A Case of the Doubts

The doubts!

It came out of nowhere and bit me like a 24 hour stomach bug. Last night I had a raging case of the DOUBTS. Nothing serious. I’m okay. It all passed beautifully.

But we all go through it.

Everything was fine when I got home from work. I went to the gym (we’re starting endurance training for the backpacking trip), made dinner, did my 365 days photography project, and started getting ready for bed. It was then that I realized that I wasn’t falling asleep, but rather staring at the ceiling fan with an overall sense of dread. It crept up from the bottom of my stomach to my heart.

What are we DOING?!

It finally popped up. I was ready to go, leave my job, quit everything, say goodbye to my family and head to South America care free and completely in it. Why did I start questioning things now? We’re not even leaving for another 7 months or so.

I have to say that one of the things that I have been working on as an adult to develop myself is doing things that are completely out of my comfort zone. If I want to grow and learn, I am really going to have to push myself both mentally an physically. Here are a few things I will be working on during our sabbatical:

1.) Leaving Everything Behind

  • When traveling abroad for a few weeks, it is always nice to have your home to come home to. You return to over-excited pets and dead plants that your roommate forgot to water. Its that snuggling feeling of your clean sheets that makes you really realize you missed your home. I have been so accustomed to having this luxury that it hurts my heart that everything will have changed when we get back.

Lesson to Learn: Things change and I need to really loosen up and go with the flow of life’s changes.

2.) Spontaneity

  • I would love to say I am spontaneous, but I’m not. I need every moment of my life planned out, goals, dreams, schedules etc. I don’t know how people can make plans at the last moment. This is definitely something I need to work on.

Lesson to Learn: Stop being so controlling of your life and do something new, exciting, and unplanned.

3.) Being Lost

  • This is one of my worst fears. If I have mini freak-outs for being lost in my own city, I can imagine that backpacking will be interesting. I tried to work on this in Toledo, Spain (most people tell you to just wander around), but it’s a relatively small place and you can always find your way out.

Lesson to Learn: You can have amazing experiences by getting “lost”. You’ll find your way back eventually.

4.) Being Shy

  • Some people don’t believe me, but hubby and I are very shy people. We are gamers that generally keep to ourselves. Our weekends are usually spent together either at home, or going out… together. One of the things that I regret the most is not making new friends while we were in London. I’m sure we had a million chances, but our anxiety was keeping us back. This is the one I’m trying to take hold of the most. Not only have we been getting involved with the local Couchsurfing Community (and introducing ourselves to complete strangers), but I also became a referee for the Texas Rollerderby Girls. I have to stand in an arena and call penalties in front of hundreds of people.

Lesson to Learn: You will miss out on awesome opportunities if you keep to yourself.

While it was a fleeting fear and I ended up falling asleep an hour later or so, I realized that even though I felt queasy about making such a change in my life, I am ready to take the challenge head on. I really feel as though Shaun and I need this experience and will do it come Hell or high water.

Have you ever had a case of the doubts? What did you do to conquer it?

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20 Responses to “A Case of the Doubts”

  1. Poi May 19, 2010 at 7:46 pm #

    Firstly your website seems to change slightly everytime I come on it – I like it. Secondly, I do not believe for a second that you two are shy.

    I am excited for getting lost, I can’t wait in fact. Being lost but not worrying about getting back in time for something will be so much fun and bound to come across some great things! Glad to know you doubts didn’t last long!

    • Erica May 19, 2010 at 11:03 pm #

      @Poi: Thank you! I’m sure many more incarnations of my website will come. Seeing as this is a learning experience, I’ve been tinkering around with what I like. My good friend @spicydonut put together the logo and I am eternally grateful. And yes! We are VERY shy! We have a hard time approaching people. I’m still a bit timid about getting lost. So scary! Shaun is like, “Meh big deal.”

      @Keith: I’m just glad I’m not alone in the doubts/lizard brain. Its scary. I’m already a worry wart and it does no good for me to worry lol. As for games – think Warcraft. It keeps us home and is relatively cheap. 🙂 We used to competitively raid but working 50 hour weeks at our video game job and then coming home to play for 20-25 hours a week on top of that kinda burned me out on the whole idea. I’m a nerd and I will not hide it!

