Cold Feet re: Travel–What’s it really about?


Ever find yourself on the verge of making a travel decision, minor or major, then hesitating?

Perhaps it’s right before you take a bus or a taxi in a foreign country (or at home). Or maybe when you’re considering whether to visit a certain town or not.

Or maybe it’s about the actual trip itself.

You want to go to a certain country and have been excited about it for a while. You’ve sort of figured out when/how and then, when it’s time to hit the ‘purchase ticket’ button, you find yourself hesitating.

The worst part is–you’re not sure why.

There are times when you have a clear-cut gut feeling and so, like most people, you would simply follow it. But there are times when you’re not sure if that is the case…perhaps you’ve been over-thinking it. And some of that (but not all of it) could be that the country’s international media profile isn’t too hot.

Case in point (for me right now): Indonesia.

My mind was made up

I thought I’d made my mind up re: Indonesia. It sounded like such a great idea. It’s been on my Top 5 list for years, ever since I saw the film Baraka. The country looks really interesting/appealing to me–more than many countries at the moment. It looks like another world, with thousands of natural and surreal paradises, that must be explored.

I’ve even made contact with an English teacher in a village in Sumatra, a sweet woman named via a Twitter friend. If I’d like, I can teach/help her out for a few weeks (I’m an ESL professor, so it would be a pleasure to pitch in).

Teaching there would be a really cool off-the-beaten path adventure. I could then move on to see other parts of the country, ending in Bali for a few weeks. There could be some nice chilling on the beach, too.

Sounds perfect, right?

Well…there’s a ‘but’ and I’m really wondering about it.

I’m hesitating. I still haven’t bought my ticket. And it’s that time when I really need to be doing that. If I don’t, the prices will be even higher and unaffordable.

So what’s going on?

I think I’m suffering from “travel decision hesitation syndrome” (TDHS)–which is pretty much what it sounds like. A syndrome in which someone hesitates about a travel decision and wonders if it’s a gut feeling or over-thinking. PS: I just made up this acronym.

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I believe that my TDHS began shortly after the earthquake/tsunami in Japan. That got me thinking about Indonesia’s similar situation back in 2004 (seems more recent to me somehow) and of course, its location on the Ring of Fire, where 90% of the world’s earthquakes occur.

Just a few weeks ago, a volcano erupted on one of the islands. I suppose that’s not a big deal in Indonesia. But it did remind me of the fact that these things do happen there. And it’s not every 50 years or so, either. Also, it seems Sumatra gets his more often than other islands.

And now, there’s the late-breaking news about and business of the terrorist (Umar Patek) who’s been arrested in Pakistan. Terrorism in Indonesia, targeted at tourist areas, is in the current travel warnings. The latest from the Indonesia page of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Indonesia, including Bali, at this time due to the very high threat of terrorist attack.

The reported arrest in Pakistan of Umar Patek, an Indonesian national alleged to be involved in several major terrorist attacks, may increase the risk of violent responses in Indonesia in the short term. On some occasions where high profile extremists have been detained or killed, there has been a strong response from some supporters in Indonesia, including acts of violence.

Normally, I ignore those warnings

Seriously.  I don’t usually pay too much attention to the travel advisories. If I did, I probably wouldn’t leave the US. :) Also, I’m a seasoned traveler who’s been all over the world and I often take a certain amount of risk.

I’ve been to many cities and countries with ‘issues’ (for lack of a better word) re: crime, natural disasters, unpopular politics, etc.  Mexico City, El Salvador, South Africa, Syria, etc.

Once, when Lebanon and Israel were fighting, I hesitated and chickened out about Turkey and didn’t go  (a little silly, I know…they’re pretty far away from each other). Then a few years later, I did go and loved it. In other cases, I hesitated a tiny bit and then went anyway. I was careful. Things were fine. Everything worked out. Etc.

Anyway, the point here is….I’m not sure why I’m not sure at this point…after being quite sure. Usually, once I’m sure, I stay that way.

Maybe there’s something about a country that’s had and has natural disasters, etc. that’s just a little intimidating to me (more so than crime and other issues). Also, Indonesia is a country I can’t quite get a sense of from a distance. It’s a puzzle to me… a wildcard or sorts.

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But it’s also possible that I’m simply overthinking things and succumbing to fear and worry generated by too much or too little information or negative press.

Or maybe I just don’t feel right about going there…right now.

To be honest, I don’t know. I’m having trouble figuring out whether I’m having a not-so-great gut feeling or if I am merely over-thinking it. Or maybe it’s a combo. I’m just not clear yet and I’d like to be.

My questions to you

Have you ever been in this situation re: a certain country? If so, how did you distinguish between basic overthinking, indecision and a bad gut feeling? What did you decide in the end?

What do you think about traveling to a place like Indonesia? While it’s true that ‘anything can happen anywhere,’ etc. does it seem like a place where things are more likely to happen? Does my type of hesitation make sense? Or does it seem that I’m getting caught up in over-thinking?

