I’ve done a lot of stuff over the last three years that I never imagined I would. For the full story, check out my Travel Blog. I never, even a little over four years ago, would have guessed I would have done what I have done, achieved what I have achieved, experienced what I have experienced. Sometimes things just happen than give you a nudge in the right direction.
In short, for those new here, I met a lovely young lady who had already arranged to go travelling for 18 months. I was living in a nice house next door to the world’s worst neighbour who was – no exaggeration – driving me insane. Seriously over the edge. I’d bought my house when it was cheap and it had doubled in value. My job, for a great company and with wonderful co-workers, was pretty dull.
In short, I had a lot of reasons to go. A woman to follow, a neighbour to escape from and the funds to do so.
I’m no longer with that woman. In fact, I’m no longer with the next one either! I am, however, the owner of two passports (one full, one getting there), a PADI Divemaster card, and a collection of photos and stories that are simply staggering to me.
This isn’t a post to show off. This is a post to make you sit up and think “I should do that” if you’re at all able. And the reason for this is a story I heard today. It’s a sad one and very true.
To maintain confidentiality I shall use “a friend of mine” as the source. She is a schoolteacher and one of the children she taught last year is nine years old. He has a five year old sister. Last weekend they were sorting out a new hamster cage in preparation for getting the animal itself.
Their mum felt a little weird, and a headache was developing so she went for a lie down. Shortly after she called for her husband – the pain was getting far worse so they called for an ambulance.
By the time she made it to hospital she was brain dead.
Within two days, the machinery keeping her alive had been switched off.
She was 37.
And with no medical history that pointed to the fact that this might happen.
By all accounts she was very well liked and a wonderful mother to her two children. At least she had the time to bring them both into the world. She achieved something.
I sometimes wonder “what if” I’d not sold up and left. I’d still have a house and (possibly) a steady job. I’d likely own an X-Box360 and a pool table and have a home cinema. But I’d have missed out on the biggest adventure I could ever have hope to have. Walking across Europe, sky-diving, working in a temple in Thailand with baby tigers for crying out loud.
Then I hear about someone like this being taken at such an early age – barely a year older than I am now – and all my regrets vanish.
You only live once. If you’re lucky you’ll get maybe 70-80 years on this planet. If you’re less fortunate, maybe half that. Or less.
Don’t think “I wish…”.
For me, it was seeing foreign countries and really pushing my independence. For you, maybe it’s a course in French or spending more time with your children.
Whatever it is – you can do it. It’s too easy to focus on material stuff these days: the flat screen telly, the bigger house, the flasher car. You don’t need them. Penny-pinch, save up, change arrangements, get rid of things you don’t use. You’ll be surprised how much you can make.
And go for it.
You only have one chance. It’s a huge, wonderful world. Don’t regret never giving yourself the opportunity.
You never know when your time is up