The Art of Flexibility

I have been very fortunate to see a number of different places with my family through the years. Ultimately, I think my parents have instilled within me the inclination to spend my money on experience rather than tangible items, and this ideology has provoked many periods of exploration in my life. Traveling with your family always proves to be different (and trying) at times, because it asks you to be flexible and patient with contrasting desires. 

My family and I could not be more different from one another. Where I like to try trendy restaurants and coffee shops, my mom is more content with a casual dining setting (when I say casual I mean room service.) It has taken me a long time to realize that there are multiple styles of traveling, one way is not right or wrong. It’s easy to think that my approach to travel is the right way (which let’s be honest it is) but for the sake of this post I will say that a flexible traveler is one who can let go of the reins and enjoy a different method of exploration. Why is it important to be flexible? Well I would say this is a trait not singular to traveling but important in our lives at home, too. Broadening our approach to travel, our jobs, our relationships with others, can open different avenues. It may lead us to discover something new about ourselves. 

For instance, making time to see different museums while traveling was never a priority for me. Though while I lived in Florence it seemed that was all we did. At first it was an activity that appeared boring to me, an item to check off the itinerary. Though eventually it became something I looked forward to. Now museums are a priority here in California or wherever new I’m going.  

The art of flexibility is something it seems we all struggle with. Whether you are traveling with your family or a group of people whom may be completely different from you, there will often be a contrast in ideas and intentions. My advice is to carve out some alone time in your itinerary. What’s important to you may not be important to someone else, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a priority. This may mean rising early, or taking some time away from the group to accomplish these goals. On the other hand, make it your intention to try something new. Allowing someone else to shift your day in a different direction is not always a bad thing. The key to any good trip is a balance of careful planning and spontaneity. Whether it be a local, a friend, or a relative, let it be your goal to learn from others on each of your trips. After all, isn’t that what traveling is about? It’s a pathway to a new perspective.

Author: Anna Vatuone