By the way, I’m not happy that I’m in this position right now, still trying to figure this out. And it makes me a tiny bit uncomfortable to share it here. But I think it’s important to talk about this sort of indecision.

I’m sure I’m not the first to get cold feet this way. Perhaps this post can help someone else in the future who’s in the same place I’m in now.

Anyway…if you could be easy on me, I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks! :)

63 Responses to Cold Feet re: Travel–What’s it really about?
  1. Mark
    April 2, 2011 | 1:18 am

    Lisa, just go!! To be blunt, you’re investing too much time into the whole process. Think about how you may feel if you wait too long and the prices escalate. I know there’s more to this, but you also have the luxury of time because of your profession and you seem to tip the scales more on the “risk-taking” side, so, I think it’s a no-brainer! Besides, we await the great stories and images that you’ll share with us, so, you best get going…haha! Best of luck with it! :)
    Mark recently posted..A Seaworthy Stop in EnsenadaMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 2, 2011 | 9:07 am

      Thanks, Mark…I hear you. Makes sense. But with a 5- to 6-week trip, I need to feel a little more sure. Perhaps it’s worth the time now? True that I tend to be a risk-taker, though. And usually fear doesn’t get in my way. So what’s my deal? LOL

      Anyway, wherever I go, I’ll be sure to share some great stuff. Actually, I have many posts from last year’s trip that are in the queue….hope to get them out soon. Thanks for your input and support. Appreciate both!

  2. David Krug
    April 2, 2011 | 3:04 am

    I would agree. Go. I live in a country plagued by media escalation, and yeah there’s violence and risk here but in the end I’ve never been happier I made the leap back to paradise.

    Go if your hearts in it. If not don’t go. But don’t hesitate.
    David Krug recently posted..Stone Island- An Enchanted Place of YesteryearMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 2, 2011 | 9:10 am

      Hi, David. Thanks for joining in and for your advice! What is the deal in Mexico right now, btw? I’m a huge fan of that country (awesome that you live there) and would consider a return visit at some point–despite what the media is saying. Is it OK if you just stay away from the borders and a handful of areas? It is a big country, after all.

      PS: I felt a mini quake once when I was in Oaxaca staying with a family. A little scary for about 5 seconds. :)

      • David Krug
        April 2, 2011 | 5:08 pm

        It’s reality calm if you ignore the news. Let violence be violence and just ignore it.

        No matter what gangs, criminals, and the like for the most part (more than in the States) leave Americans alone because we bring wealth to the tourist economy. Atleast that’s the perception. Expats. I know lots of us who live off the tourist grid and live amazing lives.

        I too have battled natural earthquakes, and a hurricane in Mexico. Scary but a huge reminder of everything that makes life worth living. WE are not in control. Embrace that. Man is not the only being on this planet.

        I encourage you to visit Mexico. If you do, look me up. There’s an island I call home that is welcoming to all and more affordable than about anywhere on the planet.
        David Krug recently posted..Stone Island- An Enchanted Place of YesteryearMy Profile

        • CB Driver
          April 3, 2011 | 10:06 am

          Hi, David. Great points there. I hear you. We are not in control….certain things do just happen, etc.

          As for Mexico, I’ve been there several times and adore it! DF, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, San Cristobal, etc. One of my favorite countries. If I return and am near where you are, I will look you up. The island sounds like a lovely place. Thanks!

  3. Julia
    April 2, 2011 | 4:38 am

    I can totally relate to this Lisa! I have been in this exact same situation before. Last year I was totally set on going to Costa Rica, had all but made my mind up and then at the last minute, during a conversation about Vietnam in a travel agency, I decided to go there instead. Don’t get me wrong, it was the most amazing trip ever and am so glad I went but still for the life of me can’t understand why I didn’t just book CR. There was hesitation but I don’t know why.
    I’m still having this problem now when planning a RTW itinerary and feel sometimes like I can be too easily swayed by the media and by other people’s opinions of a place. I would just say (and this is hopefully what I’m going to do) just go with your gut. Give yourself a booking deadline date and on that day make the decision either way. But whichever decision you make don’t regret it, it will have been the right decision at the time and I always believe that everything happens for a reason so if you go, it was meant to be. If you don’t, you can always go another time when you feel more comfortable.
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    • CB Driver
      April 2, 2011 | 9:14 am

      Thanks for sharing your story, Julia. It helps me feel that I’m not alone when it comes to this. I’m sure it happens to use travelers from time to time, anyway.

      So Vietnam over Costa Rica, huh? To be honest, I’m glad to hear that you made the choice, but for other reasons (not just the hesitation). I think CR is absolutely gorgeous, etc, but I found that there were too many tourists there–on the backpacker circuit, anyway. I preferred Nicaragua because it felt a little more adventurous…and somewhat less explored. The way children would interact with me in certain areas, etc. Anyway, Vietnam sounds awesome and it’s a place I would consider. What time of year did you go, by the way? Did you miss the rainy season?

