How to face any situation

Posted by Ted on Jun 14, 2010 in Vagabonding

One my way back across the bay from San Francisco one afternoon last week, I was surprised to discover that the front wheel of my bicycle had been stolen. After casing everyone and every corner I could see, I gave up ever seeing it again. Being the Bay Area, I walked a few hundred yards down to the bike shop and asked how much a new wheel would be ($130). This would of course be the bike shop that conveniently offers a free bike valet. The very same valet that I passed that morning, running late and heading straight for the bike racks.

Last week’s Vagabonding column outlines my easy five-step process to get through any situation.

Many life lessons are in that infuriating category of ‘something preventable‘ where the only one you can really blame is yourself. I once left a brand new Hong Kong tailored suit on a Shinkansen between Tokyo and Kyoto, and a favorite Panama hat on a bench in a hotel in Shanghai. I dived into a shallow pool in Costa Rica which led to eight stitches in my forehead, and I slid down a waterfall in Fiji and nearly drowned. Even the emotional pain of finding that the exact same leather handbag you purchased at the shop next door in the Djemaa el Fna of Marrakech is now half the price in the shop you’re in can generally be avoided by simply paying attention.

However, when we inevitably lose a gamble by taking something for granted, it’s important to realize that both the cause and the incident are in the past and to focus on the present and future. Whether you are in Port-au-Prince, Shanghai, or Oakland, more important than what happens to you, is how you deal with it.

If five steps are too many, Suhail, of TruePhresh has a three step option.


An adventurer at heart, Ted Beatie is at his happiest when he’s off the beaten path. His deepest passion is sharing the world through photography and writing, found at The Pocket Explorer. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.