Life your life without regret. It’s something we all strive for. There are those who believe that the only things you regret are the ones you don’t do. I would have to agree. But then there are those instances in which you did something that was perhaps the best thing you could have ever done, but that had a somewhat negative effect. Hmm… actually, negative isn’t quite the word. Let me explain.
I will never regret the decision to study abroad. It may have put me into unnecessary debt, but I don’t regret a single penny. Aside from meeting one of my very best friends who I know I’ll have for life, it gave me the chance to see the world. It taught me how to step outside my comfort zone and learn how to deal with unexpected circumstances… and believe me, there were many. A leap into the unknown (looking back, I realize how much easier this was at 20 years old than it is now, but I digress…). Ultimately though, my four months in London and countless weekends spent galavanting across Western Europe gave me a taste for the forbidden fruit of traveling. I say forbidden because life now is not spent on the lovely dollars provided by Sallie Mae–which I’m still paying off, by the way.
All of the seven years since my once-in-a-lifetime experience have been spent with the desire to find a way to visit more places around the globe and America. Luckily I’ve been able to do so to a certain extent through some annual business trips, but they’re always to the same trite locales. While I am thankful to have the opportunity to do that–hey, it’s better than nothing!–I do wish I had the leisure and funds to continue the globetrotting way of life I so wished to embark on upon my return from London.
Ah, but then life happens. There are bills to pay and salaries not high enough to support much of any savings. This is the “real world.” And then add this economy. My hopes of getting very far out of Jersey have all but diminished lately. Well no. My hope never dims but realistically, it will be a while before I’m able to leave the country again or take a real vacation to some place I actually want to go, as opposed to one I have to go to for work. So you see, this travel bug is not so charming once you can’t indulge its every beck and call.
The next time I’m feeling nostalgic for the greener pastures of elsewhere, I will try to think of a specific memory from those days and hope that the fact that the memory even exists will at least make me happy, even if for just that moment. I realize that to the person who hasn’t traveled much, if at all, my whining sounds completely ungrateful. But I do know that most people don’t get to see even 1/4 of where I’ve been in their entire lifetimes, and I did it all by the age of 21. I just hope I didn’t peak then.