Stop Stressing and Go With the Flow

Munich was becoming a problem.

We had planned to go to Oktoberfest, one of the greatest annual events in the world, especially if you love good food and great beer…which I do.

We had already reserved an AirBnB in Munich well ahead of time. We just needed to figure out the best and most affordable way to get there and to Italy afterwards.

Plane tickets at this late stage were pretty steep. Train tickets, also pricey. Bus tickets….who wants to be on a bus for like 10 hours? Then to get out of Munich, it was the same hassle.

We were looking at spending well over $1000 for transportation, accomodation, food and beer. And we’d basically be ditching France, where we had wanted to spend more time exploring different regions, since we’d bought Eurail passes there and I mean come on, it’s France!

We are budget travellers and blowing what we’d spen on a week or two of travel elsewhere for two days at Oktoberfest just didn’t make sense. We were stressing out about it, and there was this sort of blockage, like it just wasn’t working.

And then we realized….just let it go. Oktobefest is awesome but there are so many other awesome things to enjoy in Europe. We could always go some other year if we wanted to.

Why spend that much money on a couple of days at a hectic and drunken-tourist-packed event when we could spend half of that on a relaxing and romantic week in the Loire Valley in France?

Immediately the stress lifted. We remembered that we are very lucky to even be travelling in Europe and have the luxury to make choices about where we want to go.

There are billions of people in the world living on less than $2 per day and we’re stressed because we can’t figure out how we’ll afford to go to Munich for Oktobefest. WTF? Talk about spoiled Americans. It was a lesson in gratitude.

As soon as we acknowledged this Oktoberfest thing wasn’t working and it was a problem, we knew it wasn’t right and that it wasn’t meant to be….at least not for now. Our mindset and feelings shifted immediately from stress and anxiety to gratitude and a sense of ease and freedom.

Oktoberfest has been around for over 200 years; it will be there next year or the year after that or twenty years from now. Skipping it right now doesn’t mean we’ll never be able to go. And maybe there is a greater surprise than we can imagine waiting for us elsewhere!

We listened to our intuition, cancelled our AirBnB for a full refund and decided to go explore France more instead. Loire Valley here we come!

Once we decided that, everything else fell into place and felt easy and right. We booked a lovely place in Blois with sparkly dreams of chateaux in our eyes!

The point of all this is that sometimes the best laid plans…get screwed up. That’s OK! That is the universe telling you that your plans are shit and you need new plans.

We had deliberately decided to travel in an open-ended style where we could decide on the fly where we want to go and for how long. In some ways, this is harder for budget travel, but in many ways it is very liberating and fun. The sense of freedom is incredible! But you must be willing to be flexible.

Another great example of listening to our feelngs and going with the flow was in Rotterdam.

This was our first experience of being in a foreign country where the primary language wasn’t English, although most Dutch people do speak English as well.

We arrived late in the day, tired from a long journey from London, England, and decided to go find a place to eat on a dark and stormy night.

We made our way down the street, passing eatery after eatery.

“What do you think about that one?” I asked my wife, Kay.

“Nah, let’s keep walking a little farther.”

We were hungry, a little uncomfortable in a strange new place, and getting frustrated at trying to decide where to eat. Again we encountered that feeling of “this is just not working, things are not falling into place, we’re on the wrong track.”

And so it went until we spotted an inviting looking restaurant across the street.

“That place looks nice, what do you think, want to check it out?” I asked.

Before my wife could reply, the clouds burst open and a torrential downpour began, along with fearsome lightning flashes.

We huddled under my umbrella and ran for cover.

“I feel like this must be the right place!” I lauged into the noise of the storm.

We ducked in and shook ourselves off, and were immediatly greeted by a nice host who seated us. It turned out to be a Turkish restaurant, of which there are many in the Netherlands. We had never tried Turkish food so we were excited to try something different.

We had a truly wonderful meal and a very nice server. We also had the best cappucino we’d had since arriving in Europe, to help warm us up. We went from hungry, tired, stressed, and feeling a little lost to feeling full, energized, warm and welcome.

Again, we could feel the emotional shift when it happened and things “clicked into place” or just “felt right.” This is how you can use your feelings to guide you in the right direction to get what you want–or even something better than what you thought you wanted!

A final example happened just recently in Paris. We were trying to find a place to eat nearby and weren’t having much luck. Parisians eat dinner later than Americans typically do, so most places wouldn’t open for another hour but we were starving.

I spotted a place on Google Maps that indicated it was open so we thought we’d give it a try even though it was a bit of a walk.

We got there, sat down, and found out that their kitchens were also closed until later.

At this point, we were getting a little frustrated. My wife in particular goes into “hangry” mode when she’s hungry, and she can’t decide anything and gets impatient and pouty, and not in a cute way. I was starting to be a little afraid.

Luckily, the restaurant we chose was in the midst of a really cool Parisian street market, so we grabbed some fries (or “frites”) from one of the vendors and decided to walk around a bit before returning to the bar for dinner.

My wife had been on a quest to find the best chocolate in Europe, and so far was a little disappointed by the places we had tried. Lo and behold, we found two chocolate shops nearby so she was able to try some samples (and get her blood sugar up, to my great relief).

She found some chocolate she really loved and was super happy, plus the owner of the shop was very friendly (visit deNeuville chocolate at 10 Rue Poncelet if you’re in Paris!). My wife came away with a box of delcious chocolates and a big grin on her face.

It was as if we were led here to find what my wife had been wanting to find for weeks.

Then we went and ate dinner and had a beer, and all was right in the world again.

The point of these examples is that sometimes in travel or in life, things don’t go smoothly, and you can either complain and get upset about it or you can listen to your feelings that are telling you something isn’t right, and instead go in a new and better direction.

This doesn’t mean giving up on your goals. It just means maybe you need to change your approach or reevaluate your priorities. Our goal was to travel as long and as far as we could in Europe, while Munich was really just a side trip for us. Why de-rail all our plans because of some idea that we “must” go to Oktoberfest?

When you are thinking about something with strong emotion, good or bad, you attract more of it into your life. The universe will give you back what you are putting out to it.

If you are focusing on a problem or something you don’t want, you will pull more of it towards you.

When you recognize you are stressed or worrying about something you don’t want, instead turn your focus towards what you do want, visualize yourself having it, and imagine feeling the sense of joy or pride or satisfaction you would experience as if you already had it.

You will be amazed at the resuts if you turn this process into a habit!

Open your mind to being flexible and spontaneous and you will discover unexpected surprises that will provide more joy than what you had originally planned to do. You may be amazed at the wonderful surprises that come into your life!

Do you have any examples of “going with the flow” from your own travels or life experiences? If so, please comment below!


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