A few days ago I read an interesting blog post by another travel blogger about travel regrets. This topic and article got me thinking, did I have any travel regrets?
When I talked to Wandering Sean about this, he said “I don’t regret anything about our travels. “ Pause….”Except not putting down roots when we first got to Central America and learning Spanish better.” Pause….”And not going on a safari yet.” When he stopped to think, he did have a few. And so did I .
Number One: Not pushing harder to be an exchange student in high school
Now, the catch to this one is, how hard can you push back at your mom? There was an exchange program our high school had with a school in Caracas, Venezuela. When the group prior to my potential group flew down, there had been riots in Caracas. The students were sequestered in their hosts’ homes during this unrest. No one was hurt, but it made my mom steadfast in her decision, there would be no wandering for little Wandering Dawn. I can’t blame her, but my 40 year old self wishes I could have provided compelling information that would have swayed her, some scrap of soothing rhetoric that would have gotten me on that plane. But I didn’t, and she didn’t budge, and my senior year passed without stepping foot in Venezuela. I wonder how my views on the world would have been if I got to travel at such a young age.
Number Two: Electing out of Conversational Spanish
This seemingly intelligent move at the time affected my ability to converse while traveling immensely. I was a freshman in college, taking some seriously challenging classes, when I stepped in to Conversational Spanish. From the very beginning I was intimidated beyond belief. I was used to being top of my class in high school Spanish, and this rattled me. How could I keep up with all of my science classes when this class was going to be so intensive? Spanish was supposed to be my “easy” class. I dropped it within a few weeks. Yes, this lightened my workload, but when we first stepped foot in Latin America I had plenty of time to be remorseful about that decision.
Number Three: Avoiding Colombia
When we traveled long term in 2007, we started in Central America with a planned continuance into South America. WS wanted to fly from Panama to Colombia. I was dead set against it. I had seen too much on TV, read too much about how dangerous it was. I fought and I fought, and I won. It was not until after a year of continuous travel that I realized my mistake. We were in Thailand during the Yellow Shirts. We were in Egypt during a bombing. And I realized that what I saw on TV was not what I saw outside my door. I realized that I was making decisions based on news stories that I thought were the be all end all of what a country was. I was too fresh in my travel shoes to go then, and regret not taking that chance.
Number Four: Not going to Europe after college graduation
I got my master’s! Yea! I got a job! Yea! I need to pay off a student loan! Boo!
After graduation from college, a group of friends were planning a five week trip to Europe. I declined to go because of money. Even though my student loan was deferred for 6 months after graduation, I had learned that starting to pay early could significantly affect the principle. This is true. And it did. But it also secured the fact that I would never be able to take a backpacking trip long term (okay maybe not, but it sure felt like it). I wish someone would have pushed me harder to go. I wish I would have seen it as more of a priority than I did. But I didn’t. And when I heard stories about that fabulous trip, I regretted the decision.
Although…that decision did lead me to WS! Now that is a blog post all on its own!
How about you? Do you have any travel regrets ?