Thursday, May 23, 2013

World Travel is Not for the Faint of Heart

Our lovely Mrs. International, Sarah Bazey, makes jet-setting look glamorous and easy, but believe me international travel is not without its trials.

Challenge #1 - I had to pack for 21 days in an unknown city.  I find packing to be a challenge, I want to have a lot of choices, but my space is limited.  I have read all the articles on picking a color scheme and then choose items that you can mix and match.  Unfortunately, my wardrobe seems to be all over the place in terms of style.  I also needed to be sensitive to cultural customs of modesty, in which one is discouraged from displaying shoulders or too much leg – shorts and tank tops were not an option while volunteering.   After several hours of trial and error, I narrowed my load to two suitcases under the weight restrictions posted on the airline website.  If you travel, don’t forget to check the weight restrictions, I once had to pay $100.00 due to an overweight suitcase, and I was only leaving for 4 days.

Challenge #2 - I’m sure you are all familiar with that awful feeling that comes after too much time on a merry-go-round.  The spinning feeling makes your stomach sort of turn inside out.  That’s what flying does for me.  I’m not afraid of being in the air, but body just does not adapt well to the motion sickness.  Through some experimentation I found that Dramamine is helpful, but makes me feel like a travel zombie, groggy and dazed.   I was faced with 3 flights in 28 hours with the longest being 14 hours.   But I was determined that I was going, so armed with motion sickness tablets, crackers, Pepto Bismol and a lot of prayer for a smooth flight, I set off on my journey.

Challenge #3 - Adapting to a changing environment.  Let me provide you with some perspective.  The day I left Minnesota, our outdoor thermometer read 17 degrees and we received 7 inches of snow.  Twenty-eight hours later, I was met by a heat wave of 85 degree as I walked out of the airplane in Thailand, and that was at 11 pm.  The next morning the temps were soaring toward 100 degrees. For the first week I literally thought I was going to die from the heat and even showered in my clothes before bed to keep my body cool while I slept.

Challenge #4 – Culture Shock. Not only was I unprepared for the level of heat, but the vegetation and surroundings were distinctly different.  Even the air had a different feeling; it was filled with the smell of incense and open markets, and sadly, open sewers. Having left the frozen tundra of Minnesota, I found the landscape to be beautiful, with very lush, blooming tropical plants and emerald mountains in the distance.   The city structures vary from ancient temples to modern art galleries.

Each of these challenges brought me face-to- face with my own ability to adapt.  Even in pageants you have to be adaptable.  Sometimes you may rehearse in a particular way, then due to a last minute crisis, you are forced to re-arrange.   Sometimes you adapt by finding a solution, sometimes you have to tough-it-out.  Rarely will you find that the challenge was not worth the work to overcome it. The more flexible you can be - the more successful you will be.

Xo,

Krista Wanous 
Miss International 2012

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