Have you ever returned from a holiday and thought to yourself “shit I wish I took up that opportunity to ….” or “why did I say no to …”. Most people have once, if not more. Regretted not doing something whilst travelling, will stick with you for years.
There’s only one thing I regret, not paragliding over the Western Australian coastline one spring afternoon, when I had the opportunity to.
When we travel, we usually step outside the box of our ‘normal’ routine; we develop more, have greater opportunity to meet people, we aim to hopefully achieve a better understanding of the world around us.
Travelling offers us experiences that we wouldn’t normally have back home.
When you live your ‘normal’ life of working, studying, going out with friends, exercise etc it’s easy to slip into routines per week or month. Such routines can be good for stability or financial benefit to afford your next trip. Yet these ‘normal’ habits and functions go out the window when you’re travelling.
No day is usually the same when journeying to new destinations. You’re off wandering around cobblestone back streets exploring an historic town, sitting on wooden crates next to children playing whilst eating street food, stumbling along speaking the little Spanish you know trying to have a conversation with your casa family, or having cheap cocktails with newly gained friends in a downtown city basement bar.
We each benefit from travel in our own individual ways, we need to ensure we maximise these benefits to our advantage, so we become a better person overall.
Whether we learn about a particular culture in the Previan mountains on how they live off the land, how to cook traditional Thai meals from fresh produce purchased at the local market, take Italian language lessons from a local guide whilst exploring Venice canals, volunteer with a local community to build a local school hall in Malawi. Overall we become better, more fulfilled and knowledgeable when travelling.
Some opportunities whilst travelling are predetermined before you go on holiday, you plan ahead of time to ensure you achieve your particular interest, yet others pop up randomly when you’re travelling. Be prepared to step outside your comfort zone if you’re a person who stays between the lanes.
It may not be easy in doing this if you’re shy or unconfident, so take baby steps at first. However once you take the initial leap, you generally won’t look back.
If you have an opportunity to try something new, meet a like minded traveller at a cafe, visit a family to eat a home cooked dinner together, catch a tuk tuk with a local across town…. do it.
Sometimes the last minute activities and opportunities are the best. Don’t be afraid to change your plans at the last minute for something else other than you had originally planned for.
What’s the worst that can happen? What will I miss out on?
Well sometimes the worst can be pretty bad, even illegal, but hey will you get caught? It is worth the risk. Only you can answer that.
Then remind yourself you’re at this particular place in time now and only now, tomorrow will be another day, plus you may not be in the same area tomorrow, you may get side-tracked and run out of time.
I never want to be thinking a week down the track, or worse years down the track, living with regrets of an opportunity I never took up. Thinking to myself “I wish I had…” is a thought I never want to have with myself again, other than that one time paragliding in Australia.
The only reason I want to have a regret is because the risk at the time outweighed the opportunity, ie for better good of my safety or health.
So stroll that extra mile to explore what’s over the mountain range, accept the invite if someone asks you for a drink, catch the boat over the nearby island you’ve been gazing at each morning.
Just do it! And enjoy it!