Travel regrets?! What are those? Since starting my grown-up life of travel I try to live both my travel and everyday life with no regrets. However, sometimes, things just aren’t in the cards and you make some decisions that later on you look back on and realize that perhaps you should have done it a little differently. This little travel blogger meme has been floating around for a little while now and I was lucky enough to be tagged by both Kate from Canuckiwikate and Ed from RexyEdventures. So without further ado, here are my top 5 travel regrets.
5. Not Getting PADI Certified FIXED THIS!
In 2006 I went on a family vacation to an all-inclusive resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I noticed that they offered a PADI open water dive course (for an extra fee, of course) and after nursing the world’s worst hangover on my first morning in paradise, I signed up – vowing to have a sober rest of my vacation. The instructor gave me the book and told me to go through all 200 pages and write the practice tests by the following day. On day three of my vacation I wrote the exam, which I passed with flying colours, and passed my pool dive. The following day we were to be going out on my first two of four dives to get my certification – out in the open waters of the Sea of Cortez. That was until of course I got a knock on my door at 2am and a resort staff member handed me a piece of paper saying that we were getting evacuated due to a very strong hurricane that was expected to make landfall the next afternoon. It was expected to be a direct hit and there was one flight out the next morning. After humming and hawing my family decided that we needed to leave – I got a partial refund on the course and hoped that I would be able to finish it within the year. That never happened. Since then I have had the opportunity to dive on the Great Barrier Reef and the Ningaloo Reef – but only ever on ‘discovery dives’ – the dives that non-certified members of the public can pay an arm and a leg for and get a taste of what diving’s like. I lived close to two amazing dive spots in New Zealand in the past year and during my visit to Hawaii had the opportunity to go diving – but due to not having that silly certification – I couldn’t go. Have no fear, dear readers, I hope to rectify this travel regret of mine within the coming months – and when I do, you’ll get to hear all about the wonderful world under the sea! [UPDATE: I'm a certified scuba diver!!!]
4. Not Traveling to New Zealand’s South Island in 2012
I spent the majority of 2012 living in New Zealand- in a beautiful untouched paradise known as Ahipara on world-famous 90 Mile Beach. That being said, I didn’t venture to the South Island – the rustic and rugged mountain range filled island that New Zealand is known for. In fact, I didn’t even make it south of Rotorua. I had a few opportunities to go south, and plenty of time when I was living unemployed for four months. And for whatever reason – be it FOMO (fear of missing out) or not going because I should have been looking for work – I just didn’t go. Now don’t write me off completely, I did make a trip to the south island, back in 2009 when I visited Kate at Teachers College in Dunedin and we did our weekend road trip out to Queenstown where I knocked off item #1 – bungee jump! After being to New Zealand three times in the last four years, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I will be back to the land of the long white cloud. And next time I fully intend on properly checking out the South Island.
3. Not Couchsurfing more
Prior to starting my travels I was told all about Couchsurfing. Intrigued by the concept, I signed up with intentions of going out into the world and meeting wonderful people and getting a more ‘local and authentic’ experience of a place. However, when push came to shove, I never actually ended up utilizing the site – except for once when traveling with friends. I’m sure it could have saved me a pretty penny and in some places where I didn’t stray very far off the tourist trail, it would have been nice to see how the locals live. Hopefully in the future I will be able to utilize the program, meet more people and see a different side of a place.
2. Trying to have travel partners
As the old pessimistic adage goes, “you can’t count on anyone but yourself.” I don’t like to think negatively, but especially when it comes to travel – it’s very difficult to count on others. My attempts to have travel partners while I go haven’t always gone awry, but when they have it ahs cost me a lot in both experiences and money. I had to give up traveling to South East Asia because all three of my potential travel partners couldn’t travel with me for reasons both beyond and fully in their control. Trying to have a travel partner has cost me money – to the tune of $1200 – when a supposed friend refused to pay me back for a plane ticket she had promised she would pay me back for and never used. If you want to do things, go out and do it – don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zones and do it yourself.
And the biggest of my travel regrets:
1. Wasting my Australian Working Holiday Visa
Right before I left for Australia on my working holiday, I had a job offer at home that seemed too good to be true, but I fell for it and part of the deal was that I would cut my trip to Australia short and come back after four months. I agreed, and in return I went to Australia and spent the following four months traveling around rather than utilizing the working holiday visa and getting a job. During my four months I realized that I didn’t want that life at home and that I wanted to continue to travel, however the flight home was booked and I had three weddings to attend 5 months apart from each other. I ended up being back in Toronto for five months of my twelve-month working holiday, and due to that I was unable to spend 3 months working in a rural area (a job I already had lined up), which would have allowed me to apply for a second year visa. BIGGEST REGRET EVER.
There you have it, my top five travel regrets! Since this is one of those little relay things, I’m going to tag:
Beverley from Pack Your Passport
Lauren and Kenin from Constant Rambler
Toni from Reclaiming my Future
Ladies and gentleman, what are YOUR top five travel regrets?