A Travel Mindset: Overcome Adversity

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Sometimes traveling, like life, can present unexpected challenges. Keeping a travel mindset is a way to tackle those difficult times when things are not going as planned.  Find out how a traveler’s mindset can help you when life’s stressful moments take you by surprise on the road. Here is a list of practices to help cultivate your approach to travel.  

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Nourish a Mindset for Learning When Traveling 

Recognize travel as an amazing opportunity to learn about the world around you. 

Teach yourself as much as you can about your destination before you arrive. You will appreciate so much more of what you see and do when you put them in context. 

Use traveling as your excuse to learn a new language, study art, or discover new music.  

When you arrive, absorb the history and culture that surrounds you. 

Become a lifelong learner using the globe as your classroom. Travel is an educational opportunity for first-hand experiences that can’t be replicated.

Travel With Open-Mindedness 

A true travel mindset is one that is willing to recognize and appreciate everyone’s differences. Approach new cultures, people, and experiences with an attitude of curiosity. 

Put yourself out there to get the most in return. Don’t be afraid to try something new even if it takes you outside of your comfort zone. 

You may discover that not everything that seems so different from you, is actually very different. Travel creates a new perspective for those who journey out and return to their base. 

Rick Steves quote about travel mindset

Keep a Flexible Travel Mindset 

Things are not going to go the way you planned. They just won’t. Prepare a plan B, or even a plan C, if you like. Even so, always be ready to change on the fly, and go with the flow. Being rigid and holding on to the way your mind thinks it is “supposed to be” will only make you feel frustrated. Let it go.

Sometimes the unplanned things that happen when you travel turn out to be the best and most memorable of times. There is even a word for it: serendipity. When something unexpected happens and it turns out to be better than the original plan. We can refer to these as “happy accidents”.  

Celebrate the Travel Challenges Mindset 

There will be challenges. Don’t just anticipate them, embrace them! 

Traveling has provided you with the chance to problem solve. Turn it around so that travel anxiety becomes excitement, followed by a sense of accomplishment when you figured something out. 

One example would be navigating the public transportation system in a city where you don’t speak the language. I loved how easy it was to use the Paris Metro. The real joy was not in getting across the city so easily, but in understanding a system I had never used before while not speaking French. 

Sometimes uncertainty can hold you back from jumping in and trying something new. Instead of feeling discouraged by a situation think of it as an opportunity for growth. 

A Travel Mindset of Equality and Respect

Having respect for other cultures and people that you meet is a key trait of a traveler’s mindset. Different doesn’t mean better or worse, it just means different. 

Sometimes respect may be learning a few polite words in a language native to your destination. Please and thank you can take you a long way in many cultures. 

Adhering to cultural etiquette is a way to be considerate and people you meet will appreciate it. Another example might be the way you dress. 

When traveling in Italy with extended family we were visiting the churches in the lovely medieval town of Lucca. As we were about to enter my cousin grabbed a scarf to cover up her scanty top. I know she did it for my benefit because she glanced at me and sighed, “I’m not religious you know”. It makes me chuckle to remember that moment but honestly, she didn’t get it. It wasn’t for my sake she needed to cover but to be courteous to the local churchgoers. They wouldn’t dream of entering a church dressed like that so neither should you. 

Leave it Better Than Before Travel Mindset

Your presence makes an impact on the communities you visit. 

As the world population grows so does its impact on the environment. 

Heading to my local beach, I see the signs reminding us to take our trash back when we leave.  

In addition to the environment, your impact on people matters. During your journey, you are an ambassador from wherever you come from. Create positive interactions and leave good vibes behind wherever you go. 

In everyday life and when traveling I strive to be like Miss Rumphius. Author Barbara Cooney’s charming tale of Alice. A traveler who planted lupine seeds wherever she visited therefore leaving each place a little better than before she got there. I always think of this inspiring picture book whenever I see purple lupine growing and convince myself that she was the one that planted it. 

The story is based on a real person who lived in Maine. you can read about her through the New England Historical Society

Travel With a Live in the Moment Mindset

Enjoy every moment. 

Although this sounds so cliche, it is the truest part of a travel mindset that I can think of. 

Relish every new experience.

Often when I travel I think to myself “I can live here”. On reflection, what I’m really thinking is how I’m just so happy at that moment. 

Traveling lets you collect many of these moments.

Cherish each exciting and quiet adventure as it happens.

Rick Steves is a well-known traveler and guidebook author. He gives a TED talk about how a travel mindset can change you. Rick Steves is most famous for his European Travel Guides, but he also offers a wide selection of information on other travel destinations as well.

To sum up, possessing a travel mindset empowers you to:

  • Incorporate learning
  • Embrace diversity
  • Be openminded
  • Adopt flexibility
  • Be respectful
  • Welcome challenges
  • Champion empathy and kindness

All of the above traits allow you to face any challenge. Whether the challenge lies at home or abroad, you are ready for it!

To hone your traveler’s mindset when journeying be sure to experience local culture whenever possible. You may want to consider immersing in the arts as a way to connect to the local culture as well.

And if you are nervous about traveling be sure to read these helpful tips for anxiety-free travel.


Landrigan, Leslie. “How the Real Miss Rumphius Decorated Maine With Lupines.” New England Historical Society, 31 May 2017, https://newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/how-real-miss-rumphius-decorated-maine-lupines/.

Steves, Rick. How a Traveler’s Mindset Can Grow Your Understanding. 1608247703. www.ted.com, https://www.ted.com/talks/rick_steves_how_a_traveler_s_mindset_can_grow_your_understanding.

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