Monday, July 29, 2013

Notes On Travel Regret: Part 2

I've blogged about travel regret before, about that feeling of missing out, of not having quite enough time to see everything you want to see or do everything you want to do. The feeling of not having made the right call, for whatever reason. For some people there is no regret (logically I know regret is pointless, but emotionally? Well, that's a different story), but for others, there are places missed, cities longed for, decisions analyzed and questioned after the fact.

Off to India...or not
Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur
In the summer, around late August, my ex-partner and I (not ex at the time) were talking about going to India for two months, February and March. Up until this point I wasn't sure he was going to want to travel at all during the winter, and I was worried about this. Then he brought up India, something I'd mentioned at various other points  during the year and that he never seemed very keen on. But now, he was interested. He wanted to take cooking classes and eat street food and consume as much vegetarian Indian food as he could get his hands on. I got the Lonely Planet from the library and started reading him random facts about various cities, about places we "had" to see and what we absolutely couldn't miss. We were excited. We were united. Things were good.

And then I chickened out. For a lot of reasons, but the one I most often refer to is that I knew I would be working while we traveled (call it digital nomad light) and that I really needed a reliable internet connection the whole time or my work would suffer. (or so I believed). From what I'd read there was no guarantee of the speedy surfing I was used to in many other places I'd travelled so I panicked. In retrospect I should have done more research, asked around, reached out to people who had been there, not worried so much - but I didn't. I assumed it might just be better (safer) to go someplace else, and so I suggested Malaysia. But let's face it, I was also scared of India itself, which I'm not proud of.

The regret kicks in
Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Don't get me wrong, two months in Malaysia and Singapore (with side trips to Hong Kong and Vietnam) was great and I had a memorable trip filled with phenomenal food and unforgettable experiences, but I regret not going to India. I can't help but equate the dissolution of my long term partnership a mere three weeks after returning with the "not going", with all of that fear. Of course there were many other issues that led to my  becoming a solo traveler, but I now equate my inability to move past travel fears with the end of my relationship. Silly? Maybe. Weird? probably, but I can't help but wonder if things would have turned out differently had I dove headfirst into a challenge rather than back away. I can't help but ask myself what it really meant when I vetoed India and switched up the itinerary. I have regret and lots of it.

I  know it will pass and I know I am not being logical, necessarily, but what happened does drive home the point that giving into fear isn't often a good thing. In travel or in love.

What are your biggest travel regrets?

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