Not many families can say they have travelled the world for 500 days, although many may want to. I could have written many posts on the benefits of travel, the wonders we have experienced, the lessons we have learnt. And I have. But what about the not so glamorous side? Aren’t you all dying to know there must be something wrong with this “enchanting” lifestyle we are living?
My biggest regrets come from my deepest desires, the things I miss in my heart of hearts. So when I say my regrets it will usually revolve around a loss of some kind in my previous life.
So what are they? Here are my five biggest regrets in 500 days of travel:
My Children Miss Out
We have always said to choose one life is to choose not to have another and nothing hits home more then this. My deepest regret is the time lost on my kids’ relationships with their extended family.
Kids grow so much. When we visited my husband’s parents in Israel it had been 2 years since they had seen our children and as you can imagine, 1 now 3, and 2 now 4, there were big changes.
I miss seeing my kids play with their uncles and aunties. I miss them having sleepovers at Oma’s house, I miss them swimming with Grandad in the pool. The kids also miss birthday parties, play dates with friends from birth, being around people they are familiar with.
When we see family and friends again I hope they haven’t missed too much.
I Miss Out
Of course similarly to my kids we also miss out on precious relationships. I missed my grandmother’s cooking at Christmas and splashing in the pool with my brothers and sisters. I miss coffee dates with my Mum and movies with my girlfriends. I’ve missed the births of babies and subsequently their whole first year of life. I miss laughing with my best friends and going to parties. I miss playing with my dog, taking him for walks and even his outrageous barking. I regret the time stolen from me in my family and friends lives. Why can’t they all travel with me?
Looking after yourself with constant movement is hard work. Eating right when you eat out everyday is not only tough on the willpower, but sometimes impossible with the choices offered. I regret the hard work I put into my body at the gym the year before I left and it’s disappearance.
Since travelling my hair has become a disaster. The sun, the cheap hotel shampoos, the chlorine in pools or salt water at the beach. It’s not a blonde’s best friend. When you travel light it is hard to carry all the products a blonde needs – purple shampoos, colour hydration conditioners, etc. I totally miss my long, thick hair and regret the thin, shorter hair that has replaced it.
We started this travel life with the intent of owning less, wanting less, living more. But after 30 years of having stuff and more then 20 years of shopping for stuff, I miss stuff. I miss my very own bed that no one else sleeps on and my very own house that no one else has lived in. Superficially I miss my husband’s BMW convertible and driving the Australian coast with the top down. But my biggest regret for stuff would have to be my deep regret in not having more pairs of shoes and living in thongs for 500 days.
Safe, Familiar Territory
The biggest thing I regret is the same thing that I don’t regret. The torn psyche between risk and adventure, safety and security. Between the known and unknown. I deeply regret not being in a location that I identify with.
Back in Perth, Australia I could drive without a map, I knew where my friends lived, where to find my favourite kebab or a bra or a camera. Travelling is constantly filled with uncertainty. Where do you go if you feel ill? Who do you see if your camera dies? Where is a place to get good food? It is a regret for the knowing that I feel, but at the same time a longing for the unknown which keeps me away.
Not my usual upbeat post to be sure, but one I feel will confirm that travel is not all that it seems. There are moments in time where we long for the old and familiar in exchange for the adventure we have chosen. And while I stand firmly on my belief that this past 500 days has been my favourite 500 days ever, there are certainly 5 things that at some level feel like a regret.
It’s true what they say, the grass is always greener on the other side.