Would’a, could’a, should’a……Travel Regrets

Sometimes the worst thing about returning home from a trip isn’t the fact that your fabulous trip has just ended. Sometimes, the worst thing is that moment you experience, right after your return, when someone says to you “Oh! You were in XXX. How wonderful! Did you get to the YYY there?”……and you have to reply “no, I didn’t”.  Somehow an amazing one-of-kind experience escaped your radar and you left XXX without seeing its main attraction. It’s so deflating and somehow takes away from all the great things you DID see and do. It’s happened to me. In fact I have several travel regrets. Some from years ago and one that’s quite recent. Most were due to circumstances working against me but for a couple of them, I can only blame myself for chickening out.


1. Surfing in Australia

The regret I have about surfing in Australia is that I DIDN’T surf in Australia. I was there for a whole year. I spent 3 days watching a surf competition near Margaret River (south of Perth) and sat on the beach early every morning for a week while a friend took lessons …..and yet, I never once stepped up on a board. I shake my head, even now, just thinking about it. Surfing has been on my life goal list for almost 15 years. Sad, sad, sad.

2. Sky diving in New Zealand

When I was in Queenstown, New Zealand I got caught up in all the adrenalin-producing, adventure-seeking hype that surrounds that beautiful place. I went bungi jumping, jet boating, white water rafting and took full advantage of the nightlife. I was also supposed to go sky diving. I was only there for 3-4 days but I signed up for a morning sky dive and rose each morning waiting for the call to confirm that the weather was clear and the jump was ‘on’. That call never came. There were heavy clouds every morning. I left Queenstown with another life goal still sitting firmly on my bucket list.

3. Touring La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

I’ve confessed to this sin before (you can read about it here). I was in Barcelona only a few months ago and DIDN’T tour Antoni Gaudí’s famed Sagrada Familia. I had my reasons (excuses) but ultimately I know I should have suffered through the long line and gone in. My bad. I will go to Barcelona again though – I loved the city – and a visit to La Sagrada Familia will be on the top of my list. Pinky swear.

4. Hot Air Balloon Ride over the Grand Canyon

I didn’t make it up in a hot air balloon over the Grand Canyon when I visited Las Vegas several years ago. There were various reasons at play. Ultimately it just wasn’t the right time. I was pregnant, which made my husband uneasy about me going up in the air in a little basket, AND he’s not particularly keen on heights. In the end we decided on a helicopter ride. It was actually a great alternative and I highly recommend it – you can read more about that experience here.

5. Eating Guinea Pig in Peru

I regret not trying guinea pig when I was in Peru. It’s not that I really need to taste it. In fact, I’m sure that even if it tasted ‘okay’ I’d still probably never order it again but my regret here is that I know this was ultimately a case of me playing it safe and not being adventuress. I cheated. One of my travel companions ordered it and when our meals arrived at the table I took a picture of his plate and then put my camera away and tucked into my plate of ‘safe’. I should have tried it.

Getting Over Travel Regrets

I decided recently that I need to revisit these regrets and turn them around. Ok, so I didn’t go surfing in Australia. That doesn’t mean that I can’t try catching a wave elsewhere. Instead of waiting until I step foot on the land down under again, I’ve decided to hit some local waves. I’ve made arrangements to take a surfing lesson at Lawrencetown Beach with one of the amazing instructors at East Coast Surf School while I’m in Nova Scotia in a few weeks time. It won’t be the warmest of water (by a long shot!) but I’m keen to hit the waves and give it a go regardless of the temperature.

The hot air balloon ride will have to wait a little longer because I REALLY want to experience this in a location with an amazing view. So, as soon as I find myself in Cappadocia, the Serengeti or the Napa Valley I will have myself floating in the clouds in a large balloon.

Balloons flying over Cappadocia, Turkey By Dennis Jarvis from Halifax, Canada (Turkey-2016 Uploaded by Randam) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The sky diving is another experience I hope to cross off my list soon. I think if I don’t do it soon I may just talk myself out of it. Does anyone have a recommendation on a great place to sky dive in the greater Toronto area??

I may not get back to Peru again but I’m confident that one day I’ll find guinea pig on a menu and I will most definitely order it – along with a strong drink! – and give it a taste.

Part of my desire to start tackling some of these travel regrets is also due to my determination to be more of the ‘travel me’ when I’m at home and not just when I’m travelling. Being more adventuress and active at home and not just when I’m abroad is a promise I made to myself recently and I’m determined to keep it.

I don’t think we have to let travel disappointments and regrets tarnish our past trips. For me travel is a teacher. I learn about myself and about others (the good, the bad and the ugly). I think the important thing is what we take away from our travel experiences, even the ones we didn’t have. I’ve learned that I can be a very impatient person at times and this hasn’t served me well on numerous occasions but knowing this about myself helps to keep me from letting it spoil future travel experiences. I’m sure there are more travel regrets to come for me but my goal now is to keep them to a minimum.

Do you have a travel regret? Have you ever had the chance to return to a past travel destination and get a re-do on an experience you missed out on the first time around?  



7 responses to “Would’a, could’a, should’a……Travel Regrets

  1. This is a very nice post! Oh, sure – we all have travel regrets! But, for me, skydiving is not one of them. I am a big beiever in the sanctity of life – particularly mine and that of my loved ones – and therefore bungee jumps, skydives, balloon rides, glider trips and F1 racing are definitely off my personal bucket list. However, I did just return from Tuscany having not got to Florence (we did Siena and Cortona and spent a ton of time basking around the villa pool). Oh well!! Guess that means hubby and I will have to take a city break soon… how AWFUL! hahaha! Travel regrets aren’t always regrets. As you rightly say, they are OPPORTUNITIES! MH

  2. great post! just to let you know I’m an aussie and I have never really surfed! And there a lots of us ;) There are plenty of places to try it if it’s your goal! As for guinea pig, well, i havent tried it but I doubt you’ve missed anything! This is a great concept for a blog. I’m like you, I think all my travel regrets are about things I HAVENT done. With the exception of leaving a roll of film on a seat in Egypt and losing most of my Egyptian photos there! Actually, another major regret is never taking enough photos. Especially back when I started travelling (and didnt have a digital camera) GREAT POST (as I said!)

    • Ouch! Losing precious photos is definitely a tough one to get over. I bet you beat yourself up over that one. Life has a way of balancing the good with the bad though doesn’t it.

      I too wish I had more photos from earlier travels. At least the memories are still alive :) Thanks for reading!

    • p.s. Just edited my post as I realized I accidentally called Margaret River (in Australia, of course) St. Margaret’s Bay by mistake. The latter is near my hometown so I think I mixed them up when typing. You’re very kind to have not pointed it out as I’m sure you were wondering where the heck St. Margaret’s Bay Australia is!

  3. It’s funny you should mention the guinea pig in Peru. Hubby and I were discussing it yesterday, and he said that if we ever go back there, we should try it. I just would find it hard to eat something I’ve always thought of as a pet. :)

    • True. My girls have a gerbil as a pet and I don’t think I could eat one of those no matter where I was or how good people said it tasted. I passed on eating puffin in Iceland and have no regrets about it.

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