Bending Without The Break: Travel with Flexibility


Bending Without The Break: Travel with Flexibility


I’m writing this while sitting in a cute coffee shop in downtown Calgary waiting for a couple of my retreat co-hosts and guests to land at the Calgary international airport (YYC). I had planned to kill two hours writing a blog about how my husband, Ryan, and I had to cancel and change plans several times in the last week due to some early (and very unexpected) snow. The irony of that plan is pretty incredible. Read on:

This afternoon, I was supposed to drop off Ryan at YYC at 12:30pm and pick up 3 of the retreat girls at 1pm. Ryan’s plane departed on time but as I’m writing this, it’s currently 4:30pm and the latest update on the girls is that I have no idea when 2, not 3, of them will arrive this evening.

Due to a pilot completely MIA this morning, one of the retreaters that was supposed to be here today is still in Michigan, on cue to (hopefully) arrive tomorrow. The other two caught an alternative flight to Denver where they’ve been sitting for the last 6 hours. The revised flight plan had them taking off in Denver over an hour ago but due to “unforeseen circumstances” (United Airline’s words), they’re still on the ground and they might leave at 5pm. We have a 90 minute drive to Banff where we have a non-refundable room reservation for tonight.

This wouldn’t be the first time this week that I’ve made that type of cancellation. Let’s back up.


Four short days ago, Ryan and I got hit with a snowstorm over the entire province of Alberta. I actually think it could qualify as a blizzard, but I digress. Our plan was to drive the Icefield Parkway from Banff to Jasper: one of the most scenic drives in the world and takes approximately 3.5 hours in good weather conditions. We looked up the road conditions and although they hadn’t closed the road, it was highly recommended not to travel. I didn’t want to stress out Ryan as he’s always the designated driver when travelling (as I award myself five stars in navigation.) And because I prefer to fully experience the scenery while taking the passenger seat, I was also assuming that I wouldn’t be able to see any of the spectacular views through the thick blanket of snow falling from the sky.

At first I was mad and found myself sitting in a pool of self-pity. How could this weather happen on my vacation? I over-plan and research everything to insure the best time for myself and fellow travelers. I was planning on taking in all of the stunning sites that I constantly see on Instagram through my own eyes. When I eventually got over myself, I remembered what one of my teachers said during yoga teacher training, “it’s not what’s happening to you, it’s what’s happening for you.” After recalling this lesson, I managed a smile and thought “Well-played, universe. This control freak needs a lesson in flexibility.”


I then remembered the week before we left for Banff, I was freaking out about the early snow and Ryan reassured me that he would be happy to have some downtime. We both work a lot, and making time to do nothing is pretty rare. Once he said that, I realized I was craving the same thing.

Recounting the Banff snowstorm, I asked Ryan if he’d like to change plans and book spa appointments and a room at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel, the most luxurious hotel I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying at. Without missing a beat, he said “YES!” and I quickly made new reservations and called our previously booked room and explained that I knew we couldn’t get a refund but we were planning on coming tomorrow. The local on the other end became the 10th person to tell me that not making the drive was the best idea. Back in the spa, we both received massages and I enjoyed a facial, as well. We soaked in the mineral pools, the hot tubs, relaxed in the steam room and sauna. After my facial, I went to mineral pool and tub area and found the most relaxed version of Ryan that I’ve ever seen. He had taken a nap, read some of his book, and really enjoyed the downtime. We then went up to our room and ordered room service and watched a movie. It was a perfect day and one of our favorites of our entire vacation.


One of my good friends (and fellow lover of travel) always says that the best stories are created when you’re off the trail. It’s so true. I believe that travelling forces you to gain flexibility and more willing to make the most out of the unexpected. I also think that you grow the most when you work through something challenging...perhaps that’s why this control freak loves the adventure so much.

Are you feeling a bit stiff, yourself? Try making an itinerary, step onto the trail and light that map on fire. Okay, maybe keep the map but remember: there is so much adventure waiting for you out there. Get to stretching.

P.S. For those of you wondering about the poor girls that spent the majority of their day in the Denver airport, they finally landed at YYC at 8 pm and their luggage arrived nearly 48 hours after them. If this causes you some anxiety, here’s a shameless plug to let you know that I, as a travel designer, have run into flight cancellations, delays, lost luggage, and any other headache that plays along in these scenarios. I’ve got plenty of experience to know how to handle these situations and I’d be happy to do it for you!


Do you have any crazy travel stories?


Images by Personal Branding Maven  Elise Kutt  at  Mod Bettie Portraits

Images by Personal Branding Maven Elise Kutt at Mod Bettie Portraits

My name is Anna VanAgtmael, and I am a certified yoga instructor with a passion for yoga, travel, and connecting with others.

I believe in trying everything once. My values lie in collecting memories over things. Though we desire adventure and authentic experiences, naturally our fear holds us back.

My ambition is to inspire and encourage you to unmask your fears and jump into the unknown.

Anna VanAgtmael | Yoga Enthusiast | Trip Planning Wizard