A couple of months ago I went to Melbourne for a week with a couple of close friends. We were there for a mini-holiday, a break from work and stress, and a chance to catch up with an old buddy who lives over there. It was an interesting experience. I’d never travelled with friends before. Most of my trips have been solo, or with my fiancé, so it took some getting used to.
Even when you know people really well, living with them for a few days and being in a new place, you learn new things about each other. One thing I discovered was one of my friends wasn’t as comfortable being in a new place and he was a bit reluctant to try new things. We kept trying to encourage him, and explained that when on holiday, you have to say yes to everything. You need to do all the things you might not normally do. You need to get the most out of it.
It became a rule we instated for ourselves for the week.
The ‘Just Say Yes’ attitude has done me a world of good on my travels. You never know what fascinating things are out there if you don’t roll the dice a little. It’s led me to amazing cities I’d never thought of visiting before, such as New Orleans. It’s led me to hundreds of stories and enthralling conversations with strangers from all walks of life. And of course, it’s led me to the love of my life.
Saying yes to everything doesn’t always turn out so well. I’ve also found myself in many bizarre and scary situations. It’s led me to squeeze myself into cave walls I wouldn’t have thought I could fit through.
It’s led me to trying all sorts of different cuisines, some of which didn’t sit so well with my stomach. Others seemed ominous for entirely different reasons…
And that’s only the beginning, I’ve also found myself getting an unsupervised full-body massage in a dorm room from a Turkish man who claimed to have learned powerful techniques using magnetic energy from a group of monks. It was not a relaxing experience. And there was the time I had to politely decline the sexual advances of swarthy French man, who knew I was straight but still thought he could convince me. Hmm… I guess there are some times when you still have to say ‘no’.
In any case, on this Melbourne trip we all tried to keep saying yes to things, and it made it easier for us to relax and enjoy ourselves. The more I thought about it, the more I realised the “Just Say Yes” mentality should really apply to my everyday life. Too often I’ve let myself down by making excuses – it costs too much, I’m too tired, I don’t feel like it. Well that attitude is a recipe for disaster. In life, like in improv comedy, you have to go with it and say yes if you want to get anywhere, even if it seems scary sometimes.