On the Road with the Reluctant Phlegmatic – Coast Rica, Part 2

In part one of my Costa Rica adventure, I shared some of the things I learned about my travel personality. Today, I will highlight a few more discoveries as I traipsed around the Central American country.


Phlegmatic personalities may not do things with the flair of a sanguine or the intensity of the choleric, but we tend to finish what we start. Part of our tour included racing along a zip line. My thinking: if you travel to Costa Rica, you may as well be able to say you zip-lined through the rain forest canopy. Well, I can now say it! I didn’t like it, but I did it. It was slow and steady (which is the typical phlegmatic way) and not very pretty.

I won’t go into detail, but believe me when I say that twisting uncontrollably while hurling through the jungle sky and dangling 70 feet above the forest floor waiting for a zippy guide to rescue you, is not the type of adventure that appeals to the phlegmatic person. However, someone else planned it so all I had to do was show up . . . and I did it!


I am thankful I didn’t have to lead our group of travelers. Sanguine/Choleric Ms. Sanchez did a great job, and that freed me up to enjoy the trip with limited responsibilities. That meant I got to “pal” around with both our tweens and the Midwest teens sharing our bus.

A phlegmatic person’s ability to get along with just about anyone served me well in Costa Rica. Not only did I get along with our kids, but the other teens liked me, too. On one occasion we went white-water rafting in the Sarapaqui River in northern part of Costa Rica. We were supposed to gather in groups of six, but I didn’t have a group. When the Midwest teens noticed that I was unattached, two groups invited me to join them. It was a small thing, but it really made me feel valued. Phlegmatic people like that.

Understanding the Phlegmatic Traveler

If you travel with a phlegmatic, don’t be surprised if they procrastinate when making arrangements. They don’t enjoy that role. If the trip is dependent on them stepping into this role, they will do it, but they won’t do it with much zeal. So, if you assign them this role, don’t be surprised if they wait until the last moment to make arrangements. If you ARE the phlegmatic and get stuck with this duty, set a tangible date that allows enough time to get the arrangements you want.

When traveling with a phlegmatic, don’t ask them open-ended questions such as, “What do you want to do?” Either decide what you are going to do, or offer them a couple of choices — too many choices can make a phlegmatic traveler’s head explode. Remember, phlegmatic travelers just like to “show up.” If you are the phlegmatic traveler, try involving yourself in the decision making. Even the most choleric companions want you to do things that interest you and have a good time.

©2011 Shona Neff




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This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011 at 4:14 pm and is filed under Personalities - Travel, Personalities: Two-Part series, Personality Stories - Phlegmatic, Word for the Day. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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