A to Z of Travel We Love: J for JOMO

JOMO | Sunset by Bellevue, Zurich

With changing times, it’s ironic how our lives have changed. Seemingly so, it’s the rush that gives us the rush. The rush to be somewhere, do something, tick it off your list, grow faster, earn more and the list is endless. While healthy competition is always good and much needed, this rush if nothing else is quite stressful to deal with. And more often than not, an absolute mess.

This wanting-to-be-present and doing-it-all phenomenon is what we call FOMO, i.e., the Fear Of Missing Out. In today’s day and age, where life changes like new social media updates, within a fraction of seconds, the FOMO dominates our lives. And all this in turn, automatically turn us into machines. Mechanical and soul less. Because who even has the time to soak in life experiences and reflect upon them?

Which is exactly why, one of our favorites when it comes to travel is JOMO, i.e., the Joy Of Missing Out.

J for JOMO (Joy of Missing Out)

To most of us, the idea of travel comes with long checklists, visiting popular attractions and doing the brag worthy stuff, most importantly getting the perfect pictures. Indirectly, travel translates to running around to be able to make the most of your trip. It feels particularly legit, when we are traveling to a far off, exotic location, or traveling abroad. Given the limited time, money, expectations and resources that are attached to such trips, wanting to have-it-all is only human. But does rushing through it all truly give you the contentment?

The rush lures you into doing more in less time. This rush is parallel product of capitalism, expecting high productivity in less time, fueled by FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). But it denies you the pleasures of soaking in the vibes, the cultural intricacies, local flavors, historical timelines, artistic detailing and so much more that make a place what it truly is.

Why would it matter to be at the Colosseum in Rome or at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, if you don’t know what these monuments represent! Ignorance is easy, but it comes at the price of shallowness. It’s like sitting by the beach, when you could go for a swim.

This is why adapting and accepting the joy of missing out is so important. Unlike work, in travel commit to doing less in more time. Explore a few places, or sit for long at a café. Ditch the list of expectations. Instead, watch people around you. Make conversations with strangers. Observe. Observe every little, big, integral and unimportant element around you. Most importantly, refrain from using your phone and camera as much as possible while you do this.

Here are a few ways to enjoy JOMO:

Slow Travel: Essentially the concept of spending more time at a single place instead of covering many places in a short time. Slow Travel also makes time for a range of activities and experiences that are likely to require more time. These could be leisure activities or educational activities such as learning a new skill or you could simply take time out to try something impromptu. Slow Travel is great for your mind, soul and the environment.

Skipping the lists: The impact of having lists works both ways- the exhilaration of completing it all and the anxiety of covering it all. Lists also guide you on how to go about your day. However, if long itineraries and travel lists stress you out, getting through that long list can mess with your travel experience. You tend to spend less time exploring and more time judging whether or not the attraction is worth your time and energies. Without a long list, you’re likely to find something to enjoy instead of dissing it. The hack is to strike a balance- like exploring a particular area and the attractions that lie within or to cover a maximum of three attractions a day. Through all of this, you will be definitely missing out on some experiences, but like I said, “The joy of travel lies in embracing the joy of missing out!” 

Wandering: Wandering is one of my favorites when it comes to traveling. And yet I find it so underrated and ignored. We are so used to going by the plan that we leave little to no room to go off the track and enjoy the unplanned experiences. Skip the visit to touristy tower or eatery and go for a walk instead. Stop by a random coffee shop, strike a conversation with the barista. Experiment with something that’s not ‘highly recommend’.

After all, those who wander, discover!

Museums: A classic example of JOMO would be the many museums you skip on your travel. Of course, they are highly recommended and referred to, by many. But unless you are an art aficionado or history lover, you’re going to feel lost and out of place through this experience. You could choose to explore some place instead that you’re more likely to enjoy- markets, bakeries, popular plazas, etc. Or you could dedicate the entire day to exploring the museum, read up about it, opt in for a tour, make notes of factors that you wish to understand. The aim is to explore what gives you joy and find joy in what we explore!

The concept of JOMO differs person-to-person. After all, our interests, our preferences, our travel styles are all different and we as individuals are unique too. How much is too much? What can we skip? When should you randomly opt for a break? When to go for that impromptu plan? It’s all a matter of what you choose and explore your choices!

The Joy Of Missing Out

  • Put your phone aside: Cardinal rule of life, if you truly want to cherish your reality
  • Skip attractions that do not interest you: If you’re going to see the Monalisa because it is so famous, skip it! Walk along the Sienne instead.
  • Do not waste time on getting the perfect pictures: We all want to capture our travel memories in the most perfect travel pictures. Skip it! Your most favorite memories will always be the ones where you barely have a decent picture.
  • Take time off (even on your trip): I cannot stress on this enough! This is the whole aspect of embracing the JOMO and allowing yourself to relax, casually explore and allow your mind and body to process the new surroundings and information
  • Go to some lesser-known place: Visiting popular destinations is cool. But discovering something that not many know about is an adventure you will cherish. It is an experience that you’d love to brag about as your stand out while discussing something different while everyone else has pretty much the same story to tell.

The Joy of Missing Out is the joy that brings peace, joy and rejuvenation. It’s the story that you tell, which is all about you. And it’s the story that will be different for every single individual. It’s a principle that will change the way you look at travel, the way you look at life. Embrace the joy of missing out, because you can experience the joy of it when you truly experience it.

This post was written as a part of #BlogchatterA2Z Campaign.


I live in the movies (in my parallel world). I travel in search of stories. So I explore- experience- express my trysts with people, places, food, culture and their stories!

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