I find myself with a long list of places I want to go, and limited time off to go to them.
I’m torn between trying to keep squeezing in mini adventures, or stopping taking adventures for 5 years and then spending a year on the road. What should I consider to make this decision? It keeps me awake at night feeling like I might miss out on all the things I want to do!
What a great dilemma to have…a list so long you’ll most likely run out of time before you come close to checking everything off. The reality is you will miss out on many things as you live your life, but will experience other, often unexpected happenings as long as you stay open to whatever adventures come your way.
The choice of now or waiting is a genuine one, and it can help to have some things to think about when trying to decide when to go and for how long. Are either/or the only options? Is it possible to stretch your current mini adventures into longer ones, although not a full year? Save for 18 months, then go for 3, for example? Would such an arrangement be satisfying? Is your work of a type that you can start and stop, or will it be necessary for you to quit if you want an extended period of time off? Is contract work a possibility, giving you more flexibility and control of your schedule?
But assuming you only have the choices outlined above, the question becomes how satisfying is it for you to have your mini adventures, and how important are they to your mental and emotional health as both a break from work and something to look forward to when stuck on the job. If you imagine giving them up for the next 5 years, what do you notice? Is whatever shows up okay with you? Conversely, how enjoyable is your work, and what would you risk giving up if you quit in five years to have a grand RTW adventure? How important is that to you, or are you comfortable letting go and see where life takes you?
Finally, making peace with whichever decision you make includes grieving the choice you didn’t make, as well as finding satisfaction in committing to the path that you do choose. Saving for 5 years, knowing you will be taking off without work ties or financial worries, and with the freedom to spend the time exploring each place on your list, can be deeply satisfying, and well worth the wait. But taking smaller, more frequent vacations can also give you the space to see how you grow and change over the next 5 years, and provide a welcome break in your day-to-day life. The best news is that either option is a win for you having some amazing adventures.