Never Regret

Never Regret

When we took off on this trip with no plans, a completely open-ended itinerary and unlimited time it didn’t even occur to me that I might not get to see everything I wanted or take every picture I was hoping to.  But such is life.  I can tell you that it is impossible to see everything, do everything and photograph everything no matter how much time you have.  That is the beauty of travel, there is always a reason to come back.

It’s hard, especially on the heavily travelled backpacker trail through South East Asia to not compare experiences with fellow travelers on buses and fall into the “did you do this/see that trap.”  Inevitably whatever you didn’t see or do was amazing and the highlight of the other persons trip.  This of course leaves you, or at least me, feeling disappointed that you didn’t just get up a little earlier or stay one more day longer to have that experience.

Then if you are anything like me you secretly vow to yourself that you will not miss another festival because you didn’t want to stay the extra day or miss another sunrise because you wanted to go back to sleep.  You bust your butt for the next day or two with this thought plaguing you, “I can’t miss anything.”  If you are traveling with another person they are probably starting to worry about your lack of sleep and insistence on skipping meals to insure that not a moment is missed.  Okay, so maybe not that bad…but the freedom that you loved about travel starts to slip away if you are set on doing it all.  This is actually where travelling with a partner can be beneficial in giving you some perspective.  For example thinkCHUA will always take a much needed day of rest and relaxation to forego that last site on the “must-see list,” you can read our differing perspectives here.

In travel as in life it’s all about balance.  To take a cooking class you might have to give up seeing a temple or two.  After getting up early to see the monks collecting alms you might have to take a nap to stay vertical.  Don’t let the freedom that you love about travel get thrown to the way side in an attempt to see it all, because ultimately you can’t.

The longer you are on the road the more you’ll realize that you just did the same thing to someone else as you raved about how great Tet in Vietnam was with the person across the aisle from you on the bus.  You go on about how you “can’t believe” that they didn’t stay for just two more days to experience it.  As you catch yourself, you realize that you can’t regret because the things you missed made your trip unique just as much as the things you did see.

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Comments

» dad :
May 21, 2011

me thinks, that you should have very few travel regrets compared to the rest of us…..you 2 are special….be safe……love dad

LOCAVORista Reply:

Dad, I will definitely have fewer regrets as a result of this trip, but I’m also learning to let go of the idea that I need to see it all

» Kate C :
May 22, 2011

I hear you Erica. When I was in Thailand in October of 2009, I left Chiang Mai just two or three days before their huge fall harvest festival where the entire city sends paper lanterns floating into the air. My visa end date was getting close, but I could have managed the three days. I sometimes look back and wonder what I was thinking, but then I look at all the great friends I met on the slow boat after that, and again in Vietnam. I wouldn’t have met those lovely people if I hadn’t been right where I was at that time, so the missed festival was very worth it in the end. Missed events just open up days for new experiences :-)

LOCAVORista Reply:

Kate, that’s such a good way to look at it. For every experience you “missed out on” you had another different experience you wouldn’t have otherwise had. It will be fun to hear all your stories when you guys are back in BKK

» Mom A :
May 24, 2011

I know that feeling. Trying to figure out what to jam in on our trip to the Canadian Rockies isn’t easy and it is in North America where we could more easily return! I am anxious to go camping again and there is no shame in having a comfy blow up mattress since we are car camping. Have to ease back into it.

We are excited to jump into thinking about New Zealand next year. We’ll have some questions for you to see what all we can fit in and how to do it!

Anxious to hear about your month of May!

LOCAVORista Reply:

Mom, remembering that it’s about the journey not the destination helps me to ease my need to fit it all in

» Tom McDowell :
May 28, 2011

I’ve checked in every now and again and I’m in awe of your travels!! Especially your journals and the way you share your experiences online…. This is so cool! Be well!

LOCAVORista Reply:

Tom, thanks so much for the compliments, we are really having fun with the blog and enjoy sharing our experiences. Hope all is well in Minnesota!

» Jill A :
May 30, 2011

Erica, I love how beautifully you describe this common dilemma traveler’s face. Wisdom and I definitely had our share of “why didn’t we do that” or “but if we don’t do ‘x’ we may regret it”. It took us a while to finally realize that doing everything possible was making us so exhausted that we were not enjoying any of it! We decided that quality (taking time to really enjoy each thing we did do) over quantity (doing everything possible) was much more worthwhile. I love living vicariously through you now that we are back home from our own travels! It keeps the sense of adventure alive for me. :)

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
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