Thoughts from the Road: Getting Stuck in Places While You Travel

Traveling with a plan is a great idea, but it never works out how you think. 3 days here, 2 days there can quickly become a week ‘here’ and never reaching ‘there’.  Maybe you’ve had the best time of your life or maybe, thanks to your delay, you’ve missed it.

backpacking in thailand

Sure, it’s all conjecture, all speculation – who knows what we could have seen, what we could have done but we gotta play the percentages. I remember years ago, when I just started out on this epic journey of mine, I was traveling through Thailand for my second time. I had grand plans to carry on though, see more of Northern Thailand, cycle around towns, motorbike further afield, but I got ‘stuck‘ in Chiang Mai.

 

My 3 weeks I had dedicated to exploring the north of my favourite country disappeared in a hazy blur. It seems I’m not the only one this has affected. The concept of getting ‘stuck’ seems to be becoming an epidemic, tales of people in Vang Vieng for a month, Koh Phang An for 2, the Greek islands for a summer. Is it ok to get stuck? Or are we wasting our opportunities?

 

Time is our most valuable asset, one which we can never buy more of, one which we should spend with care. In that respect, getting ‘stuck’ can go one of two ways. For me, getting stuck in Chiang Mai was fun, I was partying with friends 5 nights a week, waking up at midday, eating in the market and replaying it all again. I burned through cash, stayed inside my comfort zone and didn’t really experience everything I could have. I DIDN’T MAKE THE MOST OF MY TIME.

 

To this day I still haven’t made it to Chiang Rai’s white temple and I only recently finally ventured to Pai and Mae Hong Son, places I should have been years ago. Luckily for me, my lifestyle has offered me the opportunity to right my wrongs. But many people don’t have the same chance. So is it ok to get ‘stuck’ in a place?

 

Here’s my two cents – my time in Chiang Mai, getting ‘stuck’ for 3 weeks, would have been worth it if I truly explored the city. If I got to know it, understand its culture and its nuances. Sure ,I could still have partied, but partied with locals, escaped the backpacker scene. Gone beyond., Then getting stuck would be great. But I didn’t, I partied with British friends, cracked the same jokes, went to the same places and admittedly it was fun, but that time definitely could have been better spent.

 

A whisky-misted, sporadic memory of lost nights and late mornings shouldn’t define our trip, we’re so fortunate to be able to travel and see the world, to experience new cultures and broaden our horizons. Getting ‘stuck’ in a boozey corner somewhere bites our thumb at our opportunities. So guys, try not to make the same mistake as me, don’t get ‘stuck’, especially not for the sake of a good party or two. Happy travels!

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6 thoughts on “Thoughts from the Road: Getting Stuck in Places While You Travel

  1. Ruth

    I too have gotten “stuck” in some cities, but also unexpectedly ended up in others while traveling. As someone who compulsively makes lists and loves to plan, I had a hard time coping with last minute changes to the itinerary the first time I went abroad. Now I’ve learned to go with the flow. I just returned from a trip to Austria and Italy and could not have enjoyed myself any more than I did. I agree with you in that there were some days I chose to either go home early or sleep in late and didn’t get in the exploring I should have, but overall I’ve gotten much better about jumping in with both feet and exploring new places. Thanks for reminding us all that “getting stuck” is an opportunity, and one we should use to the fullest.

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