On Travel Regrets and Being a Creature of Habit

I have become a creature of habit. It was something I had tried to resist, but to be honest, I can’t help myself.

I’d dreamt of visiting New York City for a long time. In 2006, I got to go to New York with my mom on a short getaway to meet up with her friend. In 2010, I made an impromptu decision to go back to New York for a few days on my own. After that trip, I figured it would be many years before I found myself back in New York.

This year some friends and I are turning 30. We’ve been talking about going somewhere for our collective birthdays. We considered many destinations, but we all love theatre and urban travel, so New York City was decided as our birthday destination. While it would be nice to travel somewhere new, I do love New York City and going there always sounds like a good idea. So I happily accepted my fate that I would be going back to New York City for the third time.

I am not someone you should look to for financial advice. This trip is, in the eyes of many I’m sure, pretty stupid. As I start this trip, I will begin accruing interest on a $12,000 student loan, which I will need to start paying back in November. I have about $200, worth of credit card debt that I’ll be paying off right away. Then I have about $900 saved for this trip. I paid for flights and a couple of excursions, but I still need to pay for everything else.

When it comes to travel, two things factor into consideration, and they’re usually on reverse ends of the spectrum. Some people have the money to travel, but not the time. I’m the opposite. I have the time, but not the money. Financially I probably shouldn’t go on this trip, but I will because travel is my addiction. When I’m not travelling or planning a trip, I feel like a shell of who I am. Once I start planning a trip, then I feel like myself. When that happens, the idea of doing more travel becomes natural.

Last year a trip to go to Toronto morphed into a road trip across Canada, with additional time spent in Niagara Falls, Chatham-Kent, Montreal and Ottawa. Then going home turned into going on a road trip across the US, and taking a ferry from Port Angeles, Washington to Victoria, British Columbia, and then, finally flying home.

Last year my trip to Toronto (among other places) stemmed from the idea that if I wanted to be a traveller, I should travel. I’d never been anywhere outside the Edmonton region for longer than about two weeks. Last year I was on the road for about six weeks. My trip also stemmed from this fear that I would get stuck in a job or a life I didn’t want or wouldn’t be able to escape from once I got home. I was hitting the emergency panic button before anything had happened.

Old Montreal

Montreal, Quebec. A beautiful city I can’t regret visiting.

When I came home from that trip, I was exhausted. I wasted time on projects that could have waited, and I didn’t put enough time into the projects I should have. Once my University semester began in September, I was ready to look for a job, an internship that I could do for school to get the credits I needed to finish my degree. My focus had always been in technical writing. There was work in the field; it was something I was trained to do and more importantly it was something I enjoyed doing. By the time, I started looking those entry-level technical writing positions I’d wanted to apply for had vanished. Companies only seemed to be interested in senior writers, or those with an engineering degree, neither of which I have.

The past 8-months have been hard, and I’m not at all where I thought I would be. In many ways, I feel further behind than my classmates and writers, but I suppose making comparisons like that doesn’t help me. Perhaps I didn’t have my entire life planned out, but I did have the next year or so figured out. The plan was simple and attainable. That is until it wasn’t.

I’ve been thinking back to that trip I took last May, wondering if I made the right decision. Maybe I shouldn’t have stayed away so long. Perhaps I should have worked harder (yes it was a work trip) when I was on the road. It’s hard to know in retrospect, even now because I’m so close to the situation.

There are few things I do know though. One is that I can never regret my travels. Even when going is a huge mistake. Even when travelling is exhausting, and I can’t afford it. Even when I should probably stay at home, be practical and look for a stable job. When all those factors and more, I can’t regret travelling. Ever.

Another thing I know is that travelling is addicting and that travelling leads to more travel. Here I am, committing to a trip to New York City in 6 weeks when some might say I should stay home. Here I am not only looking at going to New York but extending my trip to go to Las Vegas or maybe New Orleans for a few days before flying home. These are places I’ve been to before, but the idea of going back to these cities is enticing and more than likely will happen. I’ve become a creature of habit, and I must feed my travel addiction.

Do you travel to the same places over and over again?

18 comments on “On Travel Regrets and Being a Creature of Habit

  1. I used to live for my creature comforts and regular routine, but travel has offered me the chance to break free of the things I thought bound me to my 9 to 5 and I love that. I’m so pleased to hear you’re heading off to NYC. It’s long been a city I want to explore, can’t wait to see what you get up to!

    • Thanks for the comment Charli. I love New York and would happily go back all the time, but I also know there are other places in the world I want to explore. Glad to hear that travel has had a positive effect on your life.

  2. I am a technical writer! Love what I do.
    Are you on Linkedin? There are a few tech writing related groups that publish job ads.
    Drop me an email if you want any more information.
    I also love travel, and thanks to work, will be heading back to the US next month for a conference in San Diego, followed by a holiday with my husband to Texas, Louisana, South Carolina, Georgia and NYC.

    • Thanks for information Em. I’ve met a couple people who balance blogging with technical writing, and get contract work as a technical writer is my goal. I’m just in the position of starting out, so it’s finding a way to get my foot in the door (so to speak) that’s the hard part.

  3. There is no “should”- stay home and find a practical job or anything else. Don’t let people put you in a box. Traveling is the best education we can get! You made the right decision..

    • Thanks for the comment Lindsay. If I start thinking about it too much I might get too anxious and never travel, but whenever I do travel it does always seem like the right decision.

  4. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going back to places you’ve visited before. I myself decided to live in Medellin, a city I’ve visited before and fell in love with! 😀

    As long as you’re happy, you shouldn’t be bothered by your decisions 🙂

    Cheers!

    • Thanks for the comment Marcello. I try not to regret traveling to the same places again, but there are a lot of new places I want to travel to as well. I think you’re right though – if I’m happy then it shouldn’t matter.

  5. I’ve learned over the years that you either have time or money. Whenever I go back to work and have a hard time finding a long weekend, let alone a substantial amount of time, to take a trip, I regret not traveling more when I had my freedom — even though money was tight.

    I lived in NYC for five years and love it with all my heart. Enjoy!!

  6. So much of your words resonated with me. Especially how you feel like only a “shell” when you aren’t planning or in fact, traveling. I’m with you on that one. Travel really is the only thing in life you can buy that makes you richer. You will never forget your travels and adventures! You’ll figure out the rest in good time, it will all work out. Just keep living in the moment, and try not to worry so much. Nothing wastes more time than worrying! 🙂 And I gotta ask . . . what on Earth brought you to Chatham-Kent?!

    • Alli thanks so much for the wonderful comment. Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in the trivial day to day stresses, but I always know that I can never regret travel. I was in Chatham-Kent last year after TBEX Toronto on a press trip. It was really interesting, there’s a lot of history there that I, as a Canadian, had never even heard about before.

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