My Biggest Travel Mistake: Not Going

Prompt #4: Everyone makes mistakes. We forget to ask for Coke without ice in Mexico and spend the rest of the trip in the bathroom. Or we arrive at the airport for a 7pm flight only to realize the flight left at 7am. Tell us the story of your worst travel mistake.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain

My biggest travel mistake was not going… sooner. Growing up, I was always fascinated by geography, globes, maps, and pretty much any story about a far off land. So naturally, I always thought someday I would travel. The thing I didn’t give much thought to was that I actually had to do something to make that happen. Of course, I didn’t think the passport fairy was going to come scoop me up and hand me a bunch of money to go galavant around the globe with, but I also didn’t do anything to make that “someday I shall travel” thought closer to reality.

I thought it would be fun to do study abroad in college, but considered that an option just for kids who’s parents were paying for school. I was completely preoccupied with paying for school and making sure I was going to have a future that I wanted and not have to rely on anyone financially. [“I can do it on my own!”]

So I got my passport my senior year of college in 2003 and started planning a trip to London that summer, and then decided I should move back to the NW and get a job, putting the “someday I shall travel” thought back where it started. And from 2003 onward, I regretted not taking a year to do study abroad… but I still didn’t do anything to make “travel now” happen. So when I had the chance to do a summer program in Marseilles as part of my MBA program in 2006, I was 100% “yes! yes! yes!” So three years after I bought my passport to go to London, I ended up there on my way to France. That first trip was one of the most exciting things to happen to me I made happen. And ultimately inspired my eventual RTW trip, because all I could think when I got back was “why can’t I do more of that?”

So here’s a picture of little Olivia on her first trip to London…

Just go!

What is your biggest travel mistake?

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