Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

These past few weeks I’ve had to wrestle with some tough decisions about where I should head to next. Normally, I don’t really hesitate to accept my next travel assignments. These last two potential trips, however, were tough ones to consider and I’m still wondering if I made the right decision.

The first one: Peru. I’ve always wanted to go to Peru. In fact, Machu Picchu is near the top of my list of sites I want to see before I leave this Earth (this topic will also most likely reappear in a future post, I’m sure). And the food: On my rare weekdays off (as my boyfriend can drudgingly attest to), I beg for us to eat at our favorite Peruvian restaurants (I have a total of three faves) just for their lunch specials. Lomo saltado is practically a staple of my diet. (Photo © NationalGeographic.com)

So, when I was invited to go on an all-expenses-paid trip to Lima, Peru, I didn’t hesitate to say yes, well, in my head. Unfortunately, though, due to reasons I won’t really get into, I’m not going. Oh well. Some day.

The second trip: Thailand. Thailand, like Peru, is another one of those destinations that I’ve always longed to travel to. Nearly every travel writer I’ve met who’s been to Thailand before has sung its praises as a destination that can’t be missed. Oh, how I would love to hang out with elephants in Chiang Mai. Unfortunately, though, with the political violence that has been taking place in Thailand—especially in the capital city of Bangkok—I wasn’t so sure whether it would be safe—or prudent—for me to go. (Photo © Tourism Authority of Thailand)

I only had a single night to ponder my decision, so I asked those closest to me for their advice. While my family members didn’t explicitly say no, they didn’t exactly give the trip a resounding endorsement. Other travel industry professionals told me it’d be fine, and that things were totally back to normal. Still, I wasn’t quite sure what to decide.

Here, I thought, was a unique opportunity to actually see what Thailand is like, especially in the wake of what’s happened these past few months. If I went, I could really report on how the government’s current state of emergency is affecting tourism and overall daily life in the city—you know, the kind of stuff that a hard-hitting, in-the-know travel journalist ought to write about instead of fluffy spa day visits or overly opulent luxury hotel reviews (not that I'd turn those down anytime, however).

After much mulling, though, and after talking it over with my editor-in-chief, we decided it was probably best for me not to go, at least for now. A future trip to Thailand might still be a possibility but just not right now.

I think that, if I’ve learned anything from this, it’s that with travel, as with most things, a lot of variables are simply out of your control. And, sometimes, you really have to think more about how your choices will affect the people who matter most to you than looking out for just yourself.

So, instead of packing my bags up and heading off this summer, I’ll most likely be staying at home this year. I’m a little bummed but I'm staying optimistic. Besides, the weather’s been pretty nice lately and well, I can’t wait for summer to officially arrive. So, until then, I’m content to stay.

1 comment:

  1. Ironic that I'm reading this right now. I was browsing through photos from other countries and one of the most recent ones? Machu Picchu. It's a shame you can't go, though...Well, one more thing to look forward to.

    As for Thailand, I know there's a blog around somewhere that I read from someone who went there recently...found it! It took a while to hunt down in my history.

    Here, she was in Thailand this past month: http://therealtravelblog.com/2010/05/03/bangkok-dangerous.aspx