Scenario: You’ve been traveling all day to arrive in Costa Rica, and now you have a four-hour bus ride to reach your final destination in the cloud forest. Along the way, your vehicle breaks down on the side of the road, leaving your entire group stranded for several hours.
How do you react? As a teacher, trip leader or traveling companion, this type of situation gives you the unique opportunity to inspire people to be their best. You have the chance to take advantage of an impromptu adventure, and see how it can best be turned around into a memorable experience. How? Expedition Mentality.
Non-Expedition Mentality Response: Grumpy and impatient travelers reach for their iPods to distract them while waiting for the vehicle to be fixed. They mutter complaints to each other, only re-enforcing their focus on ‘the problem’.
Expedition Mentality Response: The group gathers in a comfortable space outside of the bus, ready to enjoy the time spent together. They explore their new surroundings, finding interesting plants or insects, and take advantage of their guide’s incredible knowledge of this area and its natural history. Someone suggests a game which helps pass the time and generates an abundance of laughter. Someone else then entertains the group with songs she has been learning on the guitar. Eventually, the problem is resolved and, as a byproduct, the group has created an incredible bond that will help carry them through the abundance of adventures ahead!
Expedition Mentality carries over into so many experiences while traveling; be it strange insects in your room that intrigue you, a new activity that allows you to realize how brave you can be, embracing being muddy and wet for sake of adventure, working hard to help complete a service project that will benefit others for years to come, or trying new foods that provide deeper connection and insight into the culture.
By its nature, experiential travel will always allow for unplanned events and uncomfortable situations, but how you choose view those experiences will determine the depth of your growth and adventure. What you put into it is directly related to what you get out of it!
Yes, this happened to a group I was guiding, and they chose Expedition Mentality! By the end of our 14-day adventure, this was one of the tightest groups I have ever worked with. Through their choice of attitude, they experienced profound growth and created lifelong friendships!