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Do You Think Travel Helps Us Shift Our Perspectives and Set Goals For Improvement?

Part 2

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Self-improvement is The Topic through January. As mentioned in the previous blog, while I wrestled with my New Year’s goals, my inspiration arrived! Kim Letson, author and fellow member of the Comox Valley Writers Society, captivated my attention with her three travel memoirs. Kim’s descriptive adventures through intriguing historical and culturally rich global locations enchanted and nudged me to travel to places I would otherwise not consider. Kim’s writing doesn’t just rest with descriptions of foreign lands, her entertaining storytelling guides us on how to travel with humility, courage, direction, precision, a sense of humour and a state of flexible flow.

After being virtually transported to other countries through Kim’s books, I was reminded that planning a trip is like planning our life journey course, particularly when we are travelling new uncharted territories of personal improvement. Both require attention to detail. Kim was a logistical soldier, consequently, she has spreadsheets for everything on her travels (items packed, itinerary, guidebooks etc). There was a teacher I knew who I used to say could track a fly in a room. From reading Kim’s books I wonder if she could track ten flies in a room. Yet, given the adventures and the many places she has lived, it is evident that she is incredibly resilient and able to pivot at a moment’s notice. It is quite funny when her friend Pat asks her before a trip if she can adjust to change. Kim is a change champion!

Any course of action, such as a resolution, a trip, lessons, even a meal requires some elements of planning. When I was at teacher’s college, one subject’s lesson plan for a day could take over two hours of planning. We were required to provide expectations to be covered, an outline of the lesson (introduction, body and conclusion), strategic details for group work and independent work, materials listed and prepared, plus a time allotment for each segment of the lesson (which was to fit within the scheduled class time. Keep in mind the regular school day includes 4-5 subjects which means each night of prep for a novice teacher could take 5 -6 hours. Even though we were armed each day with these extensive plans we had to be ready to pivot and make changes depending on behaviour problems, the interests of students, the abilities of the students (fast or slow), discussions, feedback or general disruptions such as announcements or visitors.

Often as the years went on people would comment that my teaching style seemed so creative and relaxed. I was creative and relaxed because I planned. At the outset of every year, I prepared my long range plans which covered each subject for each month of the school year. For each subject scaffolded curriculum expectations were coordinated with required skill development and content. In addition, projects that integrated subjects, support resources, celebrations and trips were woven into the planned time frame. These long range plans were displayed in a large chart form that  hung on my wall. It was my map. Daily I planned in broader ways than when I began teaching. However, I did plan in multiple ways, which I call the several back up pivots. What I explained to people is that I could be creative, flexible and relaxed because I planned.

I deeply relate to Kim Letson’s level of logistical planning juxtaposed with constant surrender to being flexible and flowing with the teachable moment of inquiry generated by the class. It’s having the courage and the confidence to venture forward in discovery with purpose. Like art it requires blending discipline and play.

Everyone has their own style of planning. Is one better than the other? No, what is important is that the process and structure needs to speak to you. One helpful simple yet thorough guide that has always spoken to me is the S.M.A.R.T. goal template. If you are about to tackle a new project or set a self-improvement goal for 2022 I highly recommend that you look at this article. It just might speak to you.

Kim was able to cover great distances and overcome huge challenges on her trips because she was well planned. Her extensive planning gave her the courage and confidence while allowing her to be flexible and flow with unanticipated changes. Kim, thanks for showing us that climbing mountains, walking hundreds of miles, kayaking oceans with a backpack can be achieved with relative ease as long as you are prepared and flexible. Hmmm, a wonderful metaphor for life and goal setting.

Flying Fairy with a Wand