Why I Cancelled My Trip To Chernobyl

This was supposed to be a “Here’s What My Trip To Chernobyl In 2020 Looked Like” article. Instead, as you might’ve guessed, I’m now going to tell you a different story. Many people have asked me why I’ve decided to cancel my trip to Chernobyl, which I was so excited about for months, literally on my departure day. I kept asking myself the same question for a few days now, as time went by and I was able to look at the entire thing from a more chilled perspective. I’ve been travelling for over 3 years now and I can tell you in all honesty that cancelling a trip is an extremely hard thing for me to do.

It’s like going to a funeral of someone I cared deeply about. 

Like being hit by a drunk driver while peacefully driving home from work.

It’s like having to take a few days off from work when the team is having “barbeque Thursday”.

Now that I’ve told you what missing a simple trip means to me, here’s why I’ve decided to not go to Ukraine this time around. 

  1. Uncertainty

I hate uncertainty. Simply hate it. I am a control freak, so if one file is missing from one folder out of the 25 or so folders that are dictating my life in Google Docs, I have to know. Where it is, how did it get there, who put it there, why and is there any chance I can spare that person from death? This Chernobyl trip was incredibly uncertain for me. Why? Because I’ve had nothing but troubles booking and preparing for it. 

My first two hotels simply cancelled my booking. I still have no idea why but Booking.com told me some properties simply vanish from time to time. This has happened to me before when I booked a friend of mine a two-night stay in Vienna, so it might’ve been that. My Airbnb then charged me for the first two nights but, when I told the host I was travelling solo, he asked me to cancel as the apartment was available for two. At double the cost, surely. My third hotel, the most expensive one I could find, accepted my booking finally.

Next was the uncertainty about my Chernobyl tour. I got confirmation from the company 6 days after paying my deposit. A short email stating that I was about to be informed about everything. Then that email came in 2 days before my departure, although it was supposed to be in my inbox 3-5 days before. Then, there was the pandemic…

  1. Coronavirus

We only get one life. If we don’t do this one life right, or the best we can, there’s no second life for us to try again. There’s no redo button. I am the last person to get scared by the media and Twitter feeds. But for this trip, I have to admit this thing with the deadly coronavirus spreading like crazy was the main reason why I’ve decided against leaving for Ukraine. My main fear wasn’t the trip itself but the layover in London where dozens of flights come in and out of Asia and China every day. 

To me, it seemed like a risk I shouldn’t be taking at my age. I can book a new trip to Chernobyl seconds after this whole pandemic situation with the virus is over. Chernobyl will always be there for me to explore. Health, on the other hand, is fragile and it’s not something I’m willing to risk at this point of my life for a trip. I’m still going to Chernobyl and a ton more places in 2020. I’ll just patiently wait for this crisis to blow over and then be on my way.

  1. Priorities

After putting everything into perspective and taking the decision to not cancel but postpone my trip, I also decided to shift my priorities for this year. I love freelancing and I will always do this at least for the next 10 years or so. If the demand is there for writing, and I am positive it will be. The thing is, for the past three years most of my income was put into travel. I do not regret it by any means, no. I’m just saying that this trip has made me realise I can shift my priorities and still enjoy travel and everything else.

From that moment on, I simply changed my top priority from travel to raising capital for my next business. I can’t tell you anything else so far but yes, I am planning on opening a new business in the first quarter of 2021. See, that right there, the quarter thing? I’m already a businessman! All jokes aside, I have been thinking about doing this for years now but never actually put in the effort to raise some money for it. Now it’s time to do it.

Chernobyl trip

I have cancelled this trip to Ukraine, but it’s not a definitive cancellation. As soon as the thing with this virus blows over, and it will eventually, I will book my flights and hotels and tour and go for it. The same will happen with Jordan, Scotland, Sweden, Thailand and a few other destinations where I want to travel to this year. But yes, I’ve stripped my destinations list in half for the year in order to prioritize raising money for my dream business. I know this is the right thing to do. Yes, I feel confident about my decision and I am excited to work on it. I can already see it forming and taking me places I’ve never dreamed about in my life.

I’ll keep you posted.

Gabriel Iosa



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