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The One Where I Stay Put For Now

There’s so much to share about my trip to the Bay Area, but first I wanted to talk about something I realized there. I’ve been saving up for a while for a much larger, glamorous trip solo. The destination was always TBD, but I was leaning towards southeast Asia. Every time I research far-flung places to go to explore on my own, though, I got nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I think it’s time to accept that going somewhere alone is just not my cup of tea. At least, not now.

Bummer.

Do you have stuff like that, stuff you think you “should” do because that’s the type of person you want to be, only you don’t actually want to do them? This is a first for me. I want to be the girl that packs her bags and goes to Thailand to stomp around without a travel buddy, but I got lost on the BART, which is almost universally agreed upon as the easiest public transportation system to navigate in the United States. Thailand might be a little beyond me.

I’ve also always had a mentality that I wanted to travel and explore interesting places more than I wanted to buy nice furniture, and it’s a sentiment I believe in… just not for me. I spend a LOT of time at home, and buying a good pull-out couch to host overnight guests makes more sense than traveling right now.

Have you struggled with any of your priorities? I’d love to hear how you handled it.

7 Comments

  1. Nicki

    2 May 2013 at 5:37 pm

    So I know you just said you don’t want to go alone (and that’s totally cool), but having just come back from Bangkok solo, I can say, it’s not scary! South East Asia is super solo female traveler friendly! 🙂 And super cheap! If you need a nudge or advice, hit me up, I will totally help whenever you DO decide you’re ready to hit the road! 🙂

    Your trip was a lot of what inspired me, actually! Maybe in the next year or so I’ll come seeking a nudge.

  2. Cindy

    2 May 2013 at 7:43 pm

    I think my fear of NOT seeing the thing I want to see or experience out weighs the fear of having to do it by myself. That’s what pushes me.

    You’ve managed to sum up what my biggest struggle is with this priority shift. I don’t want to be on my death bed thinking about all the places I didn’t get to see.

  3. Johanna

    3 May 2013 at 1:11 pm

    This is much smaller than travel, but here’s my issue. I have always wanted to be perfectly put-together, fashion wise. I’ve always wanted to have “outfits” and shop at J.Crew and be the kind of girl with a “wardrobe”. But I’m not. I’m going to be throwing on jeans and whatever t-shirt is cleanest for the rest of my life, because instead of “building a wardrobe” I’d rather buy good food, or go out for drinks, or in some other way not save up for an “investment trenchcoat”. It’s taken a long time to realize it, but eff it. I’m almost 29.
    It works for my mom. And it works for my coworkers. And I am NOT any of them. I’m the person who has steak when she feels like a celebration. Not the girl who curates her clothes.
    It’s not QUITE the same as what you’re thinking about, but the thought process is kind of the same.

    I feel like it is VERY much the same, actually. Love this.

  4. Kathryn

    3 May 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I backpacked solo around Europe after law school. I had built it up in my head to be this incredible thing – as if, in someone’s future biography about me, the trip would be all “The Trip That Changed Everything.” I told myself I’d write every day and go on dramatic adventures and it would be so completely life changing that I would step off the plane in New York an entirely different person.
    Yeah, not so much. Mostly I just hunted down English-language bookstores and ate a lot of croissants in my hostel room while trying to psych myself up to go do something besides lie in bed and eat croissants and read books. I had some good times, and I would travel alone again, but I realize now that it’s really just not my jam – and that my expectations about what it would be like, and what kind of person it would *make* me, were totally overblown.

    And re: priorities, I have always dreamed about having dinner at Per Se. It’s been on my informal life list pretty much since it opened, but I’ve never had the cash to go. A few weeks ago, we got an unexpected bonus at work and I thought, “Finally! I can go to Per Se!” And then I looked at my credit card bills, and realized that I could be consumer-debt-free if I put the whole bonus towards that. So I did. Five years ago, if you’d said “Would you rather go to Per Se or pay off your credit cards?” I’d be like, “Um, duh, Per Se.” But now? Not so much, apparently…

    Per Se dinner has been on my Life List forever. Congrats on being debt free – now the next bonus can go to dinner at Per Se!

  5. Kris

    3 May 2013 at 2:22 pm

    So don’t go alone. Grab a buddy and GO.

    I think, ultimately, that this will be my game plan. I’d be lonely!

  6. Laura S

    3 May 2013 at 3:43 pm

    I love traveling alone, and have done it often. BUT, I like the “best of both worlds” approach the most, which is to travel with a friend and then agree between yourselves that, while there are some things you both want to see/do/eat, there are going to be some different stuff you each want to experience during the trip. Having coffee together in the morning and meeting back up for dinner (or lunch or whatever) after each having explored a different thing is totally awesome! You get plenty of “you” time during the times you’re out and about on your own, but you also get something to feel anchored to, something familiar in an unfamiliar place. Might be good to start with something like that, to “dip a toe” into the traveling alone bit? If you get super lost or just start feeling real lonely, you can always phone your travel buddy! Works best for city atmospheres…

    In terms of “what should you be spending money on right now,” I feel ya. I’ve given up the opportunity to go to a lot more “exotic” places so that I can visit friends and family every year (mostly to attend weddings, but other trips here and there!). I decided at a certain point that exploring all the places I haven’t been is less important than maintaining friendships and getting face time with people I love. I’m lucky in that a lot of people I know live in cool places (Colorado, Oregon, California, etc.), but I’ve also made a lot of trips to middle-of-nowhere-interesting to see folks I care for. Ultimately, I’m so happy that I get to travel anywhere at all, and seeing my far-away folks makes any sacrifices worth it. So, if making your home a fucking rad oasis is more important to you that trekking all over the globe, who cares what other people think? It’s just as valid a priority to have as any other one!

    I like the idea of traveling separately, together!

  7. Val

    5 May 2013 at 11:22 am

    My whole life is just one big struggle with my priorities! You don’t even know how many times I’ve bought something online to ship home while in Asia. As much as I try to save my money for my nice experiences and would love to be a minimalist, I am not, it’s nice to have a good pretty place to return to too.

    I struggled a lot before I went to Asia alone. I was so scared and intimidated. I really didn’t want to get on the plane. (I mean, you saw me before I headed to Europe and you know I was a nervous wreck!) Asia ended up to be incredibly easy to travel in (well, depending on the country, but Thailand especially was super easy). And it was an amazing experience that cemented my love of travel. That said, I’m also not someone to push “everyone needs to travel” or “everyone needs to travel alone,” I think everyone is different and needs to find a balance that works for them. And hey, if you ever need a travel buddy, let me know!

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