The biggest travel regret

I desperately need to tell you about the biggest travel regret I’ve ever had, because I don’t want you to have the same. Everyone makes mistakes when they are travelling, it’s how we learn. But regret just lingers and it stinks.

Are you ready for it?

I didn’t write it all down.

There.

That’s it.

My biggest travel (and life regret).

But do you know what the worst part is?  I still don’t write it all down, and I’m kicking myself about it.

Regret. This is partly where the idea for Stories From a Backpack came from, an idea born from the regret of not writing it all down and not remembering the details. I wanted a place to share what I’d seen and felt and learnt.

I don’t want you to miss out on those big beautiful juicy memories, the ones that fade and float away. When you write it all down you remember everything in HD, you remember everything in vivid painstaking detail. You remember how you felt, what it smelt like, what it looked like and the anguish you went through to get there. Write it down.

Now I hear you saying, “Who cares, I’ve got my pictures, plus I’ll always remember those memories”. A picture tells a thousand words, and it might take you back to that moment, but eventually, that picture becomes the memory and not the actual memory itself. Pictures are great but don’t rely on them. They lie. They tell one side of the story and they miss out all the details. They show the smile, the view. They don’t show the sweat, the tears and the pain that all existed in the moment before your memory was frozen in time. Frozen by that one picture. So write it all down. Write down the memory behind the picture.

Sometimes (more often than not) when you return from a trip, it’s as if you never left. The people you missed, still drink in the same pub, your family still have the same routine. People may look a little greyer, a new shop may have opened on the high street but really, everything stays the same. The only thing that changes is you – how you think and how you feel.  When you’ve seen the world from another perspective your life won’t be the same ever again, and that is why you have to write about it.  In the blink of an eye, it’s 6 weeks later, a year later a decade later. Your memories have started to fade, you realise, you can’t quite remember the order you visited the Thai islands in, was it Koh Tao first of Koh Lanta? The image of Ayres rock has started to go a little fuzzy and you can’t quite describe the smell of a durian fruit. You can check your photos but they won’t tell you all the answers. The only way you’ll know is to read back over your notes – and for some places, I don’t have those notes.

Regret. Regret. Regret.

It lingers and it stinks.

I wish I’d written the name of the hostel we stayed at in Dehli. It saved my life in a number of ways and I’d love to waste some time at work, checking it out on google earth. I wish I’d written down how my anxiety plagued my experience of Vietnam and what I learnt from it. I wish I’d written down the details of the first day in our first ever home together in Australia, or about the party, we had on our last night. It’s the details that get lost.

So write it down. Write to remember and write so you don’t forget.

The best part about my travel regret, it’s not too late to start. Both for me and for you. Stories from a backpack is the place for faded memories and long-lost tales. Join me as we retrace our steps and relive some of the fantastic narratives from our travels. I’m going to dig deep and unearth some hidden gems of travel stories. Will you join me?

If you didn’t write it down, you can start now. And guess what??  I’m starting an incredible ‘stories from a backpack’ facebook group! This is an exclusive space for us to start sharing and listening to each others travel stories and memories. Share your experiences and learn from other peoples. Fancy joining in? Start writing your stories down and start sharing them with our group.

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