Confession: I really enjoy researching wherever I’m headed to next to reap the ultimate in what my destination has to offer. I’m not a full time traveller (yet! #thedream) so I usually want to make the most of my short time there to have THE MOST EPIC TRIP EVER. But sometimes I wonder what all that EPIC FUN is for when my mood or energy level is a little far from EPIC. My inner twentysomething keeps reminding me of the EPIC SUNRISE HIKE that everyone who considers themselves a traveller has done, while my outer thirtysomething eye-rolls at her and gets back to the acai-bowl-breakfast-picnic by the harbour. It’s happened often in my travels past where I voluntarily avoided the top 10 things to do wherever I am, but that was usually out of sheer exhaustion from chasing my “fear of missing out.” Now that I’m older (and wiser? the jury is still out!), I realized that the “joy of missing out” is what opens up the doors to exploration, i.e. the heart of travel. I went full JOMO in Maui, and you know what? It’s totally the new FOMO!
Here’s a bit of context: it’s January 2016. I’m fresh off two months of pulling overtime on a politically charged project that never quite lets up on the drama and deadlines. The 10 days I spent with family over Christmas just wasn’t enough, but I knew I had a work trip to Hawaii planned just a few days into January with 3 days to myself. So I spent some time researching, getting inspired, and planning my Hawaiian weekend. I had two things on my absolute to-do list: the Haleakala Sunrise Tour for a bit of inspirational landscape action and the Old Lahaina Luau for a taste of Hawaiian culture. I couldn’t wait to cross these two off my list and have my EPIC MAUI WEEKEND after a long stretch of crazy work times. I packed my bags, boarded my first of two planes, and the smile just came naturally.
…Until I landed in Maui and realized I had not one piece of warm clothing, something that is required for the tour on the chilly Haleakala peak. You might be thinking, well that’s what shopping is for, right?! I would normally agree with you, but there was something I hadn’t quite taken into account: the Canadian to US exchange rate. Oh Canada, why must it be so bad?! WHY!!! My enthusiasm was starting to deflate at the prospect of my potentially disintegrating bank account. I had a decision to make: I had to pick the tour (and promptly go shopping) or the luau. Faced with such a decision, I went with option C: neither.
Even as I type this, that inner twentysomething is crying out in shame, but she can shut up because it was WORTH IT! I basically decided to cut out the noise and be true to my state of mind. I desperately needed some time off, and the moment I got it with zero distractions (no friends, no family, no boyfriend, no coworkers, no obligations), I was packing it to the brim with things that would excite but exhaust my already exhausted self. I would have taken the time to myself if I was back home, so why would Maui be any different? What I came to realize is that this pace of travel would free me up to discover what the island had to offer on my own terms. I decided to ask myself, if I was living on Maui, what would I do?
I ended up going on an impromptu snorkelling trip to Molokini where I observed parrotfish and a lazy monk seal, and was treated to whale after whale breaching the water around our boat (so many that even the crew had to stop to take it all in). I discovered how good the food scene is in Lahaina. I slowed down enough to actually read a book I had been waiting for a smidgen of time to read it (and willingness, if I’m being honest). I went to a luxurious Ka’anapali, lazed on the beach and watched the other beachgoers negotiate the pounding waves to the backdrop of Lana’i and Moloka’i. The 3 days I spent not worrying about the most EPIC EXPERIENCES ON MAUI were filled with things I would have done back home on a much-needed chill weekend.
And you know what? I had a lot more fun than I expected! It was essentially a weekend that was defined by a saying that I first discovered through Eat, Pray, Love: dolce far niente. The sweetness of doing nothing. It’s an art I’m willing to practice more often. Especially in the heyday of “being busy,” this type of weekend was not only exactly what the doctor ordered, it was almost a source of pride. Essentially, getting rid of the noise that FOMO can cause paved the way for experiences that were in tune with my mood, which allowed me to connect with Maui in a way I hadn’t expected. I did nothing of note and had a fabulous time doing it!
After this experience, I’ll always take the time to slow down for a second (or two) and enjoy some time away from the constant stimuli of travelling. Sometimes the best way is to indulge in a little JOMO…
What do you think? Would you take a time out while some epic fun is waiting to be had? I’d love to hear what you think of JOMO in the comments!