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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, and we’ve been talking about going somewhere for our collective birthdays. Many ideas were considered, but we all love theater 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 an $8000 $12,000 student loan, which I will need to start pay back starting in November. Granted this student loan not as bad as it could be, but it is worse than no loan or debt at all. I have a small amount, about $200, worth of credit card debt that I’ll be paying off right away. Then I have about $900 saved for this trip. My flights have been paid for, and so have a couple of excursions, but the hotel, food, and other expenses will need to be covered.

When it comes to traveling there are two big factors that come into play, and often they are on reverse ends of the spectrum. Many people have the money to travel, but not the time. I have the time to travel, but not the money, at least not if I sit down and think about yet. Financially I probably shouldn’t go on this trip, but I will because travel is my addiction. When I’m not traveling or planning a trip, I feel like a shell of who I am. Once I start traveling, or planning a trip then I feel like myself. When that happens, the idea of doing more travel becomes inherently easy.

This is why 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 traveler 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 and traveled 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.

Photo of Vieux-Montreal, the oldest part of the city.

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 fellow 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, 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. Maybe 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 it’s a huge mistake. Even when it’s exhausting. Even when I can’t afford it. Even when I should probably stay at home, be practical and look for a stable job. Even when all those factors and more are taken into consideration I can’t regret traveling. Ever.

Another thing I know is that traveling is addicting, and that traveling leads to more travel. So here I am finally committing to a trip to New York City in 6 weeks, when some people would 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 Responses to On Travel Regrets and Being a Creature of Habit

  1. Charli | Wanderlusters March 11, 2014 at 5:26 AM #

    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!

    • Alouise March 11, 2014 at 6:32 PM #

      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. Stephanie - The Travel Chica March 12, 2014 at 6:39 PM #

    We both agree that travel is addicting and there are no regrets.

    • Alouise March 16, 2014 at 2:10 PM #

      Yes travel is addicting. Not sure if everyone I know sees it that way, but I know the travel community understands.

  3. Em March 13, 2014 at 7:59 PM #

    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.

    • Alouise March 16, 2014 at 2:15 PM #

      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.

  4. Lindsay March 14, 2014 at 11:57 AM #

    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..

    • Alouise March 20, 2014 at 4:54 PM #

      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.

  5. Mary @ Green Global Travel March 16, 2014 at 8:05 PM #

    You’re right. Travel is addicting and you should never regret a trip! 🙂 I love you view on this subject. Thanks for sharing!

    • Alouise March 20, 2014 at 4:56 PM #

      Thanks for the comment Mary. I might worry before a trip, but I never regret any of the travels I do.

  6. Marcello Arrambide March 30, 2014 at 9:49 AM #

    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!

    • Alouise April 2, 2014 at 4:54 PM #

      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.

  7. Abby March 31, 2014 at 10:08 AM #

    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!!

    • Alouise April 2, 2014 at 9:20 PM #

      It’s so true isn’t it. There is either time to travel or money, so I probably should travel while I have the time. Thanks for the comment Abby.

  8. Alli April 7, 2014 at 12:47 PM #

    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?!

    • Alouise April 11, 2014 at 2:30 AM #

      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.

  9. elaine schoch May 21, 2014 at 1:10 PM #

    Enjoy NYC! Try to make it to New Orleans if you can – one of my favorite cities!

    • Alouise May 24, 2014 at 3:17 AM #

      Thanks Elaine. Just got back from NYC and it was wonderful. Would always love to go back to New Orleans too.

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