>> EXTREME YOU! <<
Congratulations! You are now on your way to Southeast Asia. Or perhaps you’ve just arrived. In any case, NOW is the perfect time to read this—before EXTREME YOU sets in. (Ahem! Resist the temptation to set this aside and pick up the creased PEOPLE magazine in the seat pocket in front of you…)
What is EXTREME YOU? Yes, as a matter of fact, it is the extreme version of you. But it’s also a side effect of travel along with traveler’s tummy, diarrhea, constipation, dehydration, and jetlag. Many times, once the new traveler experiences extreme locales, extreme temps, extreme conditions, and extreme situations for the first time—the EVERYDAY YOU disappears and EXTREME YOU appears.
I’ll warn you now—it’s shocking to discover that there’s another side to YOU. Which you had no idea about and will emerge when you least expect it. Beware: it will be reactionary, extremist, dramatic, angry, overwhelmed, and constantly on the verge of a meltdown.
Say it with me: THIS IS NORMAL.
And again: THIS IS NORMAL.
I stress this because you’ll feel guilty about it—thinking perhaps it was a big mistake to go on this trip after all. Your EXTREME YOU will say: You’re not cut out for travel or outreach or philanthropy. You’ll let everybody down. The refugees and orphans will now be worse off thanks to YOU! You might as well go home right NOW.
You may feel like biting someone.
In this foreign land, you’ll be stripped of everything that ever gave you your physical identity. Things like your comforts, habits, home-life, school-life, neighborhoods—even your favorite binge show or fast food won’t be available to distract or comfort you. You’ll be thrown into situations that you’ve never been in before—and be expected to go ahead with “business as usual.” This will bring that EXTREME YOU right out in all its glory.
And unfortunately, there is no vaccination available for the prevention of EXTREME YOU. But it is treatable—and should be treated quickly so it doesn’t spread and contaminate your fellow Team Members. It’s highly contagious.
Here are steps you can take to treat it:
1. Pray for strength and calm and peace. (You’ll need all the divine help you can get!)
2. Tell someone about it: your Trip Leaders or a Team Member.
3. Journal it. Journaling will help you diffuse the situation and put it in perspective. Help you process what you’re experiencing and witnessing. Along with prayer, devotions, and our T.D.T.s (Team Debriefing Times), journaling is crucial for your mental and spiritual well being on this trip.
4. Smile. Pretend you’re feeling just fine and dandy. And with the power of suggestion that the mind has—you just might begin to feel that way!