      As for the media….it can sway you a tiny bit even if you’re savvy and read from a variety of sources, especially travel blogs. I love your idea re: the deadline and think I may do that. And yes, Indonesia could always happen at another time if it’s meant to.

      Thanks so much!

      • Julia
        April 2, 2011 | 1:01 pm

        I went to Vietnam in November, which is supposed to be out of the rainy season, but because of bad weather last year it rained pretty much half the time. This didn’t ruin it in the slightest though, it’s a wonderful country, the food is delicious and I found the people to be very friendly. You should definitely put it on your list or the future!

        • CB Driver
          April 3, 2011 | 9:53 am

          That’s nice to know… It does sound like a great place to visit. I’ve always been interested in it. Perhaps someday. Thanks!

  4. Sabina
    April 2, 2011 | 6:50 am

    So many people say you should always follow gut feelings, so maybe you should and not go. Is there somewhere else you’re really interested in where you’d feel safer? I personally wouldn’t give a thought to the ring of fire or any potential danger, but then again my risk tolerance is huge, as my ex-boyfriend used to say. I really hope you go somewhere, even if it’s not Indonesia. You can come visit me in Israel – I just rented an apartment in Tiberias – seriously.

    • CB Driver
      April 2, 2011 | 9:23 am

      Hi, Sabina, and thanks for your input. Good question re: an alternate location that feels safer. I’m thinking about Vietnam (although I wonder about the rainy season) and Panama. Ecuador (where I once lived) also popped into my mind a few days ago. The reason is that I’ve hit a wall in the Ecuador section of my travel memoirs (the first half of my book or perhaps the first book itself since the second part is long enough to be its own book). Going there would be interesting (to see how it changed) and to help with the writer’s block.

      Having said this, your invitation sounds awesome and I appreciate it! How long will you be there for? Do you have the space for a visitor? Will you be exploring all of Israel or the North? Will you be visiting Palestine at all? Just wondering. And I will totally keep this possibility in mind. Thank you!

  5. German Dominguez
    April 2, 2011 | 11:00 am

    Lisa… i lived in Indonesia for 6 months… we had a eartquake every single day… and most of the times I’ve found out because someone from US called me to ask about that… so, the ring of fire is there, but it’s something natural and you will have no problem at all.
    Secondly…. I lived in Cirebon, and I also had a Volcano… CIREMAI… beautiful… sleeping beauty,,.. I enjoyed every single day its view… I love it,….
    I remember there was an active huge volcano erupting somewhere in Sumatra or (don’t remember)… and it’s dangerous… but you can always avoid certain areas… Indonesia is Enormous.

    About terrorism… let me tell you… Indonesian people is very nice… and yet very violent… I had once 50 guys with torches trying to burn the factory, including me …. but you know what? they were just threatening and terrorizing… and that’s is what TERROR is about… keeping people afraid… remember also, the attack on 9-11 was at home…

    If you don;t feel comfortable going right now… don;t go… wait… but if you ever have a chance to go… JUST GO…
    (and don’t miss Borobudur Buddhist Temple near Yogiakarta… you’ll love it….

    • CB Driver
      April 2, 2011 | 11:58 am

      Hi, German. An earthquake every single day, huh? Nice…lol. Interesting, though, that you didn’t quite realize it. I recall you telling me, back when we met in Miami, that you have some wild stories re: Indonesia. Perhaps it’s time for me to hear them? Maybe we can chat over the next few days on the phone or something…

      Thanks for sharing and for the advice. Muchas gracias!

  6. Gray
    April 2, 2011 | 11:47 am

    I hear ya on the “overthinking” thing. I do that all the time. And how do you ever know if you made the right decision? You don’t, unless something really bad happens. What’s it really about? Fear, of course. Is it instinctual, self-preservation fear, or is it irrational fear? Who knows. There’s obviously a reason you’re hesitating re Indonesia. The question is: If you push yourself to go, will you be able to let go of the fear while you’re there long enough to enjoy it? You say you’ve made a contact in Indonesia. What does she do to prepare herself for the chance of earthquake/tsunami? Can you come up with a readiness/escape plan just in case something like that happened while you were there? (Kind of like how you’re supposed to study the exit route in case of fire when you check into your hotel.)
    Gray recently posted..Telling It Like It IsMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 2, 2011 | 12:01 pm

      Thanks, Gray. I’m really glad you understand. It’s hard to know sometimes, isn’t it? And you’re right; you only know certain things after the fact, really.

      I think your question–if I go, would I be able to put the fear aside and enjoy myself–is a very intelligent one and perhaps the one that I must answer before buying the ticket. Thanks for asking it. And great idea re: asking the teacher in Sumatra what she and her family do in case of an earthquake or tsunami. Will look into that.

