As much time as I've spent travelling unfortunately I've also spent some time regretting. The older you get the more your decisions matter. It's all one hilarious exponential equation. Every choice, no matter how mundane, will have an impact on your future.
Take one example. When I decided to spend a year living in a completely different city and teach English, I chose Busan in South Korea. This was at the end of 2009 and I finally landed in Busan in April of 2010. The significant part for me wasn't the decision to live abroad, and work and move to a place where I knew absolutely no one and almost nothing about the country and culture. It was the e-mails I sent out to recruiters to hire me. Then it was the telephone interviews I had with a few Canadian and American teachers working at private schools in Busan. The school that chose me was the reason I arrived in Korea on that specific day of that specific month. The co-workers I had at that school shaped my entire year, and the year following when I travelled around China and eventually returned to Busan for a visit. They were the life I made for myself. I still keep in touch with some of them today. I have no idea what would have happened to me if private school #3 hired me instead of #2, or #4, or ten.
At times I catch myself getting jealous over how people are living their lives. People work differently than me, travel differently, even North Americans who choose to live abroad all do it in their own unique way. When I let the jealousy pass I look back at how I did things, and the chance I was given (thank God I was hired when and where I was) and it's hard to say sometimes, but things worked out for the best.
When I catch myself going as far back as my life when I was 18, and wondering about how things would have worked out if I had picked another place to work during University, or friendships to keep, I know one thing is for certain: I probably would have ended up going to China no matter what. And it was an indescribable blessing that I found life in South Korea somewhere in between and along the way.
Life is a crap shoot. I can't believe I just realized this.
You know that saying "I wouldn't change it for the world", well, it's valid. We can't change it. The world is all we get. The only excusable regret is not giving ourselves the chance to fight off those jerks who think they can take what's ours.
And oh yeah, I met Colin Mochrie from Whose Line is it Anyway? tonight. He thinks I'm awesome, I swear, he even wrote it down.