june 2016

My Most Difficult Travel Decision

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my most difficult travel decision

I’m not flying to Spain today.

I know what you’re probably thinking.

Blond Wayfarer is a coward.” “She’s letting terrorists win.” “What a typical fearful American.” “Doesn’t she realize Belgium isn’t Spain? They’re 900 miles apart.”

This post comes at a very unfortunate time, given the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, and I debated posting it at all. I want to be honest with you guys, though. You deserve to know the truth behind all my trips.

So the attacks in Brussels. I promise it’s not, not, not! the main reason behind me cancelling my trip to Spain. Living in fear as we give up freedoms is what terrorists want to accomplish, and I don’t believe you should stop traveling because of them. They’re losers.

Life goes on. It goes on in Brussels. It goes on in Istanbul. It goes on in Paris.

my most difficult travel decision
Grand Place in Brussels.

Honestly, my anxiety has been a train wreck for the past month or so, way before the attack at the Brussels airport yesterday. I won’t go into too many specifics on this blog, a place where I smile and inspire, but I had a lot of unforeseen changes happen this month and decided it was best to wait to experience Spain.

At the moment, the mere thought of taking a long trip overseas made me a nervous wreck. Instead of doing research for my trip, I’d read about SEO techniques or sneak over to goodreads to check out new book releases. My whole mood was different from my giddiness planning my Iceland adventure or Central European trip.

I wasn’t very excited about leaving for Spain when I had so much crap staked on my plate. If I had known in January what I do now, I probably never would’ve made my reservations.

And what’s the point of taking a trip if you know in your heart that you’ll constantly be on edge, thinking about “what ifs?”

my most difficult travel decision
Stand tall and proud.

The horrible attack at Brussels airport just happened to coincide with a lot of personal issues on my end. I knew it was in my best interest to reschedule.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry to my readers who were looking forward to those posts, and I’m incredibly sorry to Spain. One day. I promise, I promise.

Even though I’m not visiting Spain, don’t think for one second that I’ll stop visiting Europe because of my anxiety (or terrorists for that matter). I have been to Europe – England, France, Germany, Czech Republic, etc. – about 9 times in my life. I adore the continent. It’s incredibly safe and rewarding for female travelers, and I’ll never ever quit traveling there.

Besides, my airline credits will wait patiently for an upcoming trip to Stockholm, given I’ve purchased tickets to attend July’s TBEX (more about that later!), and a potential extension to the Baltic countries.

my most difficult travel decision

However, I do have some good news shining from these terrible storm clouds. I’ve an opportunity to travel for a week in San Francisco, California.

Believe it or not, I’ve never been to the West Coast of the United States, so I’m super excited to see California in all its glory.

This trip fits much better into my schedule, because of its length and proximity to home, and I know in my heart I made the right choice.

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, so now I can enjoy every second of what San Francisco and its surrounding area has to offer a solo female traveler.

The weather looks gorgeous too. Sunny skies and mild temperatures all week long? Sign me up!

my most difficult travel decision
I promise we’ll see each other one day.

Do you ever feel nervous before taking a trip – domestic or international? Have you ever canceled a trip due to anxiety or unforeseen problems? This has definitely been my most difficult travel decision. What’s yours? Leave all your ideas in the comments. See you in San Francisco.

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21 thoughts on “My Most Difficult Travel Decision

  1. Kelly says:

    If that’s the right decision for you, then that’s the right decision — no need to apologize. Starting a trip with a huge cloud of anxiety over your head would not make for a pleasant travel experience! Enjoy San Francisco!

  2. Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine says:

    I actually respect you so much for knowing yourself well enough to pull the plug on a trip (at least temporarily!). That’s something that is so, so difficult, and I think you are incredible for being able to do so! Spain will be there when you’re ready.

    And on the plus side, I’m in love with San Francisco. So you can’t go wrong there. 🙂

    • Rachel Elizabeth says:

      Amanda —

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment! I made me smile from ear to ear! Spain isn’t disappearing anytime soon. Perhaps one day I’ll take an entire month to devote to the country. I’d love that.

      I can’t wait to see San Francisco! I fly out tomorrow, ahhh!

  3. Liz says:

    It’s always so difficult trying to balance health needs with your travel plans. Even regardless of the recent attacks it sounds like you have made the right decision delaying your trip to Spain. I’m in a similar situation deciding whether to travel to Europe for two weddings in July. Normally I would be there in a heartbeat but after a few recent health scares and surgery the thought of flying long haul is making my anxiety flare up. Even though some people say its a first world problem I think it’s so important to prioritise your health and if the time isn’t right to travel to put it on hold until it is. I hope you enjoy San Francisco, I would love to go there!!

    • Rachel Elizabeth says:

      Liz —

      Thank you so much for your supportive comment! I agree that it’s important to prioritize your health over everything else, which sometimes includes travel. It sucks, but some decisions aren’t easy.

      I LOVED San Francisco! It’s worth a visit, for sure!

  4. Ella says:

    It sounds like you made the right decision 🙂 I know how much it sucks when you can’t carry out the travel plans that you have, but it’s better to listen to yourself if you can’t take that trip, rather than not listening to yourself and regretting it later. And Spain isn’t going anywhere! It will still be there when you’re ready to go 🙂

  5. Amanda | The Backpack Lass says:

    You are definitely not alone, Rachel. I was supposed to go to London in March, but cancelled my trip for similar personal reasons as well. I felt like my decision was sound and just, but I felt a little disappointed that I wasn’t getting to the UK again as soon as I was hoping too.
    My heart also wasn’t into the planning process – that’s half the fun when you are planning your trip! The fact that my trip was also going to be my first solo trip also made me nervous and full of anxiety. I really admire that you have worked your way to taking solo trips and really hope I too one day can travel on my own.

    • Rachel Elizabeth says:

      Amanda —

      I agree that half the fun is planning your trip! I love spending hours reading about attractions, day trips, and accommodation. And best of luck when you eventually travel solo. It’s scary at first, but I promise the experience will change you in all sorts of amazing ways! Thanks for visiting!

  6. Indy says:

    Traveling isn’t a good idea if you aren’t in the right mindset. You made the right decision. There will be more time for traveling when things have sorted themselves out. 🙂

  7. Jagabond says:

    I can totally relate, as I’m a travel-lover but I also have anxiety. Sometimes the anxiety wins and keeps me from doing things, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of or apologize for. First and foremost we need to take care of ourselves so we can enjoy our travel. You made the right call.

  8. Daisy says:

    I have been struggling with anxiety for a long time, but I’ve never cancelled a trip because of it. I just never planned the trip. At one point I couldn’t leave my house for longer than 10 minutes without completely panicking and HAVING to go back. I’ve been improving though and had my biggest achievement as of yet last month. I traveled alone to New Delhi and it was awesome! 🙂

  9. Leigh | Campfires & Concierges says:

    As someone who thinks planning travel is half the fun, I’m not always disappointed when a trip is canceled!

    I’m coming through a fear of flying (almost over it!) and at the peak, I did miss a business trip due to major anxiety about flying. I, of course, lied about the reason to my boss about the reason. It sounds like your cancellation goes beyond this, but whatever the reason, you only have to do what is right for you!

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