The First Secret to Your Best Trip Ever
And the number one thing that will make your trip successful is not skip-the-line insider know-how. It is not the best guidebook to be had informing you about the awesome restaurant on a certain street in Florence. It is not the best hotel that we have ever laid our heads in their beds. No, the #1 secret is to remember to put on your trip radar. Putting on your trip radar means tuning in, settling yourself in the place and letting it sink into your core. Every place you go say to yourself ‘I made it! I am here right now!’ It is all about being in the zone, being in the Zen of the moment.
For example, you have just paid the five-euro entrance fee to the museum at the top of St. Marco’s Cathedral in Venice.
You have seen the original bronze horses that are said to have come from the hippodrome in Constantinople. Great. Now you step out onto the roof and right in front of you is the whole breathtaking square of St. Marco—the clock tower on your right and the sparkling lagoon on your left. You stand there above a thousand people, but you do not see them or feel them. You stand and say,‘O.K. I have seen it. I am here RIGHT NOW. The whole trip is worth it’. You have filled your heart and mind in that one instance.
Having your trip radar on means that you refuse to put yourself in the mode of, “I have to see the______Museum. I have to get to that restaurant that the guidebook recommended.
When my husband and I are under the herculean task of doing research and development for a new tour we have so little time and so much to see that one can get overwhelmed. We are not traveling for our own sport but for the 8 or 12 or 14 people we will have with us down the road. We are always thinking about them and how the trip is going to please them. This added stress gets carried with us. Of course, we have done our homework before setting foot in the place. However once there we use the same tactic to get exactly where we need to be and see the best we need to see.
We put on our trip radar and always see exactly what we were meant to see. In the times we have not done this, we literally were chasing a phantom through the streets. We brought down frustration and became upset at the crowds and all that we were not seeing.
Remember the traveling masses and the fact that they too will be there wanting to see what you want to see too. But the crowds will not bother you when you put on your trip radar. It is a kismet moment, a time warp, where synchronicity catches up to you and you feel the trip down to your very core.
Recently, we found ourselves in the Catalonia region of Spain on St. George’s day. Not just anywhere in Catalonia but Barcelona. Now we knew perfectly well that St.
George day was going to bring the crowds in, but we thought it might be a little like Greece where everyone gets together in their gardens and balconies and hangs with friends and family. But here the streets were jammed like I have never experienced. The fact that the crowds were so orderly, so well dressed, so in the moment was not lost on us.
However, the very fact that we were doing R&D and had to get things done started to crank us up. We took a few breaths, calmly put on our trip radar, and the crowds turned into swells of people that delivered us up to the hotels we were looking for.
We rode the waves of people to the perfect restaurant that met all of our criteria. We managed to find all that we were looking for that day.
Trip Radar Tip—
When we are looking for a restaurant we never try to find a recommendation online or from a guidebook. It is a little like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It is a time suck that can be spent in other ways. Plus, what was one person’s great meal would be another one’s disaster. Restaurant recommendations, especially for small groups like we host, cannot be had from any book.
Here is where our trip radar works perfectly every time. We look down a street. We look how it is shaped; we look for small signage out front that might indicate a restaurant. We peek into the windows. We can tell right away whether it means business for us. Not too snooty—local home cooking and maybe a Mama in the back cooking. Then we stick our heads in. How we are welcomed is key. If they have staff that are standing outside beckoning you from the pavement, we know it is a tourist spot.
Everyone should be busy taking care of current guests while trying to find you a table. In addition, there should never ever be pictures of their food out front. We know from our home country that means catered and microwave reheated food. Stay away.
Remember trip radar means that although you might be walking the gangplank over 4-foot swells, you just might experience Jacques Cousteau—like moments that will make your trip. It means that you were aware enough to see the umbrellas out a sea and upon investigation found a two-mile square sand bar that remains a great memory for you and your family. Trip radar means that no matter where you are, you will remember the creed by which you live by and practice it while traveling; spreading kindness and thoughtfulness and forever being in the moment.
Trip radar means that when you get back home and people ask, “Hey how was it?” you can truly say, “Simply majestic!”