For about a month or so, I was strongly considering a trip to Indonesia this summer. It had been on Top 5 list for a while and a friend of mine was possibly going to join me. After a trial run and settling on separate travel initially plus meeting up in Bali later, she decided (for health/financial reasons) not to take the trip.
I still wanted/planned to go, however. I even made contact with an English teacher in Sumatra and was possibly going to stay with her and volunteer teach and then travel around, ending the trip in Bali. It sounded just right…
Decision Followed by Hesitation…
But 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 something else.
It didn’t make sense, though, because if you check out where I’ve been, you’ll see that I normally (and obviously) don’t worry about things like that.
So, when I found that the indecision was lingering, I went out into nature (a special place that helps me clear me head no matter what is going on) and let the sound of the water help me get into my own personal flow. I relaxed and let go a bit and let the thoughts come to me.
And a few things came to mind….
1. Indonesia is definitely my kind of trip, but…
Under normal circumstances, Indonesia would be exactly what I’d be looking for in terms of summer travel. It’s exotic and surreal, I’d get a nice dose of culture shock and have plenty of ‘new’ experiences. It would undoubtedly be a Chicky Bus sort of trip.
2. …Right now, I’m not in that head…
While I like that type of trip, it does (for me) take a certain kind of energy–emotional, mental, etc.–to process the experiences. I generally like to expend that sort of energy. It normally feels exciting to me.
This time, for some reason, it felt different.
3. Meanwhile…I’m still processing my last trip
Last summer, I went to the Middle East….it was a fantastic trip that I think I’m still processing in some way. And that’s a good thing because I’m still writing stories about it, most of which no one has read because I haven’t shared them here. The reason is that they’re for my book!
3. And I’m hoping to finish my book…but just hit a wall
I’m in the process of writing my travel memoirs. I used to think it was one long book, but I now think it’s two shorter ones. Book 2, “Tales From the Chicky Bus,” is deep and fun and quirky (like this website on steroids) and, I think, it’s 90% finished (rough draft anyway with 2 sections that need redoing).
Where did it end? In the Middle East, where my life and travels really seemed to make sense.
Book 1, meanwhile, is about my life-changing experiences in one particular country and includes shamanism, romance, adventure and plenty of in-the-moment experiences. It tells the story of how I went from living a traditional life here in the US to picking up and moving there and discovering who I really was/am.
The country? Ecuador. The problem? Lately, I’ve found myself hitting a wall. Writer’s block, that is. I’m having trouble recalling certain things, mostly details I need for descriptions. And I need to break through it.
5. Realization: Right Now, a Sense of Completion is More Important To Me Than New Adventures
I will go to Indonesia, but not now…. I’d rather finish the rough draft of Book 1 and I’m quite sure that visiting Ecuador will help me do it. And if so, it would make me happy.
Traveling to Indonesia could make me happy too, but…it would mean so many new experiences and things to write about that I would be get even more sidetracked. It would only delay completion of the book. And that would not make me happy.
photo © 2007 Anne-Lise Heinrichs | more info (via: Wylio)
New Plan: a Trip to Ecuador and Maybe Panama!
So, based on all of that, here’s what I’m thinking. I’ll go to Ecuador first.. I’ll probably spend several days or so in Quito and Tumbaco, the two places I lived in when I was there. They were very different worlds back then, and I’m sure they’ll be even more different in terms of modernization, etc, but….still…to be there, to remember certain things (streets, food, smells, etc.)
Maybe some classes in Spanish
Although I’m relatively fluent, I’ve gotten a little bit rusty. Also, studying the language again will help me reconnect with the culture, which is very important for the book. It will help me understand certain things better.
1 week in Cuenca and some time in southern Ecuador
Cuenca looks wonderful. I must check it out. I’d also like to see some other areas in the lower half of the country since I didn’t visit them when I lived there. I have a feeling I’ll love it.
A few weeks in Panama?
This country has always been on my list. I’ve seen much of Central American, excluding Panama and Honduras. Since it’s a logical stopover (based on airline hubs), I think it makes sense to go there, too. Also, it will provide me with a sense of adventure/newness since I’ve never been there vs Ecuador, where I used to live.
I’m Glad It Wasn’t About Fear
I’m relieved to have figured out what was going on. Sure, I had some odd feelings about Indonesia. Not-so-good gut feelings? Perhaps. Whatever the case, I’m happy I figured it out and that it wasn’t just me ‘being chicken.’
I know now that there was something else going on–a deeper desire to tie up loose ends and pull the book together. And I feel good about that. Indonesia will happen…just not yet.
I Really Appreciate All the Advice You Gave Me
A lot of people, many I’ve met on Twitter, gave me great advice and/or shared their experiences with “cold travel feet.” I thank each and every one of you. I loved reading what you had to say and appreciate that you took the time to comment.
Any Tips for Ecuador and/or Panama?
Now that I’m planning this trip, I’d love to hear from anyone who’s been to either of these countries. I’m looking for amazing things to see, wonderful people to meet and of course, great/comfortable/safe/reasonably priced places to stay. I’d love to volunteer and maybe do a homestay. I love meeting the locals–the real people–most of all.
Any advice you have is greatly appreciated! Muchas gracias a todos!