You’ve got a bucket a mile long, but a time frame that gives you an inch. How can you ever balance this or satisfy your yearning to see and do it all?
You’ve spent all that time dreaming, planning and saving you want to cram it all in case you never get the chance again.
Letting the fear of missing out guide you is an exhausting way to travel. It just becomes a frantic rush that leads to emptiness and disappointment and you walk away with little memories.
I used to be this kind of traveller when I first started 22 years ago. I wanted to go down every alleyway, swim at every beach, and take every hiking trail. As I started collecting stories and unexpected moments, I slowly began to release my fear of missing out.
I learned that my travels, and life, is never about checking things off our list, it’s about the process and what happens along the way.
The journey is about experiencing joy – it’s not something we find down the end of a certain road, but here in the present. The journey is also about being guided to experiences and moments that help shape you into the person you were meant to become in order to leave your mark.
When you understand this, you stop pushing, you stop fretting, you stop fearing and feeling disappointment.
We’ve been so conditioned to control and achieve goals that we’ve forgotten to enjoy the process, the miraculous interventions and surprises, the beauty of uncertainty and the purity of life allowed to flow.
So do we just aimlessly float in the boat and hope we end up somewhere?
No. We’re co-creators; It’s up to us to steer the boat.
We listen to the callings, we set our intentions, we move in that direction, but when life intervenes to bump us somewhere else, we go with the bump.
We don’t have the ability to see from above the greater plan and how we are being moved to the perfect place. We have to trust that some other power is working with us to take care of all of that stuff.
The more in tune with this you are the more angst, fear, disappointment, and desperate hope will vanish.
As we’ve been planning for this USA road trip I’ve been presented with plenty of opportunities to practice infinite patience. My intended dates of departure have not eventuated and I’ve feared missing out on … what I’m not sure, but something.
I started by meeting it with frustration and feeling overwhelmed with the pressure of making it work, but then after chatting about it with Belinda, who also has a desire to live somewhere else, I learned that acceptance and allowing is key. Whatever happens and wherever I go, I’ll be okay and can make the most of it.
I believe in miraculous living. I believe in a higher power supporting us to achieve our dreams. I believe it takes a little bit of time to synchronize all these moving parts, so my job is to keep intending and acting, but to also relax and trust.
Tips to overcome the fear of missing out
Feel the disappointment and then let it go
I was devastated on our Australian road trip when we couldn’t do Gibb River Road and we were too exhausted to do South Australia. I’ve been trying to get back there every since but haven’t been able to make it work. I’m still holding out hope.
I was frustrated and annoyed when our Outback Queensland trip ended earlier than we planned. That one took me some time to get over. Don’t ignore how you feel when these disappointments arise. Sit in the pain of them. It won’t last long if you do this, and then you can get to the clarity and peace.
When I look back at what we missed out on now I see they’ve not really had any major impacts upon my life. Life has moved on. I still feel in control. I still feel like I’m having joyful experiences. I still fell like I’m flowing in the right direction. I know everything has worked out perfectly (the next tip has helped me see that).
There’s no point wasting the present moment lamenting on things out of your control that didn’t happen. Forget the regret over it – there’s plenty more on the horizon for you. Let it go and enjoy what comes next.
Look back and connect the dots
When have you missed out on something before? Reflect back on that. Now you have a little hindsight, was it a big deal? How did you let it go?
What happened as a result of you missing out? I don’t mean necessarily the tears and the lost chance at creating memories, but what new path were you steered on because you missed that thing?
Looking back and connecting the dots is sooooo powerful. It helps you see the greater miracles at work so you can just let go and enjoy each present moment in its perfection.
What’s underneath the fear of missing out?
Why are you worried about missing out on something? When we get to the shadows driving our behaviours we can release and heal.
I grew up with strict parents, which meant I missed a lot of “fun” growing up. As fun is a big value of mine, this fear of missing out deepened, as well as a fear of not being noticed.
Once I hit 18, I was determined to experience everything without any brakes on. It meant I sometimes led myself down a path of destruction being the first to arrive and last to leave a party. I can still have those tendencies (possibly not because of FOMO anymore but for a quest for fun).
When you dig deep and ask yourself the right questions, you understand what’s really going on.
Maybe that fear of missing out is actually a desire to live deeply and experience the richness of each moment. That can easily be done with every breath and step forward. It’s not a fear of missing out, it’s a fear of not living fully.
One causes angst, regret and lack, the other causes drive, vitality and joy.
It reminds me of this song, which I love – I lived by One Republic
“I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places and things that I did. With every broken bone I swear I lived”
(by the way if you do one thing today, watch the film clip above. I LOVE that song even more now in watching that. So inspiring.)
Enjoy the unexpected turns to better stories
Usually, my best memories and stories have come from the unexpected turns and surprises. The places I dreamed about and had on my bucket list I guess expected to be great, so there was little room to be blown away.
When in Kakadu, we attempted to visit Maguk Gorge, which was told to us by any people as being one of the most beautiful waterholes in Kakadu. After visiting Gunlom Falls I was expecting something freaking amazing because that was something out of this world – and a totally unexpected surprise. (and an eventual photography award winner)
We did not have a high clearance 4WD but heard the road into Maguk should be okay for our AWD to make it. There was just this one 100m sandy patch to be careful of.
We got bogged only 10m into the patch.
We were unsuccessfully digging our way out when two Indigenous men came bush bashing towards us in a beat up 2WD Datsun. We couldn’t believe it. There was a track right beside the sandy patch we could have taken but didn’t see.
They popped out to help us. Craig told them what happened and ducked his head back under the car to dig more sand away. They patted him on the back and said, “you alright then brother?” which he misunderstood and said “Yeah” So they drove away leaving us stranded on the track. I found it hilarious when Craig popped his head back out and discovered them gone.
“But you told them you were alright so they left!!” He did not find my guffawing quite so funny.
Back to the digging we went. Soon a 4WD came towards us along the sandy track. Two French girls jumped out and got straight to work grabbing giant branches from the bush to help us dig out the sand, lay a makeshift log road and push the car out. We eventually did it to big cheers and giant hugs.
It was getting late and we were not going to risk completing the trip to the falls so we reversed and went back to the campsite.
We arrived completely dishevelled and looking like Yahoo Serious in an experiment gone wrong. Our friends Nick and Em handed us a beer with peals of laughter. “Sit down and tell us what happened to you!”
We missed that amazing gorge, but we were given a story we love telling way better.
Have an abundance mentality
If you’re trapped in upset over travel plans not working out the way you hoped, you’re living from a place of lack. You believe you’ve lost your chance and there is nothing on the horizon for you.
The world offers so much. If we miss one amazing travel experience, there are a hundred more lining up. You can’t miss out. You can’t lose. What you want to experience you’ll get in some form or another.
We think that every trip we go on is once in a lifetime so we have to do it all, but in reality, every moment is once in a lifetime. You’ll keep getting them until you expire so treat each moment as sacred and enjoy it.
Create the feeling
What are you looking to feel because of the experience? Essentially, we’re all travelling to experience a certain feeling. We don’t have to visit remote areas or new countries to get that feeling. We can do it in our own backyards, which is what I suggest people do when they ask me how they can travel more when they don’t have the money or opportunities.
When I was broke and could barely make a $20 train fare to Sydney, I started exploring our local area. I decided I could tap into that travel feeling in my own hometown. Sure I was missing out on my dreams of the Maldives, Eurovan tours, and Machu Picchu treks, but I still felt like I was traveling.
This tapped into a miraculous world of flow.
We’re not going to die feeling intense gratitude because we saw the Grand Canyon. We’re going to die knowing you experienced grandeur, adventure, awe, wonder, and freedom. You can get that with a baby’s smile or a day playing at the beach.
It’s the memories and moments that enrich your life. Yes, you may want to create those memories and moments camping along the Gibb River Road, but if you can’t make it work, go create them down another road that’s more accessible for you in this place and time.
Live a life where you’re creating what you want to feel, not what you want to see or have happen.
Do you see what happens when you look at life this way? It becomes this place of magic and awe that you’re a part of. It’s not happening to you, it‘s happening with and for you. Fear of missing out no longer exists because you’re living full out instead.
Do you suffer from a fear of missing out? What do you do when your travel plans don’t work out? What unexpected surprises and stories have happened for you because of it?
(This post was inspired by an email subscriber writing to ask my advice for her Fear of Missing Out. She’s living her dream travelling Australia and is missing out on some of her key adventures. I understand that all too well!! Thank you so much to her for inspiring my words. I hope it helps. Please share this post if you know someone who could benefit from it. Our VIP email tribe is THE Best! Jump aboard with us here!