Sharing some fun stories last week with a friend about travelling in the Soviet Union during the Cold War in the summer of 1972, had me search for some slides of being on the road in north western Russia.
All printed publications at that time stated that to travel in the Soviet Union you had to join a group that the Soviet Intourist Authority organised.
Intourist was a state monopoly firm under the Soviet regime which was responsible for organizing tightly controlled package tours led by tourist guides praising the achievements of communism and vetting all unauthorized contacts.
However, a chance meeting with a fellow traveller in late 1971 while living in London made us aware that by continually showing up and ‘badgering’ the staff at Intourist you could gain a visa for 10 days to do a self-drive camping trip in north western Russia.
After visiting Intourist in London for several successive Saturday mornings the staff finally relented and issued our 10-day visa which had many conditions attached.
Basically, you had to drive from city to city and you could not deviate at any time off the main road. You had to leave one campground early in the morning and report to the Camp Commandant at your next destination before dark.
Thanks heavens it was summer with very long evenings as almost the only vehicles on the roads were trucks, trucks and more trucks, which travelled slowly and belched out excessive pollutants.
Travel was also laborious as about every 20km there was a check point at which you had to produce ALL OF YOUR DOCUMENTS for inspection. By days end your face was tied from over exercising your facial muscles from excessive smiling at the ‘poker faced’ authorities.
I now realise that the great thing about smiling is that it causes the release of serotonin one the ‘happy hormones’ that make us calm.
In 1972 very few cars were on the roads in Russia as only very few Russians could afford to buy a car. If they could afford a car it was a Volga.
Now to the Russian destressing tool, what was it?
As I mentioned earlier, we were on a Camping Visa and we had to enter the Soviet Union in the north from Finland and drive east to Moscow and then turned to drive south west to exit the country into Poland.
There were a small number of Russians who were on camping holidays and they stayed in cabins that each Campground had a smattering of. Only Russians with cars were allowed to stay at the Campgrounds.
As soon as dusk approached the owners of the Volga cars would appear out of their huts, jack up the rear of their vehicle, place wooden chocks under each of the rear axles, take off the two rear wheels and take them inside their cabin each night for “safe keeping”.
Exercising CHOICE is one of the key elements we all have to remove stressors from our lives. Choice is one of the seven elements that creates emotional resilience in our lives.
We all cherish a good night’s sleep, especially when we are travelling. The Russians’ obviously knew the best way to get a good night’s sleep was to have the rear wheels of your car with you when you slept.
Choosing to take a simple action step to remove a threat in your life can be one of the most powerful ways to take care of key stressors in your environment.
This Weeks Video…
How to Handle Stress Better – Choose One Idea Tool – Dr Judy Hinwood
Sometimes we can simply feel overwhelmed by the overwhelm and not sure where to even start.
Stress is a funny thing. It can mess with the wiring of our brain and make us forget things.
So, we’ve created a checklist of things to try over time, at your own pace, if you choose.