By Nikki Siangio

Change is going to happen. I’m sure every trip has experienced that but personally, #SkillCorpsOctober2019 has definitely felt it. In orientation for SkillCorps, we talk about a quote that says traveling to a country shouldn’t be about them making us comfortable because it’s designed to make them feel comfortable. But changes happened prior to even leaving to our site countries. Prior to orientation, during orientation, and after orientation, we saw a lot of these unexpected changes that we just had to kind of work through. #thisishappening #SkillCorpsOctober2019

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I know my team has really felt changes. There are little changes that are common with travelling like getting sick unexpectedly and spending more than you expected but then then there are big changes like experiencing your entire original trip being cancelled due to political unrest (shoutout to Team Ecuador) to trekking up rough roads to a restaurant that was supposed to have our reservation but didn’t and only had three things on the menu that were between $15 to 20 each meal.

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Basically, accepting the fact that you may be surrounded by lots of unfamiliar things can go a long way. Having a certain mindset, or more so, a flexible one, can take you a long way. Whether you realize or not, each of us have our set of “norms” that we’re used to. This can keep us in a bubble by giving us expectations that we hold so when we run into situations and environments that are unexpected and outside of what we’re familiar with, what we understand, and feel comfortable around… we feel uncomfortable. And so, I think the most important travel tip is to expect the unexpected.  

Things are going to be different. You might not be familiar with any of the food, the language, or money. You may experience lots of inconveniences or moments of feeling uncomfortable and maybe there’s not much to prepare for that. But, accepting that you are going to run into differences that you don’t know how to handle, that’s the first step before gathering the courage and determination on how to work around it. I’m glad to have gone through the unexpected changes with my team, a group of great problem-solvers who have only gotten closer after going through all the challenges.