When I think about regret, it’s hard for me not to think of Edith Piaf and her song, Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien, or No, I Regret Nothing. It’s all about forgetting what happened in the past, the good and the bad, and starting fresh.
But, no matter how good we are at sweeping the past under the rug and moving on, some of us still have regrets and disappointments. I tend to not dwell on these, and live my life making such great memories in the present, that the past isn’t something I think back on too often.
And, while in the present, I try to live my life in a way that I will have no regrets, especially while I am traveling. If there’s something I’m nervous about trying, whether it be an exotic local food or an activity, I ask myself, will I regret not experiencing this? When the answer is yes, I push through whatever is holding me back. This mentality is what has made me swim with Great Whites in South Africa, walk with lions in Zimbabwe, go white water rafting in Thailand, and crawl into Egyptian pyramids, just to name a few.
Still, there are a few travel regrets that I hold, and recently, Lola, at Where in the World is Lola?, tagged me in a post about travel regrets, you can read about her’s here. While at first I thought coming up with them would be difficult, it turned out, there were three specific moments that stood out. Lola and I even shared one!
Not studying abroad
While looking at colleges to attend, studying abroad was something I was interested in. Though, I wasn’t sure that I could spend that much time so far away from my family. Once I enrolled in college, I learned that the time away from home wasn’t bad, but that I picked the wrong major if I intended on leaving the country.
With a dual major in elementary and special education, along with a 30-credit concentration in English, it would be nearly impossible to make it work. Especially since I had to allot a certain amount of hours in multiple classroom each semester. Taking almost 18 credits each semester and observing teachers meant it wasn’t going to happen.
But, it all could have been worse. Three of my close friends wound up studying abroad, and so, I visited them instead. First, in Rome, and the following year in London. While I didn’t have the study abroad experience for an entire semester, I got to live it twice in two different countries. Plus, that trip to London was the first time I ever traveled by myself, and these two trips were probably reasons why I fell so deeply in love with travel.
Not heading to Australia
I knew I wanted to travel in the summer of 2010, but I couldn’t find anyone from home to come with me. My cousin, Michelle, and her friends Caroline, Linda, and Ciara, all teachers from Ireland, were planning a two month trip through Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. Since Michelle and I have a great-uncle who lives in New Zealand, I asked her if she would mind if I met her down there. She was more than open to the idea and even told me to stay the extra week and go to Fiji too. I was in!
At the time, this was an ideal trip, but looking back, I should have met the girls a week earlier in Australia before heading to New Zealand. While I regret not going, this past summer, in Africa, I became close with quite a few friends who are from Australia. Which means, I’ll be visiting them sometime in the near future – regret resolved!
Missing out on Cambodia
When I headed to Asia in the summer of 2011, with the Irish girls from the previous trip, we had tentative plans to go from Bangkok through Cambodia to Vietnam. I was beyond excited, as I had been dreaming of visiting South East Asia for years. I don’t plan much when I travel, so we only had flights into and out of Bangkok, and planned to figure out our route and accommodations as we went.
But, when we tried to book our bus to Siem Reap, we ran into a bit of trouble. The place we tried to book informed us that there had been many issues with buses being gassed or people coming on and robbing everyone on board at gunpoint. Clearly, this was not how we wanted to spend our vacation.
At that point, flights to Siem Reap were too expensive, so we resolved to stay in Thailand and head to Chiang Mai, which wasn’t in our plans. We spent four days there, and they were four of my favorite days in the vacation.
When we got to Vietnam, we met many travelers who had taken in the bus from Thailand without a single trouble. This obviously made us regret our decision even more, though at the time, our safety seemed like it could have been at risk.
Even though it still breaks my heart that I didn’t get to experience Cambodia, I know, without a doubt, that I will get there soon, especially because I plan on heading back to Thailand and Vietnam.
My disappointments are ones that I can, for the most part, make up for. Sure, I didn’t get to study abroad, but maybe one day, I will live in another country. As far as Australia and Cambodia are concerned, there’s no doubt in my mind that I will get there. So while I have a few disappointments, they aren’t ones that I spend my time dwelling on because I have years of my life still left to travel.
What about you? Do you have any regrets?