Thursday, March 14, 2013

Choices Choices Choices

Travel is about freedom, and freedom they say, is about choice. Overall I agree, choice is a wonderful thing, it allows us to express ourselves in our lives in myriad ways. However I have found a traveler when faced with too much possibility can become mired in indecision.

Too much choice can manifest in different ways; In a new city, figuring out where to stay where to eat and what to do can all feel very overwhelming. Time constraints often, strangely, help. When you know you have an end point you can prioritize what you want to see and what you want to do. Time constraints often motivate a traveler to get out of the hostel and into the adventure.

 If you are feeling like you couldn’t possibly see it all even if you had forever give yourself a hypothetical limit ( say 2 weeks) design a plan around that, after 2 weeks you will probably have a better idea of where you want to go next or if you want to stay.

Too much choice can also crop up at home, during the planning stages. When you are staring at a map thinking “I could be anywhere” then it is very hard to feel strongly pulled to any one destination.  I have been mulling over moving to Brooklyn, or Portland, or New Zealand, or going on a long holiday to South America…. Or back to India, every week has a new destination, a new appeal. I am in other words, burnt out on choice.

Find a subject you like, read as much as you can about it, make a little mini-course for yourself. Are you really into the Middle Ages? What about backpacking Europe for old world walled cities? Have you admitted that you are a foodie? What is your favorite cuisine? Start there. Like music? Then get together a list of festivals and shows to attend.

The more you travel the worse it gets. Once you’ve crossed off all your essential bucket list destinations/act6ivities/experiences, you are left going “ what now?”. This feeling, this subtle drift can spell the end of a trip. Sometimes the limitless options are overwhelming. Without a plan, or even a strong inclination to go in any direction often the direction I have gone is home. I am not unique in this, many travelers report a similar feeling and it often is a signal that you way be done, for now. ON past trips we have found that simply running out of ideas has been the leading cause of us coming home.

But now we are home. I’m at a loss for direction, there are so many ideas, opinions and options that trying to figure out which is the right choice for us is increasingly difficult. In general, when I have too many options I do nothing, I guess this is classic phycology ( or so TED talks tell me). 
So what do you do? When you’ve gone down your list? When the whole world is open to you?

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