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Travel Paralysis

If we’ve chatted for longer than 9 minutes, there are probably a couple things you know about me:

  • I work for a bank

  • I live in the city’s Fox Park neighborhood

  • I practice yoga

  • I read quite a bit

  • I used to live in Malaysia

The final one is the outlier but I also include it in most conversations since it is: 1) a bit rare and fun to discuss, 2) had a significant impact on how I view the world and my role in it. As I’ve written about and say often, I feel strongly everyone needs to get out of their environment and take in new experiences to evolve their worldview and work to become more understanding of different culture and beliefs.

As someone that beats this drum regularly, questions I found myself asking recently is, “Why has it been 3.5 years since I traveled out of the country? Why are most trips I’ve taken since moving back from Malaysia ones I’ve been invited on or recommended to me rather than initiated on my own?"

After pondering this the other day for a while I’ve settled on a decent half-answer. I think I have on some level become afraid of travel. What do I mean by that? I don’t mean I’ve acquired a phobia of flying or am now weary of going to unknown places, but rather I think I have placed such a weight on the importance of it that I've developed a worry of traveling poorly. I’m afraid of committing to an over-hyped destination because its popular and easy to do. I’m afraid I’ll get sucked into tourist traps and end up experiencing what I’m supposed to see rather than capturing the true “essence” of a place. I’m caught up enough in picking the right place and doing the right things that I in turn end up waiting for someone else to recommend something.

I don’t think the solution is I have to jump on planes regularly but when a place begins to intrigue me, I need to go have a look for myself rather than wondering if I’ll immerse myself in it properly. Its about embracing that it might be a fantastic trip or could ultimately turn out not to be one of my top all-time destinations…. and that’s ok. Until I take it in first-hand, I won’t know.

So there you have it. International travel’s biggest fan has placed so much weight on the act, he is afraid of it himself.

Go Forth Boldly

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