travel musings

Making Decisions On What Travel Is Right For You

I’m going through a dilemma right now. It sounds ridiculous, and for me it feels like the biggest first world problem I’ve ever had, but I’m getting stressed out and cannot for the life of me decide what to do – or where to go – next.

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
A classic: Lake Louise!

I never had my heart set on living in Canada, but that’s the general plan for a few months. I have my work visa. Ash does not. Every process of his application has thrown a curveball our way, and with every curveball I question whether it’s a sign that we shouldn’t go.

And then I shake it off and think of all the wonderful things about Canada and my heart soars and I get excited all over again about the prospect of going back.

Part of it, I fear, is the feeling of comfort and familiarity I have at the moment. I remember arriving home after our 18-month trip and being terrified of the idea of settling down. I was still wide-eyed from everything we’d seen, and I told myself there and then, that if I ever get to the point of feeling too settled to want to up and leave on a big adventure, that’s when I know I’ve gone wrong somewhere.

david surveying his kingdom, orkney, scotland
My best friend surveying his kingdom while I realise Orkney isn’t too bad, really

Yet here I am, questioning whether to use my visa which wasn’t even that easy to get. (Though easier than Ash is finding it) So what do I do? Ash is adamant that I book my flight soon, and I know deep down that I will regret it if I don’t, just as much as he will feel awful that I don’t go because of him. After all, this is literally last-chance saloon. Even if Canada allowed you to apply for another visa the next year, it would be too late for me. As it happens, they don’t – so if I don’t go, I’ll never get the chance again.

I make it sound all dramatic, because of course I’ll be able to visit on a tourist visa, but to get the chance to live in Vancouver, one of my favourite cities? Or perhaps work in the middle of the Rocky mountains? Damn, that’s why I applied in the first place, and even the thought of it makes me giddy.

Waterfowls Lake, Alberta, Canada
Lake Waterfowls, Banff National Park

But what if I’m doing it for the wrong reasons? “I’ll never get the chance again”? Is that a reason to travel? Is it a reason to pack up all our things once more and live out of a suitcase for a few months? A few months ago, I would have been reading this incredulously and going, “uh, DUH, girl! Just do it!!” – so what’s changed?

Maybe it’s because I keep pining for different places. I keep seeing deals to Europe, and find myself wishing that I could go and explore new countries like Croatia or Slovenia or Latvia or Norway, but I can’t because I’m going to Canada. But it’s not all about visiting somewhere new; I keep dreaming of returning to Australia to see the bits that we missed, or Asia because well, we loved it so much. Or even small trips around the UK, or even Ireland, which isn’t even on the list of countries I’ve visited despite being the closest.

And it’s not that I’m scared of change either. If we don’t go to Canada, we’ll be moving to Edinburgh, and despite everything I said about settling down, I’m actually really excited to start a new life there. That comfort and familiarity feeling I said I have now? Everything will change regardless of whether I go to Canada. We’re not in a good situation at the moment (I’m not going to get into that), so frankly we’ll be leaving nothing behind except the friends who we’ve managed to keep despite living on the other side of the UK for almost a decade. I have nothing to fear when it comes to that, but there’s still a niggling feeling that whatever I decide to do will be wrong.

So what is it? Am I finally growing up and want to settle down? Am I fatigued by the idea of long-term travel? Will I get on the plane and not feel the spark I always get when I travel, or will that be a turning point and my heart will fire up and everything will suddenly feel just right?

Cycling around Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver: could I be living here in a few months?

I think it would be a stupid decision to never find out. My life’s motto is you regret the things you don’t do more than you regret the things you do. And because this isn’t a life-long dream, it makes it easier to back down if it all goes wrong, and to come home with no regrets. Australia was different – it was the “middle” of our trip and we had tons of travel planned afterwards. Everything weighed on how much we saved in Australia.

But Canada? I mean, I’m thinking it would be a good idea to do some serious road trippin’ while we’re out that way. But if we don’t, it’s not the end of the world. It’s half the price to go back there as it is to go back to Australia, and a third of the time. There’s less pressure to “do it all” (not that we did even half of Australia!) or rather “do it right”.

So I think it’s all down to the uncertainty. The fact Ash doesn’t have his visa yet, and perhaps won’t even get it. What if I fly all the way out there and it turns out our goodbye was for months because he can’t come? What if this was all for nothing, and I come home because I can’t find a job anyway and I’m miserable doing it solo?

But then I think so what? No matter what happens, it’ll be another adventure; another time in my life that I can look back on and say “that was crazy”. Because that’s what I want my life to be – a series of crazy moments where half the time I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, just to prove that I could. Sometimes I feel like I “wasted” half of my 20’s by owning a business, but then I look back and think, actually, what an incredible achievement.

Sometimes uncertainty shouldn’t hold you back because it helps you find your feet and push yourself to do something you never dreamed of doing. After all, what I did in Australia was a world away from what I imagined myself doing, and I had a fantastic time! Why wouldn’t Canada be the same?

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with admitting when something isn’t right for you, but at the same time, I’m not going to give up that easily on this literal once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or I’ll definitely regret it. Even if I come back with my tail between my legs, I think I should try. I feel like I owe myself that much.

19 thoughts on “Making Decisions On What Travel Is Right For You

  1. I think the biggest rewards come from making a leap of faith in knowing things will work out the way it’s meant to. You have your visa, so go and everything will fall into place after that.

    When I’m unsure of where to go next, I literally look at a map. Close my eyes and place my finger somewhere on it. Then I just go. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha, I love that idea! Yeah, I think my biggest hurdle at the moment is knowing whether Ash will be joining me. If he doesn’t, will I feel guilty being out there without him? Do I want to be without him for four months?! It’s definitely a leap of faith. Thanks for your encouraging comment. ❤ 🙂


        1. That is very true, and he has been saying the same thing! It’s not like I’m planning to go for a year. It’ll be ~six months, and he’ll come out for a month or two to travel with me if he doesn’t come out on a work visa. I’m definitely feeling more positive about it, thank you! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I know you were probably just using this post for a bit of a ponder and not really asking for advice, but here’s some anyway.


    You’ve got the visa which is all the ‘sign’ you need. I’m a great believer in things always working out one way or the other even if it’s in a way you never expected. Maybe Ash will get his visa, maybe he won’t. Maybe he’ll meet you out there on a tourist visa and you can at least travel together. Maybe you both have visas and get jobs but they turn out to be jobs with hours or locations that mean you hardly see each other anyway. Maybe he’ll work in the UK, you’ll work in Canada and between you, you earn enough to go on an amazing trip that you never thought you’d be able to afford. Maybe you’ll hate it, give a go, realise it’s a definite no and come back early. At least you’ll always know you tried it and won’t have ‘what if’s’ plague you for the rest of your life.

    So get your flights booked – see if you can book a refundable or changeable one for Ash, get packed and just go.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Anne!! 🙂 This is exactly what I needed to hear. And I totally think the “what if” scenarios are going to be what push me to book my flight. The back up plan is definitely for Ash to come out in a few months time to travel, so all is not lost regardless! 🙂 Thanks for laying it all out for me.

      P.S. I’ve just posted on my FB somewhere that I think you’d love in Orkney if you haven’t discovered it before!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It is a tough dilemma. I am in a somewhat similar situation, struggling with decision making – stay in Europe and get a visa for Germany for 12 months (and continue improving my language skills) or head to Asia for an indefinite period of time. These decisions are hard. Whichever way we choose (for both of us) there are opportunities for adventure but it is completely unknown to us what these adventures will actually entail. Echoing what ‘A Girl With An Adventurous Fork’ said above, sometimes you need to take a leap of faith and hope for the best.
    Mikki 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhhh tough decision. Could you do both, though? Stay in Europe and then go to Asia? Sometimes I feel like the clock is ticking because we want to settle down and there are a ton of trips I want to take lol. I am sure no matter what we choose, we’ll have a good time, right?! 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment, I really appreciate all of this!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel like it might be a good idea to stay and get some income but if I stay I will be staying for a while and wont go to Asia until next year and I really want to go :'(. I feel the same about the clock ticking but only because I am 25 (turning 26 in April) and some visas I want I can’t have after I turn 30. But you are right, either choice could be a good time! Good luck with the decision making, I am keen to find out what you end up doing! xx


  4. Having so many opportunities is fantastic but it can also be very overwhelming! I can totally relate to that! I too get caught up in my thoughts of where to go next, what to do, when to do it…. so i understand where you are coming from. I keep reminding myself to be grateful that i do have choices and i do have the freedom to explore. Good luck with whatever you decide to do but it sounds like you already have your heart set on Canada….?! With your positive attitude you will turn any situation into a fun adventure. Best of luck with the next chapter….!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Go, go, GO!!! It’s like Girl with an Adventurous Fork says, what’s four months out of the rest of your lives together? If you get to Canada and find you’re miserable as sin, you can always come home, whether Ash joins you or not. Alison (10,000 Miles & More)

    Liked by 2 people

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