Home » Travel Tip Tuesday #41 – Semper Gumby (aka “Always Flexible)

Travel Tip Tuesday #41 – Semper Gumby (aka “Always Flexible)

by Jeremy B

This week’s travel tip Tuesday is in honor of the approaching Marine Corps Birthday (November 10th) and highlights a key mindset that travelers (especially business travelers) ought to have: Flexibility!

Each Tuesday share a unique or interesting travel tidbit so be sure to read all of the preceding Travel Tip Tuesday’s here. 

Travel Tip Tuesday #41 – Semper Gumby

For the laypeople, the Marine Corps motto is Semper Fidelis which is Latin for Always Faithful. It is an ethos that permeates the Marine Corps and is one of the character-based foundations the Corps is built on.

But, us Marines…well….we do Marine stuff. We crack jokes (usually profane ones). And we are notoriously sarcastic. Semper Gumby is a perfect example.

This phrase is uttered by many a Marine who thought their week or assignment or duty was going to go one way…and it went the other. Maybe it was preparing to deploy…then not. Or hurrying up to get out to a formation only to wait for 3 hours. Or getting recalled off leave (aka vacation) for some silly reason (or less silly reason like war).

Semper Gumby is our response.

And it means always flexible. In other words…roll with it. Be flexible.

This sarcastic (but true) piece of advice applies to business travelers too. After years and years of sustained business travel I know firsthand that your trip doesn’t always go the way you want it to.

Someone pukes on the plane. Or has a heart attack and the plane diverts. A tornado warning slows your takeoff…but you forgot to use the bathroom before you boarded so now you are stuck on the tarmac for 3 hours. Gulp.

Or maybe you got the upgrade…sweet! Or maybe you didn’t…just missing it by one. In my many years of travel I’ve seen a lot!

For example, I’ve had the stomach flu. Got a flat tire in my rental car while traveling with the chief of staff of our division. Lost a bag. Split my pants. Cut myself. Had head cold after head cold. Ran entire airport lengths only to miss my flight by 4 minutes.

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I’ve also been upgraded to first class both unexpectedly and unexpectedly. I’ve sat next to cool famous people. I’ve seen astonishing parts of the country.

The point here is that I always maintain my USMC mindset. Semper Gumby. I am always flexible.


If the day blows up…ok. I deal with it. If I miss my flight, that sucks. But I roll with it. If there’s a kid screaming on the flight for four hours and the mom and dad are embarrassed. I don’t lose my shit over it.

Semper Gumby.

I highly recommend frequent travelers adopt this mindset! It will make your travel life a lot easier.

Speaking of making traveling easier, you might be interested in these cool articles:

How about you? What travel experiences have your been a part of that made shake your head and go…ok…I guess that just happened!?!

Thanks for reading this week

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For readers interested in more travel tips and travel advice, you might be like these great articles:

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