This post was written by Garrett Russell.
I had many conversation with Lindsay, who has already been to Nakavika, about what to expect. After listening to her advice I came to the realization I didn't want to know everything. It's nice when traveling to have a Lonely Planet guide book with you - to help you out with the area that you are traveling to - but with this trip, I wanted everything to be a surprise to all my senses.
I wanted the basics for packing and our living situation, but when it came down to the nitty gritty details, she left it up to me to gain the raw experience.
Because of this I had no expectations.
Many people develop an idea of what a place is supposed to be and look like. When they arrive, if something is different then what they expected, it can sometimes ruin their trip. I am not saying that planning and being completely prepared is a bad thing. Be informed yet open minded. Be prepared to have speed bumps and be able to quickly adapt to situations that do not work in your favor.
Lindsay and I have developed many tricks on the road to overlook the bad and create some good from it. Humor is one of the best solutions to a unfortunate situation. There were many situation that could have made our trip from the USA to Fiji a little miserable, but we tried turning everything upside-down to be in our favor.
I guess I can add that being able to get along with your travel buddy is of great importance.
Here are some other tips that could help when travel is difficult.
Laughter is the best medicine (disregard the obvious cliché). Everyone knows this. Unfortunately when I'm tired, cranky, and the elements are all seemingly against me, chuckles are far from my mind. In this world where travel is easier than ever, speed bumps are not taken lightly. I believe I have a choice: be a pissy mess or deal with the situation - take a deep breath and find people wearing cut-off jeans, heavy metal tee shirts with mullets to brighten the moment. Being in a lighter mood also helps me think clearly and find better solutions to a problem.
When using public transportation turns into a trip from hell (e.g. being unable to move for hours, needing to use the facilities, poor road conditions ruining plans, etc.), try introducing yourself to a nearby local of similar age or one that looks open to conversation (usually not passed out or wearing earbuds). This will allow you to learn more about the country and how much longer the trip will take. A little commiseration could be fun, and it will also distract you from what is really grinding your gears.
Don't Marry Your Arbitrary Plan
If traveling during a holiday or slow season and transportation is not on schedule to arrive at your expected destination when you were hoping, try going somewhere close by to kill time or make the travel time shorter. Lindsay and I were planning on traveling to the Fijian island of Vanua Levu after Christmas, but the boat did not leave for three days. We wanted to relax, so we found a local bus that would take us to the closest point of access to the island. We found a relaxing spot on the northern island of Viti Levu, hours closer to our destination in mind, and it gave us a new experience on another part of the island we had yet to see.
Let It All Out
If you are unable to be open and have candid conversations with your travel partner, then learn to. Often times there will be opposing ideas about a location or a plan, the food won't agree with us all or there are small medical problems that cannot go overlooked. If you are unable to talk with someone who is sharing the same experience or symptoms, then it will become an annoyance. You don't have to be gross and discuss every detail the BM from earlier, but knowing that you're not the only one effected is oddly comforting. Knowing that someone you're spending a lot of time with is feeling good about all decisions and health concerns will allow for growth and a good dynamic.
What are some mental items you pack to make sure you're fully prepared to enjoy your trip? Leave a comment and let us know!