      Thank you!!

  7. German Dominguez
    April 2, 2011 | 12:40 pm

    Yes Lisa… I have a book to write and it’s actually named “The Ring of Fire”….
    Have lots of stories about those 6 months… wild stories… nice stories… at the end… ask me if i’ll do it again…. YES!


    • CB Driver
      April 3, 2011 | 9:51 am

      Nice, title….and if I go to Indonesia and make that a section in my book, I might need to borrow it just for that. It’s a good name! Your stories are wild, btw. And thanks for the chat yesterday. V interesting!

    • Laura
      April 4, 2011 | 12:22 pm

      There already is a book about Indonesia titled “Ring of Fire” by Lawrence and Lorne Blair. Their documentary and book inspired me to take my first trip there 20 years ago.
      Lisa, don’t miss this country. It’s a wonderful place.

      • CB Driver
        April 4, 2011 | 6:12 pm

        Hi, Laura. Good to know about that title and that book. Must have been great if they inspired you to go! Thanks for sharing…

  8. retrotraveller
    April 2, 2011 | 12:49 pm

    Don’t chicken out @chickybus !
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    • CB Driver
      April 3, 2011 | 9:52 am

      I love that–comment of the day, for sure! I usually don’t….and hope I don’t this time. We shall see! Thank you!

  9. Dyanne @TravelnLass
    April 2, 2011 | 2:12 pm

    Indeed, I can surely relate. Ask me how I feel about moving to Vietnam in 6 months and at any given moment my answer will be:
    A. Giddy, thrilled, excited and pinching myself that I even have the option. Else…
    B. Utterly TERRIFIED!

    Hard to say what’s going to be best for you right now/this summer (though I’d seriously hesitate choosing Vietnam amid the monsoon season – from all I can gather, it could be truly brutal.) But I do well understand “overthinking” and I believe that’s at least a part of your indecision right now.

    Personally I’d not give a whit about neither the “Ring of Fire” nor any “terrorist” nonsense. Both sobering realities of course, but seriously – what are the chances? (then again this, from a woman who recently freely chose to hop on an overnight bus from Cairo to Eilat, Israel – a mere 2 weeks after a couple of terrorist rockets were lobbed on the latter town – my rational? Seriously Dy, what are the chances?)

    (oh, and did I mention? Jerusalem, best decision I ever made.)

    All that said, I believe a mild “cold feet” period is (understandably) pretty much a part of any major decision. But only you know in your gut just how you really feel about it. I say give it a bit more time (airfares will ALWAYS be cheaper yesterday, but has that ever stopped us? Uh.. nope!) ;) Trust that at some point you’ll know. Sooner or later you’ll either buy that ticket to Indonesia or not (or to someplace else, or none at all.)

    No matter. In any case, trust that it will be the RIGHT decision FOR YOU AT THIS TIME!

    And no regrets. You’ll either be roasted in a fiery lava wave, carried off by terrorists to rot in a tropical jungle til December, washed out to the China sea in a monsoon, else…

    Have a majorly wondrous adventure – wherever you decide to go!
    Dyanne @TravelnLass recently posted..Traveln McNuggets- an Antidote for Global GlutMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 3, 2011 | 9:57 am

      Dyanne–You are amazing..seriously! I appreciate your taking the time to write as you did and love reading your thoughts on these situations. I had a feeling that might be true re: Vietnam in May/June and that’s a shame. Might be better to go in the winter if I can.

      Anyway…I love your anecdote re: the overnight bus to Eliat. V cool. I know what you mean re: the chances. Just because a certain thing happened, it doesn’t mean that certain thing will happen again exactly where you are…

      Yes, you’re right–the cold feet thing can/does happen with big decisions and I must admit I was slightly hesitant about going to Syria last summer. And sure enough, that was the best part of my trip. Loved the place!

      Thanks for everything–even the final part of the comment re: the lava/terrorists. Hilarious, btw! You rock! xox

  10. Emma
    April 2, 2011 | 2:40 pm

    I am in no way a traveler, so I don’t have words of experience to share! But I hope you find a good decision. I am sure you will!
    Emma recently posted..With TreesMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 3, 2011 | 9:58 am

      Thank you, Emma. Appreciate that very much!

  11. Gillian @OneGiantStep
    April 2, 2011 | 3:16 pm

    I think it’s good to have apprehension especially after having traveled for so long when that often goes away. It’s nice that there is still that nugget of anxiety and fear in your belly. Use it. Go. You’ll regret more if you don’t than if you do. Cheers!

    • CB Driver
      April 3, 2011 | 10:00 am

      Hi, Gillian, and thank you. Good point. Also, I often feel that if you have the opportunity to go somewhere different/out of the ordinary (which is how I see Indonesia since it’s sort of unique and not everyone seems to go there), I think it’s good to take it. In a few years, things could change and the opportunity might not be there again.

