By Adria Nassim
Traveling can be a chaotic and stressful activity, but it can also be very enjoyable. Through travel, a person can experience new cultures, foods, and lifestyles. Although traveling can be somewhat stressful for me, I always come away with a new appreciation for how big the world truly is. Traveling always reminds me that the world is so much bigger than my little corner of Bloomington, Indiana, with the Mexican restaurant on the corner and the bank up the street.
Most recently, I traveled to Miami, Florida, to visit family. I enjoy travel, but there are also parts of it I don’t like. While I like the opportunity to go somewhere new and experience new places and do things I might not always do, the crowds and commotion of the airport are sometimes a bit overwhelming.
I have never liked busy crowds and lots of noise, but I have learned to gradually cope with them over time. I remind myself that the sooner we get through the airport, the sooner we get to the fun stuff. Plus, the airport sometimes has electronic and drug detection dogs, and I love watching them.
Out of order
Like many people, I am a creature of habit. I like routine and a predictable schedule. Like me, many people with disabilities function well with a consistency. In the morning, I like to have my coffee and watch the news, and then go work out, shower, get dressed, and walk Thomas.
I knew when I went to Miami that I wasn’t going to have my routine exactly the way it usually is, but I knew I could adapt to it. For example, I was still able to have coffee and watch the news in the hotel. I also went swimming at the hotel pool. It wasn’t the typical competition pool I am used to, but it was still a pool. At this pool, old ladies sat in fancy cushioned deck chairs trying miserably to get suntans all around. Lizards skittered through the landscaping at the deck’s edge, and a bartender made an iced tea at the bar in the distance as the heat enveloped us.
Benefits of travel
One of the most beneficial skills I have gained traveling is the ability to adapt to new situations and changes. This is very important when traveling because changes happen often—might be a flight delay, deciding to go to dinner later, or a meeting ending at a different time.
When I am traveling, one technique that helps me remember to roll with the changes and be flexible is to keep in mind that we make up our own schedule because we are on vacation. We might nap before dinner, or we might go to the beach or go shopping. It’s ok if there’s not a set schedule.
Welcome to vacation!
I think it can be a worthwhile endeavor for young people (with or without a disability) to be able to travel whenever possible. Trying new experiences, going to new places and seeing new things while traveling stretches the comfort zone and can boost confidence and self-esteem. Travel increases my self-confidence because I feel proud that I can have a great time with family and friends and go away from home and adapt to changes with no set routine. I was not that capable when I was young.
I’m always really happy when I go on a trip because I learn how much I am capable of in this big, wide, world.