Confession: I Suffer From FOMO

36 hours in Bangkok.

I had so many (albeit last minute) plans for this quick stopover in Bangkok.  I planned to visit temples, see the palace, take a river cruise, go to the weekend market, eat street food, get cheap massages, check out a yoga class, try out all of the bars in my super luxe hotel, walk the streets of this fast-paced city.  It was going to be a whirlwind of a trip, so much to see and do in so little time.
The only thing I accomplished on that list was visiting the weekend market.

I took the train, by myself, to the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market as soon as the rain subsided Sunday morning.  It was the most frequent suggestion that people recommended in Bangkok.  I weaved my way through the crowded train and clogged streets to arrive at the market.  After a week surrounded by the magic of Bali, I can only liken it to….well, magic is not the first word that comes to mind.  Stifling.  Rank.  Oppressive.  Blisteringly hot.  Overwhelming.  I don’t like flea markets at home; I can even get anxious in the melee of Target sometimes. I’m not sure this was the right venue to end my peaceful vacation…after the beauty and serenity of Bali, it was all too much.  I just wanted to get back to the luxury of my hotel and relax.
I initially started to panic as I was leaving the market: “OMG I am wasting my short time here in Bangkok!  I haven’t seen everything/done anything/been anywhere.  How can I be going back to my (admittedly gorgeous) hotel room when I could be out exploring this city?”.  
My FOMO (fear of missing out) was going into overdrive.  
But, in a rare moment of insight, and instead of just following the FOMO blindly as I have done in the past, I paused.  I decided to address it instead with a direct question: “Do I really want to go to the palace, ride a ferry or eat street food?”.  The answer was immediate and resounding: “NO”.
I didn’t want to go to the palace, or get on a boat, or even get a massage.  I wanted to rest.  To re-group after an intense week.  
To just…be.  

So I did.  And as soon as I gave myself the space to do what I really wanted, all of the FOMO, all of the guilt, all of the “should haves” just melted away.  It was freeing–doing what I truly wanted instead of what I thought I was supposed to be doing.  I didn’t take advantage of everything that Bangkok had to offer.  I took care of myself instead.
Walking back to my hotel with this space I had allowed myself provided me with a different perspective.  I was able to let go of the annoyances and impatience and discomfort that being in a big city can trigger for me.  I had no schedule to keep, no place I “needed” to be.  I was able to breathe, and to find things to add to my awe and wonder list, tucked away in my bag.
The man in the train station who helped me purchase the correct ticket and walked me to the right platform to wait for my train.  My taxi driver who asked me if I voted for Barack Obama, and told me how much he likes him and his “beautiful wife Michelle”.  The little boy kissing his baby sister as they waited with their parents to cross the street.  The beautiful and bold colors of the dresses worn during a traditional dance at the Erawan Temple, with people making offerings all around.


In the midst of the traffic and smog, the cacophony and frenzied movement, there was beauty all around me.

The rest of my planned list did not happen.  Instead I did this: Ordered room service.  Wrote.  Slept.  Unpacked and re-packed.  Ordered room service again.  Wrote some more.  Uploaded pictures of my Bali trip.  Ordered room service one more time.  Slept.  Left for the airport, in the dark, at 4am.  I did not see much of Bangkok.

It’s ok.  I will be back in Bangkok at some point.  Or maybe I won’t.  It’s still ok.
I am excited to head home and stay in this space, listening to my heart instead of that crazy FOMO.  Being present and “loving in time”.  I want to find the magic of Bali, and the hidden beauty of Bangkok on Wilshire Blvd, or on the 10 at rush hour, or in line at Whole Foods.  I am ready to go home.
Until the next trip….

22 thoughts on “Confession: I Suffer From FOMO

    • Thank you so much Kate!!! It’s only been through this writing that I’ve been able to get in tune with myself, so I am happy I have that chance. Do what feels right and you’ll never be wrong 🙂

  1. Pingback: Confession: I Suffer From FOMO « The Manifest-Station

  2. Yes, where I am “now” is where I’m supposed to be.

    Also, whoever is supposed to be there will show up, whatever I’m supposed to do, I will, and whoever I am supposed to be, I already am. Always.

    Peace to our true selves. May we all dare to live our lives out loud!

  3. Such a great reminder! You may find it funny to know that I did this to myself in LA before going to Ojai. I spent $100 on cabs to go to the LA Farmers Market, even though the the hotel pool and a novel would have been a way better option. Keep writing – I look forward to your blogs!

    • Well you HAVE to go to the farmer’s market in LA!!! Haha, see, there I go again! We’ll have to keep each other in check and make sure we’re doing what we want to do, rather than what we think others expect. Miss you. xx

  4. Love this, Katie! The “Am I missing out?” syndrome has a very strong force. The greatest thing about getting older, I’ve learned, is that the force gets weaker with every passing year. Thank God.

  5. I’m feeling the FOMO just reading your post!! How brave of you to disregard it, and while in Bangkok noless! My friend just told me about FOMO two weeks ago and I have it BAD. I hope I can follow in your footsteps and just let myself “be” a little more than usual.

    • I think if you can aim to ignore that pesky FOMO one time when you really want to, you’re on the way there. I definitely let it carry me away at times in Bali (but what if I miss something amazing!??!) but the one day I just relaxed and said, I’m taking this day off for me, I was really happy. As with anything…moderation does seem to be key! 🙂

  6. Psst… I also suffer from FOMO, which manifested most severely on my first trip to Paris. It took some breathing and some slowing down to get me back into the moment. Beautiful blog, am following!

    • Thanks Peggy! It’s so difficult in places like Paris, where there is SO much to experience. But taking even a quick moment to absorb it all can make it even more special. I will aim to remember this on my next trip as well! Thank you so much for your support. xx

  7. FMO. brilliant! I have a case of that sometime ( a lot). Wonderfully put and much related. Thank you for sharing your journey Katie. Love you!

  8. I have also suffered severely from FOMO. What’s funny is that it doesn’t matter how long you’re in a place…36 hours, 36 days…there’s always more that you “have to” see. There are so many times when I have done what the guidebooks or everyone else has told me to do, and I’ve been disappointed. I have to keep that in mind–they aren’t always right!

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