Should I Stay or Should I Go?

If I go, there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know

The classic song from the Clash has been on my mind in recent days.

As many readers may know, I am in Singapore with my wife and youngest son for about 10 weeks, teaching a Financial Accounting course to Villanova students who are here as part of a study abroad/internship program.

It is the first time in this part of the world for my wife and me, and we were hoping to do a bit of traveling while we were here.

We have flight and housing reservations scheduled for next weekend in Bangkok, but because of the coronavirus outbreak,  we are trying to decide, just like Joe Strummer of The Clash, should we stay (in Singapore) or should we go (to Bangkok).

We have read a good deal about the virus, where it is most prevalent, how quickly it is spreading, how it is spread, who is most affected by it, and what are some preventive measures (handwashing, avoiding crowds, possibly masks).

I even reached out to a fellow blogger, Carol, who lives in Thailand for advice, which she was kind enough to offer.

I calculated that Wuhan, China, where the virus started, is about 1,450 miles away from Bangkok. That’s about the same distance that Miami is to Chicago (1,380 miles).

I’m thinking that if I had a trip from Philadelphia to Miami, I don’t think I would cancel it if there was an outbreak of a virus in Chicago. I’m also aware that the odds of catching the flu are much, much greater than catching this virus, and I’ve never changed any travel plans because of a flu outbreak.

So the rational rational part of me if leaning towards going.

But the emotional side of me says traveling to Bangkok is different.

First of all, I know nothing about Bangkok. I know it will be crowded, but does that mean the entire city is crowded? Would there be nowhere to go if I wanted to avoid crowds? If all we are going to do is stay in our apartment, then what would be the point of going?

Second, it’s a country where I do not speak the native language. Would we understand any warnings that are posted? Would we be able to communicate with someone if one of us did get ill?

Third, there is simply all the hype in the media that is surrounding the virus. It’s hard not to get caught up in the near panic that the media is making this out to be.

I was hoping that writing down my thoughts here would bring me some clarity, but I’m right back where I started:

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Here’s a video of The Clash playing at Shea Stadium in 1982:

*map courtesy of Travel Math

25 thoughts on “Should I Stay or Should I Go?

  1. I started to write a lengthy comment hoping to help weigh the pros and cons, but after a paragraph it came down to a much simpler single thought. If it is a question of now or never, I vote now, because never is such an unfortunate option. If the coronavirus has not sent you running from Singapore out of fear, then it should not keep you from Bangkok either. But I will remind you that those words are easy to say when I am sitting where I am. Whatever you decide, I hope you all are safe and sound. Best wishes!

    1. thank you, Brad, for your insight and thoughtful perspective. Based on your words, and those of other bloggers, and our latest research, at this point we are planning to go. Unless something changes dramatically, I’ll be blogging from Bangkok next week!

  2. Go! I don’t see much difference between SIN and BKK as far as the chance of getting sick. English is widely spoken in hotels, restaurants and tourist areas.

    To be safe, check your insurance coverage. If it doesn’t cover the trip to BKK, consider buying a short term policy. I purchase an annual policy from Allianz that covers medical expenses and stuff like medical evacuation costs. It is amazing how expensive medical evacuation is. It is possible that the credit card you used for the tickets may have some coverage, too.

    1. thank you for your thoughts, which I value highly because of all of your travel. I also appreciate the advice on the insurance – I juts looked into Allianz – seems like useful coverage to have.

  3. It’s always easy to be that guy offering advice from the cheap seats (By the way, why do these blowhards think they know more than the professionals who do this for a living?), but I’m here to say, “Go for it!!!” Look at it as a once in a lifetime opportunity and the scale may get tipped if favor of going.

    Here is the best I can offer as a weak comparison. I think you may know that I’m a sports junkie; I have a Bucket List of sports fantasies. (Hey, some guys fantasize about girls they never have a shot with, and I fantasize about the electric atmosphere of sporting events—so shoot me!) I’ve been to a Super Bowl with my son. (I won an all expense sweepstakes to San Diego to attend Super Bowl XXXVII—yes, people do win those things) It was the best experience I ever got to share with him. (He was in fourth grade at the time.)

