I am now back in Athens. The last 3 weeks were a blur….

3 weeks ago I was in Warsaw, Poland. Then a quick detour to Basel, Switzerland, and after a quick 1 day return to Athens, I was back on the road to Helsingborg, Sweden last week.

Travelling is “2nd nature” to me now. But I realise that for someone “new” to travelling, it can be quite stressful and bewildering…..

Let’s take the recent Iceland’s ash cloud scare again.

When the news broke last Monday, my Singaporean colleague was all knots and very distracted. I was cool like a cucumber (there’s a reason for it) and tried to calm her down.

Do not worry about things we can’t control

Since we cannot control Mother Nature, we should focus instead of what we can influence:

1) Check the flight status via internet.

2) Plan an alternative travel path if our flights are cancelled. (Wost case scenario)

a) For me, I just have to take the train across to Copenhagen and then transfer to a rail service that will take me to any Italian coastal port with ferry connection to Athens :)

b) For my Singapore colleague, she can easily change to a flight to Stockholm (instead of her original Frankfurt connecting flight) and fly across the North Pole to Asia.

My past newbie mistakes made me looked cool like a cucumber today

It is cool to look back at all the angst and stress I have experienced in the past that have paid off finally. Below are a lists of “blur spider and blur sotong” (it’s a Singaporean expression for silly or stupidity) things I’ve done:

1.  Turning up for a 1.00 am Monday morning flight on Tuesday morning – 1 day late!!!  (I hate such flights as I always assume it’s a late Monday night flight instead.)

2.  Missing my connecting flights due to flight delays or cancellations. (Learnt from savvy travellers how to get limited alternative flights ahead of the complaining crowd. Others complain; we get boarding passes.)

3.  Forgetting to get a valid visa on arrival to India; lulled by Singapore’s visa free travel to most countries.  (Luckily there is such a thing called visa on arrival!)

4.  Losing my Singapore passport in Shanghai 2 weeks before my CNY home trip. (A great way to get first-hand acquaintance of Shanghai immigration and pulling “guanxi” or connections.)

5.  Being fabulously late to a flight. (Discovered how to cut the airport queues; but I promise not to do that too often – it’s not fair to others. I apologize.)

6.  And many more “stupid as stupid does” experiences that were only “funny” looking back now :)

What doesn’t kill us can only make us stronger

The above story can be applied to our other experiences:

* Our investing/trading journey – if we have survived 911, Nasdaq crash, Sars, the recent Great Recession, we will be better prepared than the next person who has just entered the market. Remember the time when we were behaving like “headless chickens”?

Confidence is good; but watch out for hubris.

* Relationships – If we have made and fall out from more than one relationship, the pain is quickly replaced with the anticipation of what new joys the next relationship will bring!

Journey of life – Memory is based on past experiences. If not, they are mere dreams or fantasies (some can even be called hallucinations). Don’t mix them up!

If our memory up till today is a bit “hazy”, perhaps it’s time to loosen up and start making more mistakes!?

(Well, at least I learn more from my mistake than my success)

About the Author: “Hi! I’m a Singaporean working in Athens, Greece. I aspire to be like the swan that’s here and gone. And if need be, I’ll rather be the hammer than the nail. Yes, it’s from that song. 123, Away, I rather sail away…. (El Condor Pasa)”

Singapore Man of Leisure (welcome to my blog; just google it!)
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