  12. bethany
    April 2, 2011 | 3:45 pm

    Oh man, I am having the same issue! Ok, not exactly the same but I am having a hard time pulling the trigger for the next leg of the trip. I don’t know why and it’s driving me nuts! I have discovered that I suck at making these types of decisions. I’m so glad you wrote about this because I was feeling this today and not too happy with myself. I think we both need to get drunk on wine and then just buy the tickets! We’ll be feeling much better that way.

    The strange thing is that when I am traveling I never want to come home. Now I am having a hard time leaving – wtf?
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    • CB Driver
      April 3, 2011 | 11:59 pm

      Hi, Bethany. Thanks for sharing that. Glad to know that you can relate to this…it helps me feel better somehow. I’m not the only one who’s struggling with a travel decision. I like the idea of the wine. Maybe we should do that simultaneously and tweet/chat before we push the button–LOL! :)

      PS: I know what you mean re: not wanting to return once you’re away. I totally get that! :)

  13. Tracy Antonioli
    April 2, 2011 | 4:42 pm

    my mother has this theory that fear and faith are different sides of the same thing–both are the belief in something you don’t understand, can’t see, and have no control over, but one is positive and one is negative. i still have a really hard time getting from fear to faith!

    i canceled a trip to barcelona–when i was already in paris–last summer. it was booked and everything–in fact, it cost a lot of money to come home early. but i felt it was the right thing to do–even though i was super psyched about it when i booked it. how do i feel now? sad that i didn’t go to barcelona–and likely won’t for years to come–but with the knowledge that at the time, that was what i needed to do.

    • CB Driver
      April 3, 2011 | 10:04 am

      Hi, Tracy. Thanks for sharing that. V interesting way of looking at it. I think I have a hard time with that, too. As for canceling your trip and then having the subsequent feelings later, it’s exactly how I felt when I backed out of Turkey 5 years ago and went to the Czech Republic and Poland instead. Turned out to be a nice trip, but….not what I was looking for. I did go to Turkey a few years later and loved it, fortunately.

      Anyway, great food for thought here. Thank you!

  14. Jason
    April 2, 2011 | 9:42 pm

    When it comes to decisions such as these, it quite easy for me. I’m a very spontaneous person, so never to much planning, I just go.

    In relation to Indonesia, I wouldn’t let it have to much weigh over your decision. As Indonesia is quite close to Australia, I have friends visiting all the time and never an incident.

    Not to say it can’t happen, but as you’ve pointed out above, I’m sure you’ve been to worse places.

    Just follow your gut instinct.
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    • CB Driver
      April 3, 2011 | 10:08 am

      Hi, Jason. I’m usually quite spontaneous, but sometimes get sidetracked by certain things. As in this situation. I almost wonder if some recent stress I’ve experienced has made this decision harder. It’s possible, I suppose.

      As for the gut instinct….yes, I’d like to follow it. Once I’m clear on whether it’s about that–or mere over-thinking–then it will be easy. For now, that’s where I need to find clarity.

      Thank you joining in!

  15. Sysilia
    April 3, 2011 | 11:32 am

    I second Jason, just follow your instinct :) If you don’t feel that you wanna go, just don’t go. I usually do this : I don’t think too much, decide everything quickly so I even don’t have time to think “what if”

    Good luck, Lisa!
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    • CB Driver
      April 4, 2011 | 12:01 am

      Hi, Sysillia. Thanks. I hear you re: a fast decision w/out much thought. I believed that I’d done that a few weeks and then…this. Anyway, I’m giving myself more time to be sure…

  16. Conrad
    April 3, 2011 | 12:57 pm

    As I’ve told you on Twitter, nature has is tricks (magic, as devastating) but staying put is no option, so yeah, just go.

    I’ve been experiencing a major Earthquake ( Turkey ), saw a tsunami (Thailand) rolling in, but I never ever felt a sec of doubt visiting those countries again. Sure there is a chance something likewise can happen again, but can is not will, and I really can’t be bothered by fear of random chance and enter the world of bleak what ifs.

    Have fun in Indonesia!
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    • CB Driver
      April 4, 2011 | 11:40 am

      Hi, Conrad. Thanks for your input/advice. True about nature…yes. You saw a tsunami? Trippy. Anyway, I’m giving myself a few more days to figure out if it’s just silly fear based on nothing or a feeling based on something that needs to be followed. Hope to know by Wednesday or Friday, the latest. I do have an alternative location that I’m considering, which might make sense. Thanks!

