Why not to travel


As I’ve written about on many occasions, I feel like travel is a vitally important practice to add to your life. It can soothe the soul, clear the mind, open the heart (though if you’re not careful, it can empty the pocketbook).

I usually advocate that people go because they can, assuming they have the means. (This means being able to afford it, not dumping it on a credit card and bringing your bill home as a souvenir.)

But there are reasons not to travel, too.

Stay put

As mentioned previously, I’ve been sitting on a short trip to the Caribbean. And my hesitations and the discussion of opportunity cost led me to think about some reasons not to take a particular trip.

You don’t have a clear understanding of why you’re going. While I don’t think we need to have a specific objective before undertaking a journey, I think it’s a good idea to at least have a general idea of what you hope to find when you’re there. In my specific case, I’ve been unsure about this for a while now. Was I going to relax? To learn about another culture? I would like sun, but I can get sun much closer than that. Do I really want to see the Caribbean, or am I just ticking a box on a list?

It’s not your thing. Ferries to nowhere, feeling like an infant, and other experiences all speak to a desire for active adventure. To me, my idea of adventure is to walk from one side of the city to another, taking in the people and sights, then hike up an eminence and view the city I had just traversed from bird’s eye view. And while I love beaches and the ocean, I tend to get a bit antsy when I sit in a chair and don’t move for long periods of time. And a tropical island, while presumably offering some form of adventure, seems too much geared toward a kind of sit-still experience that I don’t really need to spend money to get right now.

You’re neither excited nor anxious. Being excited is great, but it’s not necessary to be excited when you travel. After all, a lot of travel is actually scary. But that kind of anxiety is a good kind, as it means that you are moving past your comfort zone, which is always a good place to travel to. But whether you feel excitement or anxiety, feel something! I confess I’ve been feeling oddly inert about this upcoming plan. I’d much rather wait to go until I feel scared than when I feel nothing.

READ MORE:  Go, if you can, because you can

So on balance, I’ve decided not to go on my tropical vacation. At least not now.

No tropically hard feelings

None of this is to say anything negative about little St. Maarten. It’s been on my list for a good many years now, and will continue to stay there. At some point the balance may shift, in which case I’ll reevaluate. Perhaps I’m giving up a possibly amazing, transcendent experience!

That may be. But I’m not worried about making the wrong decision. There are too many other great possibilities that will take its place.

So I’m not going, not because I’m being indecisive, but because I’ve decided not to go. That’s a vital distinction there.

I’ll find another use for my free hotel night. And I’m already planning my next big adventure, tentatively planned for the early spring. I’ll say more about that soon, but I’m already getting excited for that. To me, that’s the biggest sign of all that I’m making the right decision.

But enough about me. Have you ever turned down a travel opportunity?

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