Travel is an all-consuming all desiring addiction that many of us
suffer from enjoy and that’s why making decisions about it are so difficult. The allure of something new, something foreign, something to satisfy that feeling is a drug you can pursue for your entire life.
But it’s not the dream that makes decisions so difficult, no no. The problem with decisions for a travel addict is choice. Many of us have a bucket list of items we want to see before we die, that’s longer than it should be and for most of us will never be fully crossed off. The definition of cruel is giving an avid traveller the option of a free trip to one of five of their bucket list items around the world and watch them squirm trying to pick which one.
Choice hits a traveller at an early stage, when they start planning their travel itinerary for that first big trip. Where do you go and what do you see when there is such a big world out there waiting for you. On my first trip abroad there were many instances where I’ve made a decision only to have regretted it the following day. Missing out on a tour or seeing something that I’d never get the chance to again seemed so silly that day after.
What I realised while hot footing my way around Europe was that for me to come to terms with making decisions on what I’d see and do, I had to come to terms with the choices I had on offer. To do that I’d make a list in my head based around one or several of the options below:
- Did I want to see this place/visit this city/do this activity before I left home?
- Will spending those few extra dollars really matter?
- Will I ever be back here again?
- Was this a recommendation from another traveller?
- Am I not doing this because it scares me or is outside my comfort zone?
A lot of the time my reasons for not doing something in the beginning centered around not being sure I’d have enough money or because I was doing something that was pushing me outside of my comfort zone. These are natural fears we all have and can be difficult to overcome but as I travelled longer I started leaning the other way.
Instead of saying no because I didn’t think I could afford it or because it pushed my boundaries, I started saying yes. I’d become scared that I’d never be back here again or realise that an extra $50 for a tour wasn’t the budget shattering thing I thought it was. I’d shifted my perception of what I could and couldn’t go without, which made making decisions so much easier and less fear inducing.
As a traveller you are confronted with so much choice that making decisions on anything can become paralysing. The key (in my opinion) to removing that is the realisation you’ll never be able to do everything so make the most of what you can, and that opting out of something based on a few dollars or because it challenges you is the wrong mentality to take with you.
Travel is an experience few get to enjoy so for those of you who do take the plunge don’t regret your decisions and never second guess yourself, just get out there and do it.
Very true – it took me a long time to look past the restrictions that money can place on you. So often I would not do something because it was more expensive. When you really sit down and nut it out you realise that a tour isn’t going to break the bank and even if it does you can just work a little bit harder when you get home to pay off your debts. So you’re right! Just do it!
It was after I skipped a tour I was looking forward to doing due to thinking the cost was too high that my whole reasoning for the decisions I was making changed. So easy to get caught up in decision making and forget the real reason you are there or wanted to do something in the first place.
I use to struggle so much with making decisions while travelling so much so that I would leave for trips with everything planned out with just about every second accounted for. I didn’t want to miss out on anything. But really what this did was make me miss out on the spontaneous once in a lifetime things that come up on the road when you meet fellow travellers or find something interesting around the corner. My plans were so tightly packed I had no room for these moments. So one day I just decided to let the planning go and be a little more free. I can tell you that the experiences I have had since, have fulfilled my wanderlust far more than ever before. I still have a basic plan for each place I visit but nothing is set in stone giving me complete freedom to take up any opportunity that might come my way.
Jen, learning to go with the flow and make decisions on the fly is something I really took to while travelling. Sure I’ve always been a go with the flow kinda guy but when put on the spot decisions would be impossible. So glad that’s less a problem now.
Very true! I had a huge desire to see South America and after reading a book on Japan I suddenly found myself with the difficult choice of wanting to live in both countries. Eventually fate drew me to Japan by offering a holiday working visa… I find fate just brings itself around sometimes 🙂
Rebecca, thats a great way to tackle life.
I have just stumbled across your blog, about to take a trip of a lifetime to UK/Europe with my husband – one way ticket is such a scary thought. I am loving reading your blog, all the tips & food for thought!
One thing my parents did tell me about their OE when they were younger….they stood in the line to go through the Colosseum & their friends decided that it was a complete rip off and my parents almost left with them but then thought, we flew halfway across the world & spent thousands to get here so what is another $50 on a tour that we may never get the chance to see again.
Piece of advice that I will be carrying with me on our travels! Thank you for an awesome blog =)
That is so true! That is the way I look at things — who knows if you will be back, so I like to experience as much as I can. I never have regretted doing that “extra” tour or experience. Ever. It is, however, so hard to choose where the heck to go next. Like you said, huge bucket list with way too many desires!