Fit Travel Tune-Up Week 2: Energize Travel with New Stories


Phimai Thailand

Phimai, Thailand


We all do it – and we don’t even know it.

We’ve got a trove of stories, buried deep, that direct the choices we make, the possibilities we allow ourselves, and how we feel as we carry out the actions of our days – and our trips.

  • You may have a story that limits where you go… a dream trip or location you don’t allow yourself to visit.
  • You may have a story that tells you to stay home entirely.
  • You may have a story that keeps you in a holding pattern – you’ll go when you find someone to travel with, or the airfares drop enough, or you can spare the time from work or other responsibilities.
  • You may have a story that colors the enjoyment of your trip before the wheels lift off the tarmac: your travel companion hogs the planning so the itinerary doesn’t include the stuff you want, or maybe it’s that your travel companion leaves all the planning to you – don’t they know how much work it is?
  • You may have a story that you don’t have enough money to really travel the way you want, or that you’re not adventurous enough, or that other people have all the luck – running into celebrities willy-nilly and getting freebies and impromptu invitations to local weddings and drinks out and colorful festivals in fairytale towns while you never do.

We mostly aren’t aware of them, but these stories can hugely affect the energy and quality of our travel adventures. So, what to do? Take one minute and consider, “What stories do I (secretly) tell myself that affect how I travel?

The story I was telling myself 15 years ago was that I needed to know exactly what to do in every travel situation. I had quite a few trips under my belt, and I didn’t want to make a bad choice, get taken advantage of, or look the travel fool. I’d paid my dues. Of course, I didn’t realize this at the time. What I began to notice as I traveled south in India is that I often said no. No. NO. And I began to wonder, was this the trip I wanted? Was this the traveler I wanted to be?

So I began to say yes. As a matter of habit. Just to see what would happen next. And that’s when I found the story hidden deep inside, the wellspring of the NO that I’d been using during travel. The story of my precious¬†identity as a seasoned, savvy traveler. The story I had to protect. The story I couldn’t say no to – until¬†I made the conscious decision to say yes, yes, and YES again. Sure, YES was a bumpier road- but oh so much more rewarding!

Now I realize that unearthing the stories that hold us back and slow us down may be just as important as any other planning we do before a trip.

Here’s a handy-dandy checklist for getting some of those stories out of your head and into the open, where you can see what they may be costing you when you travel.

1. Figure out what the story is. Do this by considering past trips: are there things you don’t feel great about? Things you’d do differently? Reasons your trip was disappointing? Explanations for not taking the trip at all? Then follow back to the story that drives them.

2. Challenge the story. Is every bit of it true? Any of it? Is it a verifiable fact that most would agree with? Or simply a point of view that’s been a stowaway in your head, riding roughshod over you for many years?

3. Imagine what travel will be like without this particular story. Is it more enjoyable, more expansive, more you?

4. Toss the story. Or make changes to it.

Voila! Rinse, repeat, as often as needed. Feel the extra travel oomph you’ve got. And on your next trip, enjoy filling your head with amazing travel stories – instead of allowing the stories in your head to make your travel less than amazing!

Phimai Thailand

Phimai, Thailand


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