Tip Number 1: No Regrets.
I know that a common phrase among travellers is “always leave something for next time”, but I tend to disagree with that. It’s all well and good to say that you’ll go through that museum next time, or eat at that restaurant next time, or stop at that market next time, but what if there is no “next time” and this is it? The world is a huge place and life is constantly throwing things at us – wouldn’t you hate it if you didn’t make the effort or spend the extra few dollars to do that thing that you really wanted to do, only to find that you never have another chance to do it?
I was seventeen years old, standing at a pay phone in the foyer of a youth hostel in Vondelpark, Amsterdam. I was talking to my Dad back home in Australia, telling him about my adventures so far. I was on a mid-term break from the boarding school where I was working and had come for a week’s trip around the Netherlands and Belgium. It was springtime in Europe, and that meant tulips, tulips and more tulips. Just so you know – I love tulips. Dad was asking me what my plans were for the day and I told him that some of the other backpackers were going to Keukenhof for the day – the world’s largest flower garden, located about 40km outside of Amsterdam. It is especially well known for its tulips.
Dad asked me if I was going, and I said no, it was too expensive and was going to blow my budget. There was a pause, then my father said, “Sonia, when will you be able to go to Keukenhof again?” I replied that I didn’t know, maybe never. My Dad said “Then go. Do not have regrets.”
Needless to say I went and I loved it. I was so glad that my father convinced me to go, for as it happens it is now nearly two decades later and I have not yet returned to Keukenhof.
Travelling by the “No Regrets” philosophy doesn’t mean ticking off every single sight suggested by Lonely Planet or Tripadvisor. It doesn’t mean spending buckets of money that you don’t have doing things that mightn’t really interest you. I means simply making sure that you make the most of your limited time in a certain destination by having the experiences that really matter to you. Would a tulip-lover have regretted not seeing the largest tulip display in the world?
Some of my other “No Regrets” moments include:
- Monet’s Gardens at Giverny, France – I’m an impressionist art-lover from way back, and to see Monet’s house, his inspirational garden and his amazing collection of Japanese woodblock prints were truly memorable.
- Watching Balinese dancers in Ubud, Bali – we were staying in Seminyak but decided that we would pay the extra to take a trip from the beach up to Ubud in central Bali. It was a magical evening – eating a traditional Balinese feast, overlooking the rice paddies and then watching a traditional dance performance.
- Seeing sunrise over the Grand Canyon – it meant sleeping overnight in a car at the entrance to the park as all the cabins were booked out, but to see the light dance around the canyon and the colours changing was worth the cold and discomfort!
- All the way to the Top – if it has stairs and you can climb it, go up it! My husband and I have pretty much kept this rule throughout our travels together. We’ve been up this particular campanile in Siena, Italy twice now – and will probably go up it again! Nothing beats the birdseye view from the top of a bell tower, a mountain lookout, a city tower, an observation wheel, or a church’s dome – coming down always feels great too!
So promise me, don’t have any regrets on your travels. If you come across something that is right up your alley, don’t hesitate.
Also, a special mention to all of my new followers! Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and for your comments and likes! Come on over and see my Facebook page if you haven’t already.
x Sonia x