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Reflections

My 5 Biggest Regrets in 500 Days of Travel 

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.

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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?

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My Health

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.

Material Possessions

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.

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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. 

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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.

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"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by Rhiannon on
We all miss you too! And don't worry this Christmas we will be reunited and able to build up those relationships again, if even only for a short time! :D love ya! Xxx
Posted by Living Outside of the Box on
I hear ya!! Travel is tough work...and there is beauty in all ways of living!! Enjoy this time and season now...perhaps it too will pass!!
Posted by Patti on
May not have been altogether upbeat, but honest!
Posted by TammyOnTheMove on
Love your honesty Erin! Do you think you will ever give up the traveling lifestyle and go back to Oz?
Posted by KarisAbroad on
I can relate a little bit to how you feel. I've been living in Thailand for the past year and I've missed out on a lot back home. Friends' weddings, Thanksgiving dinner, my mom's graduation and my pets! It's been really amazing living here but I am really looking forward to going back home for a bit.
Posted by Jo (The Blond) on
I read your post and thought 'hey, these are all the things I will miss, too!' I already know that I will miss my posessions, my cosmetics, my hairdresser...but on the other hand there are more things you can gain.
By the way - you are beautiful with a shampoo for blonds or not ;)
Posted by Katie on
Thanks for such an honest post! They are all things that I know I would miss as well.
Posted by Jess with2kidsintow on
Great post. Towards the end of our year away, my hubby and I too were so looking forward to our king-sized bed awaiting us at home! And the kids have really enjoyed the childhood stuff of parties etc too since being back. Traveling definitely has its trade offs.
Posted by Pauline on
Lovely to hear your honesty - can totally relate to wanting more pairs of shoes!! I spent 16 months travelling around Australia in a (small) campervan with my 2 (and then 3) year-old son. We had a wonderful time, saw so many things, met so many people, experienced so much. We had a magical time with just the two of us.
A year ago I arrived in my old 'home town' in South Australia where the majority of my family live. I had promised 6 months here so my family could spend their first birthday and Christmas with my son. I am still here. When it came time to move on my son was so enthralled with the idea of having family around and friends that he already knew to play with at the playground that I just couldn't bring myself to leave.
Now with only a year to go until he has to start school I am so tempted to travel again but will uprooting him from his kindy friends and family be unfair?? I don't know. Which would be the larger regret, not travelling or asking my 4 year-old to leave what he loves so much behind? Will keep mulling it over. Enjoy your travels even if sometimes it is just for all of us who wish we were!
Posted by Michele {Malaysian Meanders} on
This is a great, honest post. Missing out on friends and family has been really hard for us, too. My dad and my father-in-law are both 79 years old, so after this year, we'll be returning home and refocusing on spending time with family. My kids miss their friends, too. But one bestie has moved to Singapore and another to India, so returning home won't reunite them. By far the hardest thing for me is missing out on weddings and funerals and having to say the final farewell to a terminally ill friend over Skype.
Posted by Mrs. Chasing the Donkey on
Awww, I was a little sad reading this. BUT that will all be waiting for you when you get home. Perhaps you can frame those thongs - they've done well to last you that long :)
Posted by Heart on
hi there, thanks for sharing with us this post on Twitter. Loved it and love your blog. I appreciate how you feel this way. Sorry to hear that. On the brighter side, you are still one of the luckiest people on earth for traveling the way you do.

At one time last year Matt and i thought we should go on a world travel - but after 3 weeks in Europe we decided we were missing our job. I work in Finance and he's in Retail. Funny i know. But we realized that we needed stability and balance. So we thought of balancing working and traveling - rather than traveling full time. And I feel like traveling this way still rewards us with great pleasures. The only thing we probably regret that is one of the advantages of full time travel - is that it becomes cheap. Because constant, long term travel allows you to find cheap ways to travel easily to nearby/different places and avoid the back and forth type, since you don't have to go home until you're done with it. That saves you a lot of money in the end :)

Heart
https://www.facebook.com/TheNomadCouple
Posted by Cat of Sunshine and Siestas on
I feel you on so much of this, Erin, even though I'm not traveling and have a settled life in Spain. I often feel that I'm being selfish to my parents and loved ones by choosing to live here, and worry about what adding kids to the mix will mean. For me, it wouldn't be just two years, but a lifetime. On the same token, I wouldn't want to do that to my partner, who would be completely lost living in the US because of his closeness to his family (I mean, he dragged me to see the apartment for sale on the same floor as his mother's!). Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy your time home!
Posted by Karin on
We make it work
Posted by Sarah @ A Week at the Beach on
Great post and I can understand. Will be interesting as your kids get older to get their perspective as well. They are living the only life they know, so missing birthday parties and play dates surely doesn't even register to them. The adventure with their family does! I look forward to following your adventures!!
Posted by Kalli on
Sheesh I know what you mean about the hair thing! How to carry around all the products to keep hair from being dry and frizzy...I'm recently enamored with coconut oil. Do you carry anything with you or try to buy stuff when you arrive? Anyone who says this lifestyle doesn't have its downsides has never tried it!
Posted by Julia on
Hi Guys,

Am really enjoying your blog. Many thanks for writing it and sharing with the world. We are planning on travelling the world with a 1 and 2 years old shortly..

Your blog gives me more confidence in doing this with two little ones. Would love to hear about more day 2 day things like how your children are sleeping / eating etc.. Are they anxious at all? Missing the routine / safeness of the same thing, day in day out? They look like happy little vegimites and must enjoy spending so much quality time with mum and dad.

I keep finding great pieces of info on your blog, like tonight, your treasure trove on accommodation. Please keep it up.
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