Having been passed the baton in this blogger relay by Avena Davis, I got to thinking…
Since my first holiday at the young and spritely age of one, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some incredible places. Sadly, and like many others, I have some huge regrets. Most of them are not of things I missed, but of what I took for granted. They say regrets make you a better person, they mold you and shape you and teach you for next time. All this may be true, but they’re just so goddam frustrating and with the advantage of hindsight, I think I deserve a mighty big kick.
1. Never bringing a good camera.
As I said, I’ve been to some pretty epic places. I’ve graced South Africa, Thailand, Cyprus and Rwanda with my presence, and all without a camera. Or a good one at least. Fair enough, in 2000 I was only 11 years old and didn’t even own a camera, but by not nagging my parents for a disposable, I missed out on some pretty amazing shots. The same goes for Rwanda and Cyprus. Dad had his camera in Cyprus so we got a bit, but I didn’t have anything in Rwanda. Luckily, when I was taken to see the mountain gorillas, something clicked in my naïve little noggin which made me go out and buy a cheap disposable and, thankfully, I have some proof of my unique and incredible experience. Thailand however, was my first trip backpacking without the family (or the support of someone else’s) and low and behold, my camera died on the second day. Now, I’ve purchased a rather pretty Canon 1000D Rebel XS and am raring to go for my next trip. Let’s just hope it doesn’t break again…
2. Taking things for granted
At the risk of sounding like an incredibly spoiled brat, I was super lucky to be taken on holiday almost every year until about the age of 16. Very, very lucky, I know. What kills me now is that for a number of years, I wasn’t really that bothered about it. It wasn’t so much the holidays (I always loved them and packed in as much as possible so I was ready for every eventuality), but living in Germany (army child), I lived behind the wire in a little English bubble. If I had my time again, I’d stop ‘chilling in the NAAFI car park’ and learning to drink on dodgy boxed wine at cellar parties and actually go and see the town I lived in. Properly. And not on a hazy bar crawl.
3. Wasting my Gap Year
This is possibly my biggest regret. I’d always planned on travelling during my gap year but it just never happened. The first blow was my travel buddy dropping out. The second was my oh-so-paranoid mother worrying about me travelling on my tod. The third was my stupid decision to listen to her. As a fresh young boarding school graduate, I was enjoying the home comforts and spending money a little too much and instead of taking a great adventure, I ended up visiting my friends in Wales and Germany. Hardly the epic adventure I so crave today!
4. Keeping a journal
As a ‘budding’ travel writer, I frequently kick myself when I think that I’ve only ever kept one diary in my entire 23 years of travel. Since taking up travel writing as a profession and hobby I’ve realised how hugely important it is to keep hold of the details when travelling; place names, people’s names and quotes, smells, colours and more. With a failing camera and severe lack of notes, I feel like I’ve wasted my trips and constantly fear that I’ll forget everything if I’m not careful. The only sort of consolation is that I have a memorabilia box where I keep brochures, clippings and receipts of some trips in the vain hope that they’ll jog my fading memory. Fingers crossed!
5. Time wasting
Although my holidays usually consist of seeing everything I possibly can, there has been a couple where I think I could have done more. For example: Mallorca. I’ve never really wanted to go to Mallorca. I have nightmares of Shagaluf-like resorts and Benidorm clones, and Mallorca always seemed the sort of place to deliver such cretins. I was kind of right. I went with two girlfriends as a spur of the moment summer break. It was cheap and cheerful, but boy what a waste! As the season was ending, there wasn’t much to do and the other than a failed attempt at a boat trip tour (one of my travel buddies got sick and we had to get off mid-tour and take a taxi back to the hotel) we spent the entire trip massively hungover and dribbling into a lilo on the beach. Horrid.
On reflection I’ve had it pretty easy. My regrets are down to my own stupidity and yes, luckily, I think I’ve learnt from them. So on Friday, as I leave for my first ever trip to Sweden, I’ll be fully armed with my laptop, notebook, camera, video camera and an over spilling itinerary. Bring. It. On.
I dutifully pass on the baton to:
Emma Sparks of Sparky Sees The World
Lee Abbamonte of Lee Abbamonte
Becky and Gray of The Global Grasshoppers
Ed Rex of REXYEDVENTURES