  17. Lorna - the roamantics
    April 4, 2011 | 12:26 am

    thanks for sharing this lisa! i can understand the discomfort- you’re a seasoned, adventurous traveler, usually immune to “culture of fear” tactics that keep folks traveling domestically and talking in “them” v. “us” lingo.
    i think of myself that way as well. i’m not opposed to traveling somewhere on the heals of an incident, and i conducted anthropological research on the thai/burma border at a time when folks thought we were crazy. i also live in oakland.
    and yet…right now things feel different in the world. it kind of feels like things are going to hell in a hand basket with one catastrophe after another- in so many parts of the world in succession and many countries in upheaval. people i know who normally wouldn’t be are rattled. i’m a little rattled. and i find that i’m thinking more about places and taking these warnings a little more seriously. i’m also a person who follows my gut unapologetically when i feel like it’s trying to tell me something.
    wish i could tell you which i thought this was- over-thinking or your gut. hopefully you have the luxury of being able to sleep on it a bit more before you’ve forced a decision. maybe it would help to sit down and write (for your eyes only) completely unedited your chain of thoughts as you imagine clicking the purchase button? hope my rambling helped somehow. i know it’s helpful for me to read this post knowing that others feel the same :)
    Lorna – the roamantics recently posted..The Best Gift EVER- A Friend Gives Me the WorldMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 4, 2011 | 9:44 am

      Thank you so much, Lorna, for all that you’ve said. I’m glad that you understand what I’m going through. Sounds like you really get it. True–things do feel different in the world at the moment…while crazy stuff is always happening, it feels like there’s more of it at the moment somehow. Good thing I went to the Middle East last summer, right?

      Meanwhile…I like your idea of a personal free-writing of sorts. It’s a great one. Also, I spent part of the day in nature yesterday at one of my favorite places here in NJ, hoping to clear my head. I walked a bit, then rested on a boulder, and allowed my thoughts to flow. I began thinking that it’s Sumatra that I don’t feel so great about and at the same time, I’m not sure if I’m in the mood for a lot of culture shock and more adventures/processing, etc. at the moment. While I am writing my travel memoirs, I actually have enough. I don’t really need more material.

      Perhaps what I feel is the urge to do and need to do is finish the book. Unfortunately, I’m stuck on a certain and crucial section re: Ecuador, which is where I had some life-changing experiences.

      So…I started thinking that a return trip there could be interesting. Perhaps I could break through the writer’s block there and maybe even finish that very important section. Then, I could go to Panama or Colombia, countries I’ve never been to, for a few adventure. I speak Spanish, a language I adore, and that would make things easier.

      Thanks so much for your comment! It helped me more than you can imagine! :)

      • Lorna - the roamantics
        April 5, 2011 | 1:45 am

        good for you lisa! sounds like you’ve figured out an awesome plan and i’m so glad you found my comment helpful! you know, i say there isn’t anywhere i wouldn’t go, given the right time. maybe indonesia is just for another time for you. i know for me, i never expected to travel cross country so young(ish ;) ) i thought it was too comfy and i should do all the really tough stuff first (and have quite a bit) and do the states as a much older person. but right now, with everything i have going on, surprisingly the states is the perfect fit. i want to be around loved ones scattered throughout the states in the wake of my divorce, instead of starting my solo int’l trip right now. so, i’m paying attention to that. reminds me of what you’ve said about not being in the mood for severe culture shock. no shame in that! makes no sense to “put ourselves through” travel just because, when we get such joy out of it when we do what we want! cheers!
        Lorna – the roamantics recently posted..The Best Gift EVER- A Friend Gives Me the WorldMy Profile

        • CB Driver
          April 6, 2011 | 9:08 am

          Thanks, Lorna. And I hear what you’re saying re: doing places at a certain time, thinking one must get the harder ones in a certain age. Some places are appropriate at a time when we don’t think they might be. I think it’s great that you’re doing the states; it totally makes sense to me. PS: If you come to the NY area, please let me know. I live in NJ and would love to meet you for a day or something! :)

          • Lorna - the roamantics
            April 6, 2011 | 3:33 pm

            i’d LOVE to meet up! and i’ll actually be coming to NJ- used to live in NYC and have a very close friend in NJ now. i’ll email you :)
            Lorna – the roamantics recently posted..The Best Gift EVER- A Friend Gives Me the WorldMy Profile

          • CB Driver
            April 7, 2011 | 8:54 am


  18. Talon (@1Dad1Kid)
    April 4, 2011 | 12:47 am

    I experienced something similar when I first started planning this RTW trip. I was eager to buy our tickets for the 1st couple of destinations, but something kept me from doing it. Finally, after months of pondering and trying to figure out what was going on, I decided to radically change our plans. As soon as I did, everything clicked, the excitement was there, and I hurried to buy the tickets. As soon as they were purchased, it felt so darn good and right when before I couldn’t bring myself to get them.

