Adventure Travel Problem – “It’s not really a proper adventure,” says Steve Mellor, General Manager of Escaped to Peru, based in Cusco, “until something goes wrong.” We often fondly remember our trips by relating the travel problems, disasters and setbacks when our feet are firmly back on home soil, so most of us would be happy to agree.
However, it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with a vacation full of adventure when faced with a selection of frustrating or worrying problems. From dangling at the end of a fraying rope to waiting for a delayed flight, here are some simple steps to run through to turn your travel problem into a fondly-told story when you return home.
1) Don’t panic
The very same words inscribed on the cover of the Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy are the best piece of advice that we could ever offer. You’re in a sticky situation. Flipping out, screaming and waving your arms like a drunk air traffic controller isn’t going to get you out of your situation, probably just deeper into it. Take a deep breath and ignore the thoughts pounding your brain about all the bad outcomes possible. If you are traveling with a reputable travel company you will have a 24 hours telephone number that you can call to resolve the situation. If you are traveling independently, read on!
2) Consider the situation
Now hopefully a little more in control of your emotions, have a cold, hard look at things. What are your surroundings? Who is involved? What is the mood? If you can distance yourself a little from your immediate circumstances, you’ll put a bit of space between you and the problem. Try to think of things from another point of view, and consider a different perspective if someone else or a group of people is involved. What, for example, is going on with the rock-throwing villagers? Is this in any way connected with the expensive looking idol in your hand that you just picked up?
3) Reach an understanding of what the problem is
This is often overlooked. We’re often so wrapped up in our immediate circumstances that we completely miss the problem. With a bit of distance between you and the root cause of the issue in your mind, hopefully you can accurately see exactly why the border official is asking for twice the expected price; something to do with looking hungrily at the large SLR camera dangling from your neck. If this is a problem based in a conflict with someone else, its essential to come to a joint understanding of what that problem is. Raised voices in a foreign language can be intimidating, but with patience you can find out why people are shouting.
4) Decide on the best way to resolve the problem – stay solutions focused
OK, you know why you’re in a pickle. You’ve found out the reason why the cold sweat of fear or the hot stab of anger is driving you crazy. The next thing to do is figure out a simple plan to remove the problem, and not dwell on your difficult situation or the past. You can put the idol back, or pay what the official asks for and keep the camera out of sight next time. You might need a bit of work to agree across the language barrier the best way to mutually resolve an issue, but it is possible. Draw pictures, use mime, get a translator. Be creative, and respectful of the other person; after all, you’re a part of this problem too…
5) Do what is necessary to resolve the problem
You now have a pretty good idea now of how to sort out the problem. So do it. Remember, if you are on an organized package, even in the middle of nowhere, let your travel company know asap, they have the resources to solve the issue quickly.
6) Check that the problem is resolved and can not occur again
So, did it work? Has the flurry of stones ceased? Did the official let you cross the border? If not, congratulations! You’ve got out of your challenging situation, and you’ve got a great story to tell. If not, back to step 4 and try another solution. Keep at it, you’ll get there eventually.
There’s nothing like a spot of focus to work your way out of a problem. If you keep the clear process of the steps above in mind, you’ll eventually come out the other side with no harm done, or at least a couple of impressive scars to show the next time you see your friends. Just remember that with a level head and bottomless patience, Steve Mellor and his colleagues in Peru will be impressed with your seasoned approach to the turbulent and unpredictable twists of adventure.