3 Lessons from traveling in Kunming

Confused. A touch of panic. Out of breath. I'm sitting on the bus in the outskirts of Kunming, China, and I do not have the slightest clue if I picked the right side of the road or not.  One will eventually take me to my destination and the other one will inevitably ruin the day-trip by placing me on the complete opposite side of the city.

As I sat there catching my breath, I pondered : how did this happen? I was so diligent in my research, I used the top resources, I had ample time to prep, and still, it came down to a 50/50 gamble. I realized this situation resembles a great deal of what we face in business and in life.

 

Cue lessons:


Be adaptable –

 

All I needed was 2 bus transfers to arrive at my destination.  During the first transfer, I was informed that the next bus transfer did not “exist” anymore. Construction has recently changed some of the bus routes and lucky for me, my bus was part of the change. 

 

You can plan as much as you want, but it's almost always going to be different when one is on the field. There are always going to be random obstacles in the way, things that you have no control over.  These matters do not deserve your energy nor your worries.  Rather, use it as an opportunity to practice being flexible and adapt to the new scenario. It is how people have always survived throughout history.

Be willing to ask for help –

 

This is personal sticking point of mine. When you are lost, it's time to put your ego aside and ask for help. In the face of frustration, whether in your travels, your business or in life,  one’s ability to connect with the people surrounding them will make the difference between success and failure.  Whether you label it a “network”, the tourist office, or any stranger that seems like they might know, the idea here to ask and make the best possible choice.  You will  always find an answer if you can manage to ask the right question. Practice asking for help. 

Trust your intuition –

I manage to make my guess because I looked at both sides of the road and I thought about the map that I had studied earlier that morning. I have always thought traveling is a great method for honing the ability to listen to your intuition.  You simply make a decision based on your gut and you accept all possible scenarios. The best and the worst. 


I ultimately picked left and I ran to try to catch the bus as it was departing. Dodging cars and motorcycles just to jump on in the final seconds. All you can do is make the decision in front of you and run towards what you believe to be the right answer.

In the end, I got to my destination and spend the next 3 hours climbing 西山(XI Shan)

Was it worth it?

The stunning view from the top

The stunning view from the top