I can be a pretty tough cookie. I can argue with insurance companies, kick butt in a business meeting, and get free HBO from Comcast. I'm not afraid of stepping up in situations that help others get what they want and need. But the more I pursue what I want I truly want in my life, the more fear I have when I come close getting it. I never thought that getting what I want would be a scary or stressful thing, but over the last few weeks I've been overwhelmed with making decisions to bring us (me and Jake) closer to our goal of taking this trip. My fear manifests itself in the form of potentially disappointing others. I've previously discussed the FOMO (fear of missing out) that I have as I'll be missing weddings, births, etc, and disappointing those who are honored and celebrated at those festivities. I've come to terms with that, and I am doing my best to honor the relationships with my loved ones who's events I will be missing. The fear I'm experiencing now is the fear of making the wrong decision. There are SO MANY decisions to make when planning this trip - where to go, what to see, how to travel, where to stay, what tours to take, what kind of local transportation to take, and the list goes on and on. The biggest concern I have as we make these decisions is that we are being cost-conscious. After all, we will not be working and we will be living off of the budget we have funded for the trip. While being cost-conscious, I also want to be aware of safety, comfort, cleanliness, and overall enjoyment of our living conditions, daily excursions, and eateries. In order to decide where to stay/eat/whatever, I start researching- Airbnb, Hostel World, Trip Advisor, Price of Travel, Rome2Rio, Trusted House Sitters, Go With Oh- all kinds of websites that contain an abundance of information. The combinations of transportation options, apartments, hostels, hotels, and tours seems never ending. How on Earth am I supposed to chose the right one, the perfect one? How am I supposed to keep it all organized without going crazy? With so many options, so many possibilities, how do I know that the one we choose is "correct"? The thing is, we can't know that, because there is no "right" or "wrong" decision. There is no "correct" way to do this. And besides, the decisions we make that land us in less than ideal situations (not concerning safety, don't worry Mom), will make great stories! All we can do is trust our instincts. Considering I often find deciding what to order for dinner crippling, making all of these decisions is very stressful for me. Understanding that there is no right way is hard for me to grasp.
"Stop being so dramatic", I can hear everyone saying. "You're traveling the world, for goodness sake. Planning your dream trip must be tough!" The sarcasm I get when I explain to those who ask about the difficulty of planning this trip is thick. And sure, I understand what they mean - I am getting everything I want. Jake and I are doing something that very few Americans do. But I don't want to disappoint Jake (and deep down I know he would never be disappointed in me, he'd be proud that I made a decision!), and I don't want to disappoint myself. I don't want us to regret making certain decisions when we could have made another one. But we can only analyze so much information, and trust our instincts.
The last part (and probably the silliest) part of my fear of disappointing others concerning advice we receive. "You HAVE to go here!" or "you HAVE to stay there" are two pieces of advice that we get a lot. While I enjoy listening to the travel stories and suggestions of others, I often feel like if we choose to NOT do what they have suggested, that they'll see our decision to not take the advice as an insult, they will be disappointed in our decision making, and I will have let them down. Therefore, I've been making myself crazy trying to work out how to go to each place that has been suggested, realized that it's incredibly expensive to go to all of them, and then disappoint myself when I can't make it all work out. It's not anyone else's fault but mine - I work myself into this frenzy and it's ridiculous.
Through all of this overly dramatic inner turmoil, I've realized that I am going to learn a lot about myself during this trip. I am going to learn how to trust my instincts, how to make decisions and understand that most of them will not have negative repercussions. I'll learn how to let things go, and how to take suggestions as mere suggestions, not mandates. I'll learn how to trust myself more and not have so much fear that my decisions will ruin my relationships with others. This trip, and the planning that must go into it, will make me a stronger, more confident person. I'm getting exactly what I want, and I'm terrified of the process to get it, but I am looking forward to the growth and confidence that I will find!