Recently I have found myself in a travel malaise.
I did not plan any travel at all during the first week of January, when my daughter was off school for winter break. We were in the peak of the Omicron variant surge. Instead, we hung out at the house and, frankly, had a great time.
I canceled my participation in a cross-country ski weekend I had planned with a local outdoors group. Granted, we were supposed to get a snowstorm making traffic terrible – but others who were signed up continued as plan while I stayed home.
This past weekend, over President’s Day, I researched flights to Florida for warm weather or to Colorado for a ski weekend. The flights were either super expensive or leaving at terrible times. I opted not to go.
I run a travel company. I traveled to Mexico to run a sea kayaking tour in December. I am scheduled to guide five trips later this year. Yet I have been reluctant to travel and content with that decision. What is going on?
The New York Times had a recent opinion piece by executive coach Brad Stulberg I found enlightening. He wrote that during these times we might be able to successively practice “behavioral activation”. Instead of letting our down feelings keep us from doing things we used to love, do those things anyway, “take your feelings along for the ride”, and see how you feel. The idea is that you might need a little kick in the pants to get going but that, once you do, you will again enjoy that activity you used to love.
For me this was travel. Not having read this opinion piece in time, I ended up practicing it anyway. I booked a dude ranch vacation weekend with my daughter over the President’s Day weekend instead of staying home. But once we went, I had a good time. And my daughter (parents will know this doesn’t always happen) told me at the end of one busy day. “Dad, thank you. Thank you for … well, just thank you for the whole day.”
That trip was only a car drive from home and only two nights away. Small potatoes for a travel expert like me. But it was a small step. I brought my down feelings along for the ride, gave them a boost, and feel ready to plan the next trip.