    If it’s bugging you this much, you may need to heed that. Who knows what or why, but I’ve learned to listen. Usually we can tell when it’s hesitation from something real or when we’re just letting silly things interfere. One thing that has helped me in the past is to make a decision a specific way and not allow myself to change it for at least a few days. Then I make the opposite decision and live with it for a few days. Usually the answer appears fairly rapidly once I simply just let go of it.
    Talon (@1Dad1Kid) recently posted..10-year-old Zac shares his travel wisdomMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 4, 2011 | 9:51 am

      Hi, Talon. Thanks for joining the discussion! Interesting that you were also hesitating, too, and that it all clicked once you went with the other option.

      I thought my plans were falling into place, especially when I was connected with the teacher in the village in Sumatra. But even after that, I was hesitating. And that’s slightly odd.

      I think your idea re: deciding both ways, separately, is a really interesting one. May try that. Thank you so much for your input!

      PS: As you noticed over on Twitter, I’m considering a trip to Ecuador. I think it might help me finish my book and so, I may do that. Will post the final decision soon!

  19. Elaine Thatcher
    April 4, 2011 | 2:42 pm

    Great post! I am so pleased to hear that I am not the only traveller who suddenly gets an attack of nerves at the crucial moment but you just need to work through it. I would never let it stop me from going anywhere.

    Everywhere has risks involved, I have travelled around a bit but the place where I have suffered the most burglaries, vandalism and threats to my personal safety is my home in the UK. I lived in Japan for a year and of course we were always aware that a big earthquake could occur at any moment. I have visited Indonesia and it’s hard not to think about volcanic eruptions as your plane is bouncing around in turbulence above them. And I have been to many areas affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami – it could just as easily have happened when I was there. Thankfully I have been lucky and hope that my luck continues to hold out, what’s the point in living if you’re going to live in fear of what may never happen?

    Having said that I am in the process of planning a trip to South America and the thought of it TERRIFIES me :-)

    Good luck and I wish you safe travels.
    Elaine Thatcher recently posted..Read Your Way Around The WorldMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 4, 2011 | 6:14 pm

      Elaine–Hi and thanks for joining in. I normally don’t let it stop me, either–which is why it’s so odd. I hear you re: the risks being everywhere. Funny that you mention South America and what you’re feeling. I’m considering a country there (once I used to live in, btw)–Ecuador (and I was in a mini quake there)–and thinking it might make sense for me at this time. (Explanation to follow in my next post–stay tuned.) Just wear a money belt or something and don’t flash your camera and hopefully, all will be fine!

  20. Lindsay aka @_thetraveller_
    April 4, 2011 | 4:55 pm

    Ive been in this situation too. I find it best to just dive in. No matter what, when it comes to travel… just DO IT. Unless the price is out of reach. If so find something else and DO IT! You can figure this out. Stop thinking about it so much. The best places I have ever been are from going to them on a whim. If I thought too much about my travels I may have never left Canada haha… Just decide, lay back and accept it! WORD SISTAH.
    Lastly… I never go anywhere if theres a warning. Yes, majority of the time it’s fine. But theres a whole world out there, I don’t need to see that country when it’s unstable. It can wait.
    Lindsay aka @_thetraveller_ recently posted..Is it really what they say it is in magazinesMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 4, 2011 | 6:17 pm

      Have you, Lindsay? Good to know. I usually feel that way…know what you mean. The price is a bit high on the ticket (but it’s cheap once you’re there). I usually don’t hesitate. Last summer, I had a few doubts about Syria, but…I pushed them aside and went and loved it. This is a unique case here, one I’m struggling to figure out. And now, it’s gotten interesting…I have another possibility in mind that’s starting to look good. It may not seem as ‘exciting,’ but it may make sense for me. I’ll probably post about that in a day or two–if I decide.

      Meanwhile…yeah, re: the warnings. There have been a few, btw, related to that Bali bomber. :)

      Thanks for the advice, sistah…like you, it’s awesomesauce! :)

  21. Earl
    April 5, 2011 | 4:16 pm

    My recommendation would be to just make a decision and stick with it. I think that the more time you spend trying to analyze your thoughts, the harder it will be to distinguish between gut feeling and over-thinking. In the end, there is no right or wrong answer and no matter where you end up going, Indonesia or elsewhere, you’re most likely going to have a rewarding time.

    With that said, I personally wouldn’t let volcanoes, earthquakes or possible terrorism stop me from visiting Indonesia. I was just in Australia and felt more frightened walking around Melbourne at night than I did about visiting Bali afterwards.

    And if you arrive in Indonesia and it doesn’t feel right, you have Malaysia, Singapore, Philipines, PNG and all of Southeast Asia to try instead!
    Earl recently posted..How I Carry My Money While TravelingMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 6, 2011 | 9:16 am

      Thanks for the insights/advice, Early. Makes sense. I don’t normally let the possibility of natural disasters scare me, either–which is why this has been so strange. Most of the countries I’ve been to are….right on the Ring of Fire! Also, I’ve been to places many don’t consider.

      The truth is–now that I’ve given it more time–I think it’s about something else. I spent some time in nature a few days ago, clearing my head, and have come to some interesting conclusions. I believe my hesitation has been about something different and not what it seemed. I’m coming close to a decision and will be sharing it soon.

      Thank you!

  22. jade
    April 5, 2011 | 4:28 pm

    I can totally relate! I am usually the one making all our travel decisions and sometimes I want to crawl under the covers and pretend it’s all decided for me! Last year we didn’t decide to go to Thailand because of all the political unrest and shootings… but we did decide to go to Iceland only a month after the Volcano erupted. We actually were able to save a ton of money in Iceland because no one was traveling there at that time. I always have wanted to go to Thailand, but for me, that just didn’t sit well in my stomach. Maybe soon, maybe in a few years… but I knew I was nervous for whatever reason and I’m happy I made the decision. I felt a huge relief when I just crossed it off our RTW. The decision was finally made and I was happier!

    • CB Driver
      April 6, 2011 | 9:18 am

      Hi, Jade. Thanks for sharing that. I understand that feeling re: Thailand. I had it about Turkey once, strangely enough. I didn’t go. And then, a few years later, I did. Perhaps it just wasn’t the right time? Very interesting re: the sense of relief you felt once you’d decided. I think I’m beginning to feel that now since I’m pretty much set on another country. Will be revealing it soon….

      Thank you!

  23. Aaron @ Aaron's Worldwide Adventures
    April 7, 2011 | 10:39 pm

    I live by the philosophy that shit can happen anywhere and there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it. I mean, I could get mugged walking down the streets of New York City. The media really likes to overblow what’s actually happening (which was actually the subject of a post of mine, which is linked below), so you should definitely take what you hear with a very large grain of salt.

    That said, I’ll echo what others here have said. If you’re not comfortable, then you need to follow your gut!
    Aaron @ Aaron’s Worldwide Adventures recently posted..“Be Safe…You Might Get Bombed”My Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 9, 2011 | 9:36 am

      I hear you, Aaron…and I feel that way for the most part. The media definitely distorts certain current events and creates the illusion that an entire country is dangerous because of one incident in one region. (True re: following the gut….!)

      Anyway, now that some time has passed, I’m relatively sure that my reluctance re: Indonesia didn’t come from that fear of that kind. I think it’s more about needing to complete something else before having new adventures elsewhere, which would require a certain type of mental/emotional processing. My post where where I’m going is coming soon…stay tuned. And thanks for your comment!

  24. [...] every time I went to hit the ‘purchase ticket’ button, I hesitated. I began to wonder if it was fear (of earthquakes since the Japan situation shook me up) or [...]

  25. Laurel
    April 28, 2011 | 12:16 pm

    I think it’s important to listen to your gut. You’re a seasoned traveler, so if you’re questioning it, there’s probably a reason for it. Several years ago after a relationship ended and I suddenly had 3 weeks of holidays but nowhere to go since we’d been planning a trip together. I was stunned by indecision since the possibilities seemed endless. I spent a month trying to figure out where I wanted to go, but couldn’t make a decision since nothing “felt right” and I was still feeling fragile from the breakup. I finally narrowed it down to 5 places, slept on it for a week, and went with the one that “felt right”, which was volunteering off the coast of Scotland and it was one of my favorite holidays. Listen to your gut, it’s trying to tell you something, even if you don’t know what it is.
    Laurel recently posted..Strasbourg Photos- Taking You Back to the 1500sMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 29, 2011 | 11:21 am

      Hi, Laurel. Yes, very important to listen–even if it’s not clear and you need to work at it. I’m glad I opted for Ecuador and Panama this time. Something about them made sense for a number of reasons, some re: feelings and others re: the practicality of finishing something I need to finish. Here’s a link if you’d like to see how I finally came to the decision.

      Meanwhile…thanks for sharing your story. That’s a tough one when you’d been planning to go with someone and then things end. I once went to New Mexico after a breakup–something about it and the healing possibilities it offered felt good–and it was just right. I like that you took your time and narrowed the choices down. And I’m happy to hear that it was one of your favorite holidays. Great that it included volunteering, too. I’m hoping to include some on my upcoming trip if possible.

      Thanks for visiting my blog (first time?) and sharing. Nice to meet you!

  26. flip
    May 3, 2011 | 9:55 am

    i’ve never been into this situation… my only consideration wold always be about the financial aspect of travel and the visa…
    flip recently posted..April 2011 Wrap UpMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      May 8, 2011 | 5:36 pm

      Hi, Flip. Fortunately, the decision has been made. Phew!

  27. Victor Collins
    May 10, 2012 | 10:48 pm

    Lisa you need to follow your heart. Many times such places prove to be fun as you experience and hear what these people have to tell you themselves how it feels to live in such places.

    • CB Driver
      May 12, 2012 | 7:23 pm

      This post is 1 year old and that decision was made a long time ago. Thanks for your comment, however, as it is still appreciated anyway.

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