We traveled one day this past winter from Jocotopec, Jalisco, Mexico, at the eastern end of Lake Chapala, to Lo de Marcos, Nayarit, MX, about 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. Granted that we’re driving our motorhome, towing a car, and given Mexican roads and traffic, we expectrd such a trip to take longer than it would in the United States. Distance was about 190 miles although a detour made it closer to 225 miles with an average speed of about 32 mph.
As I was writing a thank you note to a friend whom we had left earlier in the morning and describing our trip, it occurred to me that these kinds of trips are great metaphors for what we experience elsewhere in life. We encounter numerous obstacles and challenges and you can see if any of these parallel challenges in other parts of your life and might fit you or someone you know as we travel along life’s highways.
First, although not necessarily the biggest, is the challenge of bad roads. Bumpy, lots of potholes, narrow lanes and shoulders or none at all, winding curves over steep hills and mountains, and missing signs. So, what to do? Lesson learned? Slow down and don’t worry about what other people think about your taking it a little more slowly than they might like. They can and will deal with it.
Very heavy traffic, whether in multiple lanes around cities or two lanes through the country can be stressful when that traffic is filled with people who know where they’re going, want to get there in a hurry and are driving every conceivable conveyance from very large trucks and buses to slow, little pickup trucks burning oil and smoking fumes while blocking your lane. What to do? Go with the flow, set your own pace and get comfortable in different conditions. Adapt, adjust and be willing to change your routines.
Roads closed or under construction and a wrong turn can slow you down more than you want. It may not be so much about what you want as what you are given. How you deal with what you’re given and work that into your view of a bigger picture can make the difference between being frustrated and disappointed to being grateful for where you are.
At the end of a trip, or an experience, and looking back, what were lessons learned that might serve us well in the future? Here are seven from this trip.
- It’s not about time, or how fast or slow, it’s about completing the journey successfully, achieving your goals.
- Change your attitude and you change the conditions. It’s the old saw about change the way you’re looking at things and those things change.
- Courtesy is indeed contagious and pays off too. Being polite, helping other people and you’ll find more people helping you.
- Take what comes, accept it, deal with it or go another way. You cannot control all the conditions. Look for options.
- It helps enormously to have a co-pilot/partner. Sometimes a job takes more than one person, more than one mind and more than one pair of eyes or ears.
- Be grateful for all the skills and resources you have available. Build on those for future challenges and strengthen your repertoire.
- Celebrate the completion with a great dinner on the ocean. Or find your own way and place to enjoy the success.