Ignoring then embracing my travel intuition


Tomorrow I was scheduled to head to Chicago with no plans in place whatsoever.  As much as this blog may not indicate this little fact, I am not a spontaneous person.  Anyone who knows me also knows that I like to plan everything as best I can, know what is happening at all times or attempt to predict the future.  I have a hard time “going with the flow” (what flow?) and a few people have even described me as a bit uptight, ha!  Although I understand where they are coming from and I’ve heard it’s nice to go with said flow, I’ve come to the point where I know this slight uptightness about myself and I’m comfortable with it.  In fact, it’s even served me quite well in certain situations!  Which leads me to Chicago, the trip that turned into an absolute hot mess.

Basically here’s the deal.  Ladies, you’re going to want to listen to this tale. Slightly uptight Shayla decided to be spontaneous one day when she met a guy, I’ll call him A, that happened to live in Chicago but was visiting New York.  The random meeting was très romantique.  He, the cousin of a friend staying with us, was literally in my apartment waiting for me like a present as I arrived back to New York after spending the holidays down south. He and I hung out, hit it off, went to dinner/brunch, all signs were pointing to great chemistry between the kids.  Knowing that I’m the type to run away from situations that take me outside of my comfort zone, I debated over just saying “well that was fun” and moving on with my life once he left but a teeny voice said to me “don’t be that girl, you should go visit!”.  After much debate between myself and A, I timidly* booked a flight to Chicago for a trip that was to take place a couple months after our first encounter.

*NOTE: I firmly believe that my stomach is directly tied to my intuition.  You know, that little voice that wants to keep us SAFE??  The state of my tummy tells me when a decision that I’m about to make will take me outside of my comfort zone in a good way (i.e. giddy butterflies), or in a bad way (i.e. nausea).  I wanted to projectile vomit before and after pushing the “purchase” button. Not a good sign.

After a rocky two months, I found myself still excited about the trip when last week, A told me he was still sleeping with his ex-girlfriend. Oh. I heard my voice calmly tell him to never speak to me again as I flew into an internal panic about what to do about the trip.  I don’t have any close friends in Chicago that I could phone immediately and beg for a place to stay, not to mention that asking for lodging one week out is super rude.  What. To. Do?

After many conversations with close friends and kick ass female solo travelers (and brushing my ego aside) I’ve decided to cancel the trip.  One thing I love about travel is that you can’t plan EVERYTHING and sometimes you have to just accept defeat when a trip simply doesn’t work out.  The most beautiful aspect of traveling and discovery is when a trip unfolds more perfectly than you could have ever imagined after a drastic hiccup…this wasn’t one of those scenarios.  I’m writing this post less than 12 hours before my flight takes off tomorrow and I haven’t even cancelled my flight yet because that’s how badly I wanted this to work out.  I was willing to wait until the absolute last minute.  Unfortunately, nothing has happened since that conversation with A that has shown me that I should get on that plane.  Noticing these little “travel intuition” signs and deciding to take an L on this trip is such an indication of my growth as a traveler and as a person.  Sometimes, the stress of forcing something to happen (whether a relationship or travel plans) just isn’t worth it!

I haven’t been to Chicago in almost ten years and I was genuinely excited about exploring a new city, but clearly that will have to wait.  I see now that if I were to take this trip, it wouldn’t be on a quest for adventure, it would be to try to prove something to someone who means nothing.  It could also potentially put me in a dangerous situation.  Will I let this experience keep me from going outside of my comfort zone in the future? Of course not.  Will I listen to my body the next time it screams “STOP!”…most definitely.

Anyway I just wanted to share that little story because I know for a fact that I’m not the only person who’s gone through this.  I was very inspired by similar posts about love, travel and intuition from fellow blogger Adventurous Kate and my friend Ellen Guill of Go Girl Guides.  I love how these girls just give it to you straight!  What’s the bright side about staying home this coming week? I’ll have time post all about my trip to Mexico!  Hasta luego!

p.s. if you caught the “Pretty Little Liars” reference throughout this post, you and I should be best friends.

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2 Responses

  1. Courtney Luxe says:

    gut feelings never lie! proud of you for taking the L and moving on!

  2. Maxine says:

    Shayla, I love the look of the new blog! And also: I always feel sick to my stomach when I purchase plane tickets online (or anything over $100) … maybe my intuition is trying to tell me something? 🙂 I’m glad you resisted the urge to follow through on plans you made and went with your gut. I hope the next time you get to go to Chicago, it’ll be under better circumstances!

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