  2. Keith May 19, 2010 at 10:34 pm #

    Excellent insights. I get a recurring case of the doubts every so often. It’s the good old lizard brain demanding attention. I like how you’ve translated each doubt/fear into an actionable goal. That should really help. Gamers, you say? What kind of games? I’ve been called a game nerd too often to count. 🙂

  3. Elena May 20, 2010 at 2:54 pm #

    Thx for stopping by my blog earlier…:)
    That said, I also need to work on #2 – Spontaneity. That by far is my worst trait I think (it’s highly genetic), at least when it comes to traveling. I plan and research so much that I’ve often found myself in new cities with a fully visually memorized street plan, transportation timetables, the works. So obviously, I haven’t had the chance to get lost yet:) I hope it will happen one day!!!:))

    • Erica May 20, 2010 at 5:01 pm #

      See, you travel like I do. I plan it all to hell. My husband always looks at me like a deer in the headlights with my organization.

  4. Adam May 20, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

    I think you may have been in my head a few years ago before we left for our trip. Since we’ve gone and been home now for 7 months, it’s interesting to look back at things I was worried about or hoped to get out of our trip.

    First, things won’t change at home. That was one of the most interesting parts of coming home. While spending a year traveling with my wife, we both changed immensely and forever. But upon being home for only the first few days, we realized that nothing here really changed. Sure, maybe there were a few more babies and new jobs, but by and large everyone was doing the exact same things and behaving in the exact same manner. It was, and still is, 7 months later, weird. I changed a ton, but no one else did. It has honestly been a bit difficult. I don’t feel the same connection within certain circles of friends.

    I am also a very organized person who likes having things planned. It was so, so, so freeing not to live like that anymore. I planned to not plan on our trip (if that makes sense), and it was a liberating feeling that I feel has been the biggest change in my personality that came from the trip–and I LOVE it.

    You won’t be able to help but get lost sometimes, and since you have nowhere else to be, it doesn’t really matter if it takes you hours to get back to your hostel. Who cares, it’s not like you will have to work the next day!! Which is another awesome and liberating feeling.

    Lastly, we’re rather shy as well, and the biggest thing I can tell you is take it slowly. If you’re not an outgoing person when first meeting someone, that’s fine. Just put yourselves in positions to start meeting people. Cook in at the hostel your first few nights there; that’s the best way to chat and meet people. It’s always crowded and cramped and everyone needs to be nice and friendly and helpful in order for it all to work. And everyone typically is, and it becomes impossible not to meet new people and have conversations with them, which turns into sharing food, which turns into having beers after dinner, which turns into drunken fun that night, which turns into friendship. It really is that easy.

    Don’t worry, and just realize that this trip will be unbelievable and you’ll have the times of your lives. I would kill to be back in your worried shoes right now since it’s over.

    • Erica May 20, 2010 at 7:59 pm #

      lol – Now I can understand why I was “in your head”.

      In regards to people not changing, unfortunately we’ve already experienced this a little bit without even leaving the country. None of our friends travel, nor care to, and even though we’re like family, we’re growing further and further apart – and its weird. I can imagine that things will drastically change when we leave for so long (with the friends).

      Thank you for making me feel a little better about confronting my OCDness with planning. I’m doing my best to kinda let life drive when we’re there but it already freaks me out lol. And thanks a million for the cooking at the hostel idea. I love it. We will definitely start there.

      Thanks again for sharing your amazing thoughts here. I appreciate it. 😀 The greatest thing about this blog is that I have an army of cheerleaders!

  5. Elena May 20, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    LOL, i know that look really well. BF freaks out every single time:) Few months back we went to Barcelona. I went so far that I had done the whole Google streetview for a bus route we were taking to get to the suburbs. At some point halfway through the ride, I turn to him and tell him “we’ll now turn let in about 100 meters and there’ll be a flowershop on the right”. I can still see the horror in his eyes…

    • Erica May 20, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

      @Elena: LOLLOLOLOLLOOOOLOsjkhfjsdjhfsdkj That is amazing! Hubby still can’t figure out how I got us to our hostel in Osaka when neither of us speak Japanese.

  6. Abby May 23, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    Haha don’t worry! Everyone has doubts, definitely a post to relate to! I’m so shy, too, and it hasn’t stopped me. I’m great at meeting up with people from online, but I will never, ever be the person who just sits in town by myself meeting people. I know some of those, and their trip is so different than mine. That’s just life! You’re going to have so much fun!!

    • Erica May 23, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

      A friend of mine at work is the type of person that can go up to anyone and start up a conversation. That is terrifying to me! At least with meeting online friends – you kinda “know” each other before hand lol. <3

  7. Nancie (Ladyexpat) May 24, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    I don’t think you’d be human, if you didn’t have these fears. Remember : “Feel the fear and do it anyway/” 🙂

    • Erica May 24, 2010 at 11:43 am #

      That is fantastic advice. 🙂 I’m trying to do just that, but oh man, it takes alot of courage.

  8. Ryan & Liz May 28, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    Erica, what I’ve come to realize is that we ALL have these doubts from time to time. I was just explaining this to a friend last night. It’s an odd thing… my dream has been to travel the world at some point in my life and now I’m doing it! Yet, there’s days that I’ve woken up and thought to myself, “Wait, what are you thinking!?”

    In 8 days, we’ll be setting off to our first destination: Cairo, Egypt! I’ve come to the point now that I try to remind myself that everything will be the same when I get back. Absolutely NOTHING will change while you’re gone. To all of us lucky “travel bloggers”… We all just found ourselves a new job: It’s to live out our dreams and get out and explore all that this world has to offer.

    • Erica May 28, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

      Ryan & Liz: Thank you for your validation of my thoughts! Knowing that this is on so many people’s minds definitely makes me feel more at ease but I’m sure once you make the jump it will be easier to handle once you are there. I am so stoked for you with Egypt. We were supposed to go last year but another trip had more opportunities and we took it.

  9. Carrie June 6, 2010 at 6:50 am #

    Buy a GPS! I’m scared of getting lost too, mine has helped more than I can say.

    • Erica June 6, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

      We’re thinking about it, however its not really in the budget at the moment. :X Those things are expensive.

  10. jasminejean July 4, 2011 at 3:00 am #

    all the Time. i would have moments where i would just Suddenly…out of Nowhere…doubt myself. “who am i to think i can live in mexico?” “I’m never going to understand people enough to have a deep conversation” “will i ever make friends here and fit in??”….oh the thoughts like these came a rushin’ through my brain. Then, as quickly as they came…they would leave. after a year of living in mexico, i began having them less….but they Still happened a lot. For me, it’s always at a moment when I feel vulnerable and/or tired. And, i found that the more spanish i could speak and understand, the less frequent the episodes. but on the road doubts…living as an expat doubts…Oh ya. that crap’s rough. 🙂 but, you are doing much better now it seems! Oh, also…listen to yourself and your intuition….when other people try to help you too much, you can really get lost….(hmm…mm…clearing of throat….people like ME, who love to share advice…politely accept and find your own way! haha….). my best on the road moments were the ones that just happened…when i’d GET lost!! hahahha…or when i would allow myself vulnerability. those times, i was more Open to experience. so….stumble around a bit..and you’ll be great! 🙂 the coolest people i’ve ever met have been the ones that i would have completely looked over if i had been in super uber confident traveler mode! haha. muchos abrazos hermana! tu puedes!!!:)

    • jasminejean July 4, 2011 at 3:01 am #

      Also….planning is great….just throw it out the window when something cool comes along!!! planning makes you feel secure. Do it if you need to! and don’t feel guilty about it.

    • Erica July 4, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

      @Jasmine: Oh lord Jasmine I can tell you liked this post! 🙂 We are currently doing much better now but I still have the occasional, “WTF are we doing?” thoughts when I really miss my family and friends at home. I think if we lived in one spot and were able to connect with community it would be a bit easier.

      As for your wonderful advice, I really do appreciate it. I wouldn’t ask for it if I didn’t want it! I really appreciate all the care and guidance you have given us. Our experiences have been so amazing and they wouldn’t have been nearly as so without you and Mario.

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