. That second part is key.

If we’re open to seeing what else is happening without being weighed down by negative emotions or previous expectations, we’re going to have a good time. The truth is, something good is always happening, even if it wasn’t on our itinerary. We just have to be open to seeing it.

So, if things are going sideways on a trip and you feel heat rising inside, hit the reset button by taking three deep breaths. Conscious breathing calms the nervous system and slows down a racing mind enough to set the emotional baggage aside. Once you’re calm and steady, see if you can bring a curious and playful attitude into your current experience, or into adjusting the original plan.  

Maybe the best night of your trip is an all-nighter playing cards with new friends in the airport. You never know.

For tips on mindfulness, meditation, and ways to de-stress, tune in to channel 70 in your cabin!