Recently, I’ve been coming across many travel blogs launched by 20-somethings, four or five years ago, and who have now achieved a certain level of success (advertising revenue, product sales, press trips, sponsors, and so on). And I find myself thinking “Geez, if only the web had been around when I was in my 20’s”, or “Man, if only I had started this blog four years ago”.

And come to think of it, here are several “if only” and corresponding desirable results that often cross (or used to cross) my mind:

  • If only those foreign work visas for people under 30 had been available when I was under 30… (I could have lived and worked abroad when I was young instead of being stuck in Manitoba.)
  • If only I was a man… (I could travel to the Middle-East without hassles. I could share tea and play drums with the Tuaregs in the Sahara desert!)
  • If only I was younger… (Are you really waiting for me to elaborate on that one?)
  • If only my family had travelled when I was a kid… (I would have been able to travel as a kid instead of getting bored in suburbia.)
  • If only I had a travel companion… (There would be someone to hold the camera when I want to be in the picture or video, and accommodation would be much cheaper).
  • If only I had a partner who likes to travel… (I could explore all those romantic islands without feeling like a dork. And accommodation would be much cheaper.)
  • If only I didn’t get so seasick on boats… (I could go on all kinds of amazing boat trips).

Playing drums with the Tuaregs in Morocco (as part of a group).

Playing drums with the Tuaregs in Morocco (as part of a tour group).

For other people it might be:

  • If only I had a degree…
  • If only I was taller…
  • If only I lived in city X…
  • If only I had more money… (or if only I won the lottery…)

Those “if only” are often an excuse for not moving forward, for not trying to change a situation we dislike, or for not trying to pursue something we aspire to.

Some of those things we cannot change (gender, age, height, past history). But instead of constantly thinking of them as handicaps, we can see their positive side. For example:

  • Short people have an advantage in many parts of the world where buses have very little leg room (Latin America, Asia, etc.)
  • Older people have more confidence, and usually more money.
  • As a woman in a Muslim country, you may be able to get in touch with, or interview other women (which you could never do if you were a man).

Some of those things we can change: we can move to city X, we can make or save more money. We can find a travel partner if we really want to (or just get a tripod!).

As for all the things we couldn’t or didn’t do 5, 20, 40 years ago, we can either forget about them and move on. Or, if they are still important to us, why not do them now? What’s stopping us?

The best time to reach for that goal was probably five years ago. The next best time is NOW.

P.S. And you don’t need to win the lottery to go on a trip! Just keep reading BigTravelNut. (Apologies for the shameless plug.) 🙂

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