A Mutating Plan - Life Lessons from Travelling
As Seen on Media.com. Travelling has always been a natural instinct for humans since the dawn of time. Christopher Columbus travelled across the Atlantic, and Marco Polo spent 24 years in Asia after crossing the Silk Road.
Nowadays travelling offers an opportunity to explore, to discover more about ourselves by connecting with others. We can learn a lot about whom we are when we leave our comfort zones to take in the sights and sounds that our world has to offer.
But with the endless plethora of options to travel in our modern globalised world, where do we even begin? Where do you want to go, how do you get there, what do you want to see, who do you want to meet, what do you want to eat?
There are so many facets to travel planning, and I personally feel that the sheer magnitude of the trips that I have planned, from circumventing China, to India and Brazil, that you can definitely learn a lot of life lessons from planning.
Learning to Adapt
If there is one thing the great wars of the past have taught us, it’s that no plan survives its first contact.
There are always going to be variables that we can’t control — weather, people, traffic, sickness, the list goes on. No circumstance is absolute, thus the true mark of a leader is someone who can understand change and learn to live flexibly.
When I first planned the Middle Kingdom journey, people told me a trip like that would take minimally one to two years to plan. I had lived in China for 8 years, and spent most of them travelling across its vast landscapes for photography work, but even my experience and knowledge could not prepare us for what our bike ride had in store.
Some days we were hindered by traffic standstills, sandwiched in a maze of industrial trucks and a blanket haze. Other days we whizzed through thousands of kilometers of farmland under the scorching sun, only to be abruptly halted by torrential monsoon rain.
I had planned everything possibly under my control to the smallest detail — routes, hotels, pick-up points, camera logistics, legal permits, even ways to try and traverse routes that were typically cut off from foreigners for military reasons, but as they say, no plan survives its first contact.
But all this talk of change shouldn’t discourage one from planning.
Planning is an integral process; it helps us grow not just as people but also, as leaders. The more we expose our plans to variables, the more we learn from the adaptability that we must adopt to accommodate new points of view.
It raises our awareness and makes us think out of the box, to consider new circumstances that might affect the smooth running of our plans. It alerts us to different possibilities, different timelines, different resources required, and key assumptions that we might have made.
These life lessons can translate to any situation in life, from familial social settings to office politics that affect you on a daily basis. A genuine leader should be aware of the situation and dissect it from every angle. They should understand change, especially in our rapidly changing markets, and use that knowledge to build on their skills.
Inherent flexibility to new ideas, and an ability to embrace change is a valued skill in any employee across any industry. Conflict arises when people ignore the signs, usually because they have blind stubborn faith in their dreams that they hear and see only what they want to see.
Face your fears, and broaden your horizons by listening to opinions from all sources to gain more insight. Learn that there is harmony in appreciating the competition’s point of view, even as you voice your own.
In short, planning my majestic travels has taught me to accept, communicate, and plan for success.
You can learn more about Ryan Pyle’s work at www.ryanpyle.com