Since the pandemic eased, I have done more travelling, and I’ve come to divide my travel into three categories: vacations, trips, and adventures. Each has its own purpose. I have a second home in the mountains of Colorado and going there is pure vacation. I sit by the river, read, go for walks and do something or nothing – my choice.

I frequently visit my daughter in Chicago, and I label these “trips.” They are not as relaxing but we see plays, ballets, go shopping, visit museums and eat at wonderful restaurants. I still have a comfort level with trips as Chicago is an hour flight; I know my way around, and my daughter is there.

Adventures are different. Sometimes they start out as trips and become adventures, but adventures throw you out of your comfort zone, force you to see situations differently, and perhaps even scare you a bit. Over the last year I’ve gone whale watching in Canada, ziplining in Costa Rica and just came back from a road trip through Scotland.

Scotland is a beautiful country with lovely people and horrible roads. They are narrow, often one lane with two-way traffic and winding with little visibility of what’s ahead. Oh, and they also drive on the left side of the road and have roundabouts every 100 yards or so. During our trip, we ferried our car from Oban across to the Island of Mull where we promptly punctured our tire and managed to pull over into an alley. I won’t go into all the details of what it took to get our car towed (four hours + as a tow truck had to come across on the ferry). In the meantime, we met an older couple who kindly gave us all sorts of advice. I could understand about every third word the man said as his brogue was lovely but unfamiliar to my ears. Some ladies stopped and told us we might as well walk to a nearby pub and have lunch, which we did. We met a wonderful bartender, had fish and chips, and then stood on the main road and waited for our tow truck as we hadn’t been able to provide an address.

We ended up having to change plans, take a few buses to Inverness to rent a new car, proceed on our way and improvise our new itinerary. We didn’t get to see some of the sights we had planned, but we met some wonderful folks we wouldn’t have met if we hadn’t punctured that tire.

I have a friend who, as a single mom, travelled with her young children all over the country and the world. Invariably, something would go wrong, and she would tell her children, “Well, now we’re going to have an adventure.” I channeled this attitude as we dealt with many hiccups during our travel. Having adventures such as this makes us more resilient people and better leaders. Life and work seldom go as planned, and if we have the ability to see situations differently, improvise new solutions and enjoy the process, life can be an adventure.