    Last year my wife and son took the initiative to get tickets to attend the Final Four Basketball Championship in Minneapolis. We got tickets for the two semifinal games and the championship game. (All great games, which was the frosting on the cake.) I was reluctant to spend that kind of money, but I finally caved. What’s the saying?—You can’t take it with you. The kicker was that shortly after we bought the tickets (nearly a year in advance) my son got a new college football coaching gig. His new job got in the way of him attending, and I was thoroughly disappointed. I thought about trying to resell the tickets because a great deal of my excitement was sharing this experience with him. After some thought, I asked my older brothers if they wanted to go with me. One doesn’t like sports, and I knew he would say no. The other two are almost as passionate as me. If they both said yes, I figured we’d split it up somehow between the three of us. As luck would have it, only one wanted to take the financial plunge with me. We had an amazing time, and I’m glad we went.

    I’ve still got two more sports related wish list items—The US Open Tennis Tournament in New York and the Little League World Series. I think they’ll both eventually happen.

    I know that this is a flimsy comparison because my events involve little degree of risk, but I’m going to bet you’ll be so glad if you decide to do it. Live your life for life’s rich experiences, Jim! Hey, if your trip turns out lousy, you know who to blame. “Why did I listen to that blowhard, Springer?” 🤣🤣🤣

    1. thank you, Pete, for your thoughtful words of advice, and the sports analogies did make me think about this in a different way. Based on your words, and those of others, we have decided to go, unless things change significantly. As for my sports bucket list – the Masters (as long as Tiger is playing!), Wimbledon, a Penn State football game, and probably a few others. The Little League World Series is not that far from us (maybe three hours), and I’ve driven past the stadium many, many times as my sister used to live about 45 minutes away.

  4. I would say if you go follow standard health precautions. Wash hands well, keep away from ill looking people. Bring hand sanitizer and wipe things down if you can that others may have touched. And don’t be afraid to wear a mask. As a former ER RN I know these things help. I keep a mask in my bag, just a plain one, and I have put it on before when flying as my random seat mate was coughing and looked ill. I wasn’t about to catch it and whether the mask made the difference or not, I didn’t catch it!!! Anyway, I will get off my soap box and wish you good luck in your decision and have fun either way!!!! Now if I can just get this song out of my head…🎼should I stay or should I go…🎼

    1. thank you for your advice, it is greatly appreciated coming from an RN! We would like to buy some masks, but they are quite hard to find! At this point we are planning to go… It is a catchy tune, isn’t it 🙂

  5. I wouldn’t presume to tell you what to decide – how would I know! I just wonder if it’s a kind of sign that on the same album (Combat Rock) as this song there’s a track called Inoculated City? Whatever you decide, I wish you luck.

  6. Whatever choice you do take, I hope that you stay safe. It would seem you managed to pick a great time to go traveling, eh?

    This new bug going around seem concerning. Our country even documented its first case, too. Officials are claiming that the outbreak is being contained here in our shores.

    Have a nice day.

    1. Thanks, Tandy. We checked the WHO web site, and at this point, Bangkok is not on the list of places to avoid, so that makes us feel a bit better. At this point, we are planning to go…

  7. Jim, you’re a bright man and are applying logic to this, which is sound. All I can add is my ‘checking-in’ system when I have a decision to make. Am I making this choice out of fear or love? Wrapping you all in love, whatever you decide. x

    1. thanks, Jane! And I like the way you phrase the decision; we had been thinking of it more from the fear perspective. So far, our plans are to go, but we are keeping a close eye on the news (even though the news is partly responsible for the fear I have!)

  8. Congratulations on being nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award! See my most recent post.

    Regarding trip to Bangkok, I withdraw my comment and offer no advice one way or the other. It’s up to you and your comfort level.

    1. thank you again for the award. May I ask why the change of heart on your advice regarding Bangkok? As I noted in my previous comment to you, your thoughts were among those that I valued because of your travel experiences. I thought you made a good case for going; have your thoughts on that changed? By the way, I have to admit I do not know your first name, and I would feel funny calling you salsa! If you want to remain anonymous, I completely understand!

Leave a Reply to Tandy | Lavender and Lime Cancel reply