When I hit the road as a full-time RVer, I anticipated many of the challenges of traveling solo, from loneliness to fear of failure to safety concerns. One thing I didn’t anticipate? Analysis paralysis.
We’re fortunate to live in a first-world country, and have a lot more options on how to live our lives than many people are afforded. But those options still have limits. With a more traditional lifestyle, once we choose where to work, those 40 hours every week are spoken for. That job also limits where we can live, what we can drive, and what we can do in our free time. There are still options in all of these categories, but not endless ones.
But once you start traveling full-time? Where to work, where to travel, what to see in your free time… it’s no longer geographically limited. Suddenly, your options increase exponentially.
Ask anyone if they want more freedom of choice in their life and they’ll say yes. But we’re not well trained on what to do with all these extra choices. This leads to analysis paralysis, which was a real issue for me when I started working remotely and boondocking last year. Having a partner helps because then there are two people’s tastes to take into account which naturally narrows down choices, but being solo? I’d seriously have days where I did nothing because there were just too many options on where to go and what to do and how long to stay that my brain would shut down when trying to sort through them.
Here are some conclusions I’ve come to through trial and error:
- Having a lot of choices means you can choose to have a day in. This is especially important for new full-timers, who often feel a need to constantly be traveling in an effort to see it all. It’s okay, you don’t have rush anymore, this is no longer a vacation but your life.
- I’ll look up two or three things to do in an area before I arrive, but I don’t put a date on them. This gives me something to fall back on when I wake up with that itch to go somewhere and do something but don’t feel like spending three hours carefully weighing ALL the options (yes, that has happened!).
- Usually I’ll learn about other things to do in an area from locals once I’ve arrived. As a benefit of coming up with plans this way, the locals will be well informed about what’s really worth doing and not trying to sell a particular option just to make money the way some events and attractions promote themselves online.
- Sometimes not being able to decide where to go indicates some other problem for me entirely, like being worried about something related to work or some other logistical thing. When I’m truly stuck between several options and just can’t pick one, I’ll do none and take a walk around camp instead. This usually clears my head and lets me see what the real issue is.
- It’s hard to come up with a balance between planning and winging it sometimes. When you plan everything you avoid a lot of analysis paralysis, but then you get stressed about those plans falling through or not being as good as you’d hoped. It’s six of one, half a dozen of the other. Try both, and you’ll figure out which works better for you.
In reference to that line in the first paragraph about challenges of solo travel: