I’m a travel professional, didn’t you know? I do professional things, like in the last few days I have both a) placed my big suitcase in front of the doors of the train, sat down and filled my lap with random things to organize so that I was unable to jump up to grab it as it fell out the doors at the first station we arrived at, and b) just the next day lost my boarding pass for my flight somewhere after checking in. Travelling like a boss. Oh and I didn’t check my visa properly so the UK immigration told me that if I didn’t change my flight date back into the country I would be denied access and sent back to where I came from. Oops.
I am only 3 days into my trip. Positive start.
No, what actually makes me a travel professional (I feel like a jerk using that term, but it sounds good for the post :P) is that I don’t panic when these things happen. As we can clearly see holidays don’t always go to plan and you have to be able to go with the flow. Deep breaths, a sense of humor and a smile are your best assets here. And of course it helps if you don’t have too much riding on the mishaps that happen. I used to stress but Topdeck has helped that. A mishap such as losing a bag of food out a door may not be a matter between life and death but it is a matter of being fed or not fed which is pretty close. And my mistakes affect a lot more people than just me. Topdeck taught me how to stay positive and work through things like this (as well as how not to make the mistakes in the first place). The first time something really went wrong was early into the training trip when in Barcelona (after one and a half hours sleep) I found that I did not have enough lunch for everyone. I was seven short. When I told the trainers, the dark looks and scathing words caused me to withdraw into a shell where I stayed for much of the day to come. I was scared of doing anything, of suggesting anything, incase that also was wrong. My review for that day was terrible, less so because of the lack of food and more because of how I handled it. Their words of warning made me realize how much of a problem this reaction was and made me assess how I could have dealt with it better. The next time something went wrong, on an actual trip when I realized that I hadn’t bought anything for dessert that night for our 30 passengers, I just quietly talked to my other crew to let them know that the next few service stations we stopped into, they should look out for cakes for sale. And a very small crisis was averted. It might sound small but before the training trip, that situation would have caused some panic for me.
Luckily this time a kind stranger grabbed my bag as I tried to shuffle things off my lap, a smile and a sincere apology procured me a new boarding pass after a while, and I just have to shrug my shoulders and buy a new flight that suits my visa requirements. The other thing that helps is remembering where you are. Hostel wont check you in this early and you are just exhausted? Chin up, you’re in London, find a pub, get cozy and enjoy a pint whilst listening to the cool new accents. Lost your train ticket and have to buy a new one? The train is going to Prague, I think it’s worth it. Deep breaths and smiles, the best tools of a travel professional.