Confidence in Your Travels

airplanIt is important to be confident when you travel, especially when traveling to another country for work.  In order to be confident in your travels you should learn what the customers are like in the country, what the area will be like where you are staying and working, and be well informed about your itinerary.

I cannot stress how important it is to learn the customs of the area that you will be traveling in.  No one wants to commit a social faux pas. For example, if you’re traveling to Japan you should know that there are different levels of bowing.  Friends get a quick 30 degree bow, and superiors get a slow 70 degree bow.  You should also attach certain suffixes to people’s names.  Either “san” or “sama” are proper choices, the suffix “sama” is the most respectable suffix.

There are different table manners in different countries.  Sticking with our example of Japan, it is polite to slurp hot noodle dishes.  Also, wait to drink out of your glass until everyone is served and then someone will make a speech and raise his drink, it is then appropriate to drink at that time.

Other examples of customs that are important in Japan are using chopsticks appropriately; there is no tipping in Japan whatsoever; and always remove your shoes before you enter a person residence.

As you can tell by my examples on Japan, learning the customs from different areas is very important.

Another important thing is to do research on the area before you arrive.  It is important to know the crime rate of an area and what you can do to minimize your risks.  It is also fun to learn about different sightseeing opportunities that are near your hotel so you can enjoy a mini vacation while you’re traveling for work.

If money’s going to be an issue or you’re travelling on a budget, one simple step that will save you hundreds of dollars it to unlock your phone. Doing so will allow you to take advantage of cheap local carriers rather than having to pay crazy global roaming charges. Sometimes, unlocking your phone is as simple as calling your carrier whilst other times, you might have to pay to get your iPhone unlocked. Whilst paying extra money before you go travelling can seem crazy, it will save you more money during your trip.

Lastly, try to memorize your itinerary.  Nothing is worse than missing an important meeting with a client because of jet lag. Also, knowing your itinerary will help you schedule any sightseeing time that you may have available.

Finding Your Inner Child

colored pencilesDo you remember the days you spent as a child?  Maybe you spent those days catching toads, or maybe you would be out in the sun and imagine what shapes may be in the clouds.  The key to finding your inner child is to think about a simpler time.

What did you enjoy doing as a child? Colouring? Crafts? Playing with your pets?  What was it that would make you unabashedly happy? Think hard about this.

For me, I was the happiest when I was playing pretend with my stuffed animals. This has manifested itself in my adult life by having multiple pets that I enjoy spending time with and care for.

Even as I write this post one of my cats is sitting by my side.  Offering his unbiased love and appreciating the pets I give him.  Spending time with my pets makes me happy, just like I was when I was a child.

When my husband was a child he enjoyed computers and the outdoors.  This has become a lifelong love of tinkering.  He is his happiest when he is tinkering with computers and building robots.  He enjoys going outdoors and boating.

In both of my examples above, the things that make us the happiest are the same things we enjoyed as children.  We are experiencing our true selves when we realize what makes us happy.

Some people are able to make a living on the things that made them happy when they were children.  There are plenty of illustrators who loved to colour as children. There are plenty of children that loved reading books who have grown up to be writers. They are able to experience their child-like joy every day.

What about the rest of us, who haven’t been able to make a career out of our passions?  The answer is to find hobbies that support these passions.  Even if you haven’t been able to make your passion into a career it doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy it as a hobby.

If you loved to color as a child, go out and buy yourself a box of crayons and a colouring book.  When you get home, slowly open your crayons and breathe in deeply.  Allow yourself to experience the joy of having a new box of crayons. Find a page in your colouring book that you like, and just start colouring.

Think about how you feel and embrace that feeling. If you still enjoy colouring as much as you did when you were a child, look into taking a painting or drawing class.  Turn the passion that you had as a child into a hobby that you can enjoy anytime.

Taking a class will help you find like-minded people and allow you to make friends.  My husband has found a maker’s space here in Sydney.  Once a month he goes and meets with a group of other adults who love to tinker with electronics and has made lifelong friends by doing this.

I volunteer at a local animal shelter.  Every time I go to the shelter I get to share my love with the animals and my passion with the potential adopters.

I encourage you to try this.  Please, let me know how it goes for you and how your childhood passions have developed into a fulfilling hobby.

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How to Increase Your Confidence in Social Situations

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