FOMO. Have you heard of it? Yes, I am using a hipster acronym to start off this blog post, and for those of my readers who are still hooked on the “vintage” language, FOMO stands for: Fear of Missing Out. I think we have all suffered from FOMO at one point or another, and as a traveler I feel that FOMO is intensified, tenfold. I’m always worried about missing out on adventures, and I’ll admit that I fall into my own trap of thinking, “How often am I in (insert some random amazing country)”, and “When will I ever be able to go (skydiving-parasailing-flying-or-any-other awesome-adrenaline-filled-activity) again?” I think fellow travelers would agree that we are “Yes” people — we want to see, do, explore, learn, and grow — and we fear missing out on an unforgettable adventure along the way. (Can I get an AMEN? Seriously, someone pllllllease tell me I’m not alone in this).
By this point we all know how excited I was to explore the remote island of Koh Tao, so you can imagine my surprise when I found myself feeling slightly “underwhelmed” after we arrived. I confessed to Cody that maybe Koh Tao wasn’t everything it was cracked up to be, and after the second day I began to wonder if we were spending too much time on this tiny island. During our stay, I met many ex-pats who planned on visiting for a week or two, and five months later they’re still there — and still loving it — and I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing something. FOMO smacked me right in the face. I looked at the beauty all around me: the palm-tree lined beaches, the dramatic vistas from which we watched the sunsets, the ocean, the people, the island life, so many people raved about this tiny island, but to be honest, I wasn’t loving it as much as those around me. FOMO.
Could it have been my high expectations?–Most definitely! And to be honest, I think this was a huge component. I was so looking forward to our stay that I overanalyzed and set the bar too high and in the end I only disappointed myself. (Lesson Learned!) Could it have been our resort location?–This was another huge aspect. Through no fault of the resort, I think if we would have stayed closer to town we could have experienced more of the night-life on Koh Tao and felt closer to the action during the day as well. While the diving near Koh Tao still ranks as one of my favorite locations in the World, we really enjoyed the luxurious-yet-laid-back island vibe on Koh Samui; which was why after five days on Koh Tao we made the decision to head back to our favorite resort on Koh Samui. This was actually the first time that we have changed our itinerary mid-trip, and it was much easier than I expected, and at the end of the day, I couldn’t have been happier.
FOMO. It’s real, but it doesn’t have to be crippling. While one traveler might feel like they are missing out on an incredible location, another traveler may be entirely content passing by with no intention to stop. And at the end of the day, not every location we travel to will be our favorite-of-all-favorites, and that’s okay! We loved that Thailand was so different from anywhere else we have ever been, and I look forward to exploring more of the tiny islands along the Andaman Sea on our next visit.
Have you ever experienced FOMO as a traveler?