I regret leaving Bangkok. There, I said it.
The first step is admitting it right?
A little backstory: For my first time out of the country, I went big and I went hard. In my 25th year of life I had a lot of personal shit hit the fan so I did what any sane adult would do and put a down payment on a TEFL certification course in Cambodia and bought a one way ticket to teach English in Thailand.
I had the grandiose plan to teach for at least a year and then either fall in love with Thailand and never leave or just follow my heart around the world teaching indefinitely.
Well, on the year anniversary of me stepping foot on that plane I found myself in an apartment and lease back at home and working as a bartender in a local restaurant again.
When it got tough in my life in Bangkok, I left. Again. I think I am seeing a trend here… but that’s a story for another day.
In all honesty, and after having almost 3 years to reflect on my decisions, I think my regrets and “what ifs” would be larger had I not left but that is something I will never know.
Travel regrets happen, you may choose to come home early, like me, or you may skip out on an activity or change your plans because of someone you met. Whatever the cause of it, regret can sneak in when you least expect it.
The thing to keep in mind is that you probably made the best decision for you at the time. There are a lot of factors that you block out in hindsight that may have been driving forces when you actually made the decision.
For me, my regret stems in the same place every epic story does, with the age old, I met a boy. 3 months before leaving I met this boy that was one of those I couldn’t toss away. It was crazy, hot and heavy quickly. We chose to stay together as I left and made it the entire time. Well, towards the end of my time in Thailand we started getting really rocky, and this was a factor in my choice to come home.
Thailand also bit me back, as I like to say. My first time abroad landed me in the hospital 5 separate times, mugged, and feeling very alone. It was a rough start that I never really came back from.
I was a pretty naïve first time traveler and I have always been pretty reckless and I let that recklessness carry over to my travels. I had no fear when it came to hopping on a moto and thinking I could drive it immediately. Hospital visits 1 and 2.
It kept feeling like I would build myself up and then get smashed back down.
For all of these reasons and more, I chose to quit. I regret not giving it a little more of a chance but I do think I made the best decision for me at the time.
When you’re traveling around the world and having a new adventure every day, listen to your gut. If it says to change your plans or do that spontaneous thing than by all means do it! You’re more likely to regret the things you didn’t do than the things you did!
Live by the seat of your pants and appreciate all of life’s curve balls. The best thing about travel? If you do choose to skip out on something and find yourself regretting it, guess what? You can always go back and try again!!