My top 3 travel regrets

“Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.”
– Victoria Holt


Ah regrets. We all recount and share our travel experiences around the planet but we hardly (if ever) discuss the not so pleasant things that happened (or missed).

Who does not have any regrets? We all do!

I would have, could have, should have, you know those right?

For whatever reason we did not do something due to:

bad advice
our gut told us otherwise
other mysterious reasons

I have had my share of adventures and there is so much I have not spoken about. So you may be surprised.

Would you like to know what are My Top 3 Travel Regrets?



Ready for the juicy stories? Let’s go!

1- Love found in France and lost in Spain

My 2 month whirlwind tour of Europe was coming to an end. I was traveling from Italy, via France, on the way to Spain by overnight train. I was the only passenger in the compartment, so I claimed my sleeping berth.

Somewhere along the way, a group of backpackers got on board in the south of France. Among them was Dan, a fellow Canadian from Vancouver.  As soon as we saw it each other it was as if we had known each other before.

We hit it off immediately and we simply could not stop talking! We kept whispering until sleep got the best of us!

We woke up abruptly at dawn to change trains at the French-Spanish border and soon we were at our final destination, the ever amazing Barcelona.

I had already a place to stay while Dan and his crew did not. We exchanged emails, promised to see each other before I was due to leave for London to catch my flight back home to Canada.

We did meet again and it was so much fun! I never believed I could fall for a complete stranger but it happened!

Barcelona, España, Spain, beach, playa, catalunya

At the beach in Barcelona

Now I had to leave the city, so we decided to work things out in spite of the distance.

While I was busy with my move to another city and new job, he was exploring beautiful Spanish cities (Seville, Granada, Malaga etc). I would get extra long emails detailing everything from the sights to the food and what not 😉

I don’t know but somehow work and my new life kind of took over and our communication became sporadic and in the end it became almost a chore for both of us.

I truly regret not having put more effort and being more supportive of someone I truly cared about and loved (especially someone who loved travel as much, if not more, as I did).

So the lesson I learned is that long distance relationships are quite a challenge and it takes two fully committed persons to make it work or it simply ends 😦

Next time I will be more understanding and support my life & adventure companion.

2- Be the change you want to see

Nothing had quite prepared me for South Korea. I went to live and work there the first time back in 2001-2002.  It was going to break me apart or make me stronger.

I travelled to the Far East all alone and found myself in a parallel universe. Everything was so different, totally the opposite of what we were used to in the Western World!

I went across the globe literally only to find myself thrown in the ring (a.k.a teaching) with absolutely no training, no guidance, no help, nothing, zip, nada.

That threw me off and made me quite unhappy. Frankly, I was quite miserable for the first 3 months. I did not have any friends (co-workers were not too helpful). My only support was my family and friends back home and how can I forget the almighty!

I managed the best that I could but one day I knew that something had to give. Something had to change…my attitude, my outlook, my feelings.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

So instead of resisting and fighting the power, I decided to observe and try to understand their TKO (Typical Korean Operation Mode). Do as they did and just go with the flow and not take it personally!

That created an almost immediate change. Even my kids were happier and I had much more fun teaching them in class and during our many field trips.


I became more understanding and accepting that I even had a conversation with the director with the help of a mediator (a Korean teacher) who translated for me. We agreed to work in a better environment and if there were any other problems or difficult situations that we would talk it out and not hold it in because communication is really important.

This allowed me to have better relationships with my kids’ parents who came to see me to simply say “thank you for teaching my child. We appreciate your time, effort and love”. Their kids were almost my kids and they got the best I could offer them. I completed my 1 year contract and learned what diplomacy was and be calm under pressure.

I really regret not preparing mentally, emotionally and professionally. It is a privilege to be able to travel to the other side of the planet, be hosted (live rent free for a year), earn a nice salary (it got better) and knowing that you created a positive impact on many young lives is just priceless.

I learned that a positive attitude is everything 🙂

3-Write something worth reading or do things worth writing

My last regret is not having written down as many juicy details about my adventures!

I remember seeing everyone on the train, bus, and airplane writing down their experiences on a notebook (yes the good old days).

I simply decided to just live the moments to the max and capture them with my camera.

How times have changed! Now with all the new technology, everything is made much easier, instantaneous.

In all honesty, I think it isolates people more and more. Not long ago I went to Toronto for a long week-end and I thought young travelers would say hello at least or chat a bit but none of this happened. They only had eyes for their iPads, iPhones, Mac Pros (Ok Apple, I get it, you dominate the market but I’m staying loyal to HP & Samsung no matter what!).

Call me old school if you will, but I still love writing a postcard.

travel,  postcards, rtw

World postcards sent to my family

Sometimes I write posts (like this one) on a real paper pad (yes it’s double the work but love it). It’s therapeutic!

 handwriting, writing pad, blog post

Writer’s block conquered!

I have plenty of stories to tell but they are in my memory and I must save them somewhere so that my future kids can have an idea of who I am and what I lived 🙂

All in all I may have these regrets but I do understand now why they happened and only wish the best to all.

We all live and learn. Life is after all a series of  one great adventure after another, don’t you agree?

OK so those were my 3 travel regrets. Now I would like to invite the following persons (and fellow travelers) to share their own stories! Surprise us 🙂

Feel free to tag other travelers in return. Let’s keep it going!

Don’t forget to mention me in your post and let me know once it is published so that I can retweet it through social media.

Eira @Eira_Abroad

Savannah @sihpromatum

Andrea @InspirngTrvlrs

Sonja @happyhoyt

Ardun @ardunward

Raul @ilivetotravel

Tom @waegook_tom

The Guy @theguy37796972

If you wish to be included in the list let me know 😉

Until next time

Love always

Kay 🙂


25 thoughts on “My top 3 travel regrets

  1. Great post Kay! I can’t believe you let that guy get away! The universe must have other plan for you my friend 🙂 I’ve been thinking of my travel regrets and cannot think of three so I may struggle here. How bout I tell you one now? I was in Egypt and jumped on a boat to visit a temple and before boarding, a local held out a shirt for me to buy. I told him it was too small to avoid buying the shirt. Little did I know he would have a shirt in my size on my return. He smiled and offered me the shirt for only one Egyptian pound (about 20c Aussie) and I still refused.
    My regret is not buying that shirt from the man who went to this length for me. True I did not need it, but I feel he probably needed the one pound more than I did.
    That’s all I’ve got 🙂

    • Ah Ardun, don’t remind me that it hurts even years later. I had to let it out and that’s why I decided to share it.

      He was it: handsome, traveler, smart, funny. An awesome guy (won’t go into details ha ha). I now know what love at first sight means!

      You don’t truly understand until you actually live it. I see this as a karmic connection as it was really quite something, a magic attraction 😉

      Oh well, it will remain as one of my most beautiful memories and also a regret. Silly me, I will be more understanding, supportive and cheer on for my life companion 🙂

    • OMG you got to be kidding me! Ardun, are you serious?

      That is bad, im sorry but it is..the poor lad was just trying to make a living and you refused (*Karlita cries*)

      You could have gotten it and gave it away to someone else…we all need a t-shirt he he

      Please write it in a post! Does that still haunt you or do you truly regret it?

      I can write a foot long list of regrets trust me.

      You can perhaps find travel regrets regarding photography equipment or photos of places you should have taken….just making some suggestions.

      Ah life, it’s quite something isn’t it?

      Thank you for taking the time to reply.

      Have a great one! TTYL 😉

  2. Dear Karla, I am so glad I tagged you! What a beautiful post from the heart.

    Too bad about #1, but experiences like these teach us well… And your Korea story is so inspiring. Si se puede!! I absolutely love the quote at the beginning of the post. How very true.

    Postcards and notebooks? YES! Absolutely, even if Apple comes up with an iChip or something to implant in our brains and turn thoughts into posts instantly.

    Great post.

    • Thank YOU for thinking of me!

      This was a great exercise that definitely made me go back in time & bring out feelings & memories I had long forgotten 😦

      It was like a relief letting it go!

      I did learn all the necessary lessons and I am much stronger & wiser today 🙂

      Yes, I will also stick to postcards and notebooks no matter what technology develops!

      Thank you for taking the time to visit.

      *Abrazos* Karlita 🙂

  3. What an incredible post! While I couldn’t relate to your regrets, I’ve definitely had some of my own. I wish that I had traveled solo more before I married Lucas for sure!

    • Thank you bella.

      Yes we all have our own experiences. It definitely teaches all the lessons we need to learn!

      Can you share at least 1 more travel regret? I’d love to hear about it 😉

      Thank you for taking the time to visit! TQM XO

    • That’s awesome.

      I thought I was one of the few that still likes to jot down ideas as they come and then go with the flow.

      I sincerely wish I had written more details of my adventures in the Old Continent as there were so many funny & important experiences.

      They are still in my memory and they will come out with time 😉

      I appreciate you taking the time to visit.

      All the best

      K 🙂

    • Thank you so much Jessica!

      Writing about them was quite an emotional release. I had not shared it with anyone as it was quite personal but now I feel as if a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

      I also wonder what would have happened had I continued my long distance RL. I look back and just think it was a beautiful memory and I am truly grateful it happened. I wish him nothing but the best because he is 1 of the best things that has ever happened in my life!

      He was a great teacher and I learned so much. Opening my heart to a complete stranger was extraordinary and it took him to make me truly believe. I am a believer 😉

      So many great things happened after that, so we both did what we had to!

      I read your awesome post & left a comment 🙂

      You will go back to those places and will be amazed.

      I appreciate the time you took in writing and for visiting.

      All the best,

      Karla xo 🙂

  4. More and more often I see backpackers glued to their electronic devices. I used to think it was silly, but maybe they were all digital nomads and had serious business to take care of. Then again, probably not.

    • Well technology keeps progressing at a really fast pace. It is good and not so good.

      I bring my laptop & smart phone when I travel now as it makes my writing so much easier.

      However I can still be old school like I mentioned and write a post on a notebook or pad.

      I also like to talk to people face to face and get to know who they are but nowadays people are glued to their devices that they send you a clear message not to bother them.

      Oh I also don’t think they are digital nomads, they are digital addicts!

      Hope you are doing well where you may be!

      Happy travels 😉

  5. Love the post! I do say that you should never live with regrets, but you bring up great points! If I could have done something differently in my travels, perhaps I would not have let myself get stressed about time and resources towards the end of my 15 month so that I could have enjoyed my final days in Thailand to the fullest!

    • Thank you so much!

      Well it’s true that you can’t live with regrets or guilt but things happen!

      We just learn and move on right?

      Oh wow you were in Thailand a long time! You must have plenty of great stories 😉

      Life is too short, we must live to the max & enjoy everyday!

      Thank you for stopping by 😉

  6. I will write something this weekend hopefully as I too have some travel regrets! And I too still live postcards!!!

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