FOMO: Why It’s Okay I Won’t See the Total Eclipse After All

Total solar eclipse

FOMO, or Fear of missing out (almost as good as the other acronym that I love: YOLO, or You only live once) is slapping me square in the jaw this week. The US total solar eclipse is happening on Monday, and for nine years I’d been planning to be there.

Yes, you read that right: NINE years.

But as you’ve probably guessed we are neither in the US right now nor are we going to be there on Monday. This is despite me knowing about this eclipse since forever (well, since 2008) and revealing in February that we would, indeed, be witness to it on 21 August.

FOMO? You betcha. Except it’s not just fear of missing out, but real heartbreak that we’re not doing something that we’d been planning to do for so many years.

To backtrack…

2008: A partial eclipse of the sun

Back in 2008 we had a partial eclipse of the sun in (part of) the UK. But as you can imagine with the weather in this country, it was cloudy and we didn’t see all that much. Pretty much the same thing happened in the total eclipse of 1999: It was cloudy and apart from everything going very dark, there is always that slight disappointment that you didn’t get to actually SEE the moon passing in front of the sun (with safety glasses on, of course).

Seeing as Keith and I are keen amateur astronomers (that would be stars and planets, not star signs…) with our own mahoosive telescope (one of those really short, fat motorised ones that finds the stars and planets you want all by itself), it made sense for us to look up where in the world there would be a total eclipse that could be witnessed as part of a holiday.

In other words, we didn’t really want to see one from the North Pole, Russia or the middle of the Pacific Ocean… we wanted somewhere more vacationy. Did you know that there are between two and five solar eclipses every year? There are loads of opportunities to see them in theory, but not always in places you’d like to go to.

So we came up with the US total eclipse of August 2017 and decided to make a (nearly) three-week east coast road trip out of it. Cue lots of excited planning about all the things we wanted to do and all the things we wanted to see. So far, so good.

Solar Eclipse Observed from Space

Fast forward to 2016, and I have the worst financial year of my (self-employed) life. We still have plans to do our eclipse road trip. But although I’m getting more work and more money starts to come in by 2017, it’s just not fast enough to be able to start paying for all the flights, hotels, car hire and attractions we’re planning.

In Spring this year, Keith and I sat down to look at our finances and see what we could afford to pay for to get the ball rolling, and although I don’t know who said it first, we both came to the sad conclusion that we simply couldn’t do it financially. We didn’t want to pay for flights then find out we couldn’t afford anything else because we just didn’t have the funds in time.

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Making new plans

Therefore we made the sensible but heartbreaking decision that no, we couldn’t afford it (right now). We knew it wasn’t just a holiday of a lifetime we were planning, but a holiday that included an event that hadn’t happened in the US for 99 years. And wouldn’t happen again in the UK until 2090 (hoping to live to 118 is maybe asking a bit too much).


But really, an eclipse CAN be seen in other places. All the things we wanted to do and see on our holiday – from Niagara Falls to DC, from Cape Canaveral to Key West – will still be there if/when we go in September 2018 instead. It will also be slightly cooler (I love the heat but the South and Florida in August may just be a bit too hot and sticky, even for me), and by then it won’t be summer holiday time for UK kids, meaning there may be fewer British families in Disney World. I also read this:

“September is a great month to visit Orlando in general, because hotel rates are at their lowest of the year, crowds have thinned, and there are hundreds of terrific deals on the table.”

As far as I was concerned that was a done deal.

We may be missing out on the eclipse, but looking at the itinerary we’d planned out for the three weeks, we’re going to still make memories that will last us a whole lifetime.

So while I may be feeling the FOMO at the moment, everything points at September 2018 being THE time to go. Organising is my “thing” – what could be better than 13 more months of travel organisation..?

Bring it on!


(Main image: Kurt Kulac | World GIF: Wiki Commons)




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A US East Coast Road Trip to See the Total Eclipse

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  1. 24 August 2017 / 6:57 pm

    Thank you for hosting dear! I'm linking back to you HERE Hope you'll check out my latest Fashion post

  2. 20 August 2017 / 6:28 pm

    Sorry that you can't go this year. I will be watching it on TV as it is the first day of school and I will be in a classroom.

    Thanks for hosting and I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

  3. 20 August 2017 / 12:28 pm

    I'm sorry you are missing out this year, it must have been very disappointing as you had planned for it for so long. I am sure you will have a wonderful time next year. I can assure you Florida is still PLENTY hot in September, I tend to go in October/November – the year before last we were in Key West in early November and it was in the upper 90's! (not to scare you, that was a bit unseasonably warm!).

  4. 19 August 2017 / 5:52 pm

    That's a bummer, I can understand how disappointed you must be. Hopefully when you do make your road trip it'll be even better than the one you'd planned. A few years ago we were invited to stay with friends in Abu Dhabi, but we'd just relocated to the NW and I had to quit my new job due to childcare issues, so we had to tighten our belts and couldn't go. Luckily, last year my husband got a PPI payout, and now I'm established as a freelancer we were in a position to go. I'm so glad we did because it was fabulous, and as it happens our friends are moving to Saudi Arabia in October so it was our last chance. Things usually work out for the best in the long run.

    Emma xxx

  5. 19 August 2017 / 3:47 pm

    Robin and I are just finishing our week of "stay-cation," dearest Catherine…which was SUPPOSED to be a roadtrip vacation down to Cannon Beach and Portland, Oregon in our convertible. But 2017 has proved to be a year of unexpected/unavoidable expenses for us…so much so that our entire holiday budget (and then some) was needed for a bunch of decidedly un-fun things. So even though we'd only been planning our trip for about 6 months, I do feel your FOMO pain just a little!! Still, our stay-at-home holiday has ended up being a treat, too; and I know you and Keith will have a blast for your American holiday next year…even without an eclipse!! XOXO

  6. 19 August 2017 / 12:23 pm

    Well your going to laugh when you read this, but I won't be able to see the eclipse either and I live in the US! I don't have any glasses! I never even knew we were having an eclipse till just a few days ago, so I did not order glasses. I have no idea how the entire world knew about this phenomena and not me. I watch and read countless news, but everything is all politics, politics, politics and no one talks about anything else anymore, so that's all I heard. So, I'm mad too! LOL!

  7. 19 August 2017 / 11:26 am

    Oh Catherine, I am so sorry that your vacation plans didn't work out as you had wanted. I live on the east coast of the US and I don't know that I will be viewing the eclipse either as I have no safety glasses and apparently you can't get them anywhere (sort of like the Hatchimal craze of last Christmas!) But I am sure you will have the best trip ever to the US next year! And if you still plan on visiting Niagara Falls during that trip, perhaps a brief blogger meet up can be arranged as there a few bloggers within a few hours drive of Niagara Falls!


  8. 19 August 2017 / 10:34 am

    What a shame! But there are two coming up in Argentina in the next few years, one in Mexico and Iceland, a place on my to-go list. I'll be 60 that year, yikes!

    I was in Cornwall for the 1999 eclipse. It was quite surreal to see the sky turn green and all the street lights come on, but the real thing would be the best.

  9. 19 August 2017 / 10:25 am

    I'm sorry that this time your dream didn't come to fruition. But think how heart breaking it would be if you were over there and couldn't enjoy it properly because of money concerns.
    In a way, not all dreams are meant to happen, if they did we'd stop getting as excited about them. And when things come together the enjoyment is all the better.

  10. 19 August 2017 / 6:38 am

    I'm keen on astronomy too. I studied it for a while at Sussex U. I'm really fascinated by cosmology and quantum physics though. It's strong and admirable to be realistic about what you can and can't do. Thanks for sharing your disappointment so as we can know you better.

  11. 18 August 2017 / 8:58 pm

    What beautiful photos. Sorry you won't get to see it. Pen x

    • 18 August 2017 / 8:29 pm

      We HAD to look on the bright side, Jodie, and sees the pros for doing it next year instead of this year. All along we'd been saying, Whyyyy did it have to be in August during the height of the tourist season – so as least we won't have that!! x

  12. 18 August 2017 / 7:55 pm

    I hate that you are going to miss it, but you know what… you could have planned the whole thing, spent lots of money and have it be rainy or cloudy. We are at about the 99.7% totality area where I live so I feel very lucky that I can just walk out my front door and look up.

    • 18 August 2017 / 8:27 pm

      That's VERY true Pam, and something we did think of – but we'll still be spending as much on the holiday as we would have if we'd done it this year… but yes, there's never any guarantee!! I hope it's wonderful and clear for you – don't forget the special glasses whatever you do! x

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