They say travel enriches one’s life and broadens one’s mind. As a frequent (solo) traveler, I have to agree! I have many amazing places and things during my trips, and have met many amazing people. And I know this holds true to my fellow travelers. But there are those few times when I wish I could have turned back the time, being a little braver, a little more compulsive, and done things a little bit differently.
Here are my six biggest regrets in my history of travels:
1. Visiting Muqal Cave in Wadi Beni Khalid in Oman half-heartedly – I went in only until the front inner part and one little hole to see a little bit of water, but decided to turn back. Missing the best part which is just straight left into what I imagined to be a dark abyss in my gullible mind. I supposed my mind became noisy, and my rational mind was telling me, a girl alone in a cave with a total male stranger when no one even knew he was taking me to the cave was sheer insanity. So my goal at that moment was just to get out as fast as possible. Having not researched on Oman prior to the trip (I decided on the trip one day before I was supposed to arrive), I was not aware what awaited me. What a shame! I was never comfortable underground in the first place and the other thoughts were not helping. The beginning part was actually the hardest, where we had to bend down / crawl through certain places.
2. Missing Marc Anthony’s concert in Medellin – The day before I arrived in Bogota, Colombia, a friend told me she had tickets to see Marc Anthony in Medellin on the same day I was supposed to arrive in Bogota. Unfortunately, a friend and I already planned and booked air tickets for pretty much most of our trip. Were I traveling alone I would have changed my plan! Do not get me wrong. I did have fun in Bogota with my bff, but living in Asia, it is hard for me to go to MA’s proper latin concert and find someone to go with.
3. Not going to the underground bunker in Moscow 18 floors deep, heritage of the Cold War era – I was never comfortable underground. The idea of being stuck in a lift underground terrified me to be honest. I decided to give this a miss while the rest of the group went ahead. Click here for a few of my Russian trip posts. Actually unbeknownst to the group, I had a change of heart and tried to get a ticket, but no one understood English and I had the worst level of Russian in the group. I did have fun doing the Russian subway tour in the meantime. I visited the most beautiful subway stations in Moscow.
4. Not seeing the silver mine in Potosí – I gave this a miss for obvious reasons! I had irrational fear of being trapped underground. And the stories about the trapped miners in Chile (who survived after being trapped) and the not-so-lucky ones in Turkey and China (Rest-In-Peace) just reiterated my fear. Furthermore, the Potosí mine is known to employ child labor and has horrendous conditions. The mountain where the mine is located, Cerro Rico, is losing heights and is at risk of collapsing upon itself. I did regret not seeing it, but I would have been traumatized and ruined for the rest of my still-long trip. I ended up doing a walking tour of Potósi, which is a quaint little Colonial town. I did have a great adventure on my trip, above ground! I fell in love with South America since my virgin trip in 2006. I have not looked back since.
5. Not staying an extra day to see the main square of Guatemala City and its museum – I regretted sacrificing Guatemala City. I could have cut a day in one of the other places to see the Guatemala City centre. Although it is known to be dangerous, especially at night, I would have loved to see the Mayan artifacts in the Museum of Archeology and Ethnology. I did love my Guatemalan adventures, especially Antigua and Lago Atitlan, and Copan trip, and would not trade my experiences for anything else.
6. Giving up on Mount Rinjani in Lombok after reaching the hardest, steepest, and stoniest part near the summit. I had to admit I was too ambitious. I went in 2011 during the times when I had no fitness regime. I went by myself. I wanted to do it overnight. Most people would do it in 4-5 days including the crater lake hike. I could not sleep at all. I woke up with a major sore throat and uncomfortable tummy. I decided to push on to summit, but I just did not have it in me. When I got to the stony part, I had it in my head that on the way down, I would slide down, not being able to brake and would fly off the cliff. It was an irrational yet powerful image I could not get over. Perhaps it was my body telling me I had reached my limit. Even without reaching the summit, my descend was complete torture. I was in pain from camp to the bottom. I fell countless times because my trekking shoes could not find traction in the dusty soil. I cried while descending from the pain and limped myself to the car that was sent to pick me up. I regretted not pushing myself and be tough enough to summit. I hope to return soon. (Note: I was so unprepared for this trip, I could not even find my photos!).
I wanted to write this post as a reminder to myself of the times when I subconsciously stopped myself from achieving what I actually wanted to do, and to always push myself a little harder next time. I am not an adrenaline junkie. I am not the fittest person. Yet, I think it is always important to push the boundaries. And if I can apply this to the other areas of my life, even better.
I am interested to know in your experiences and if you have travel regret(s) of your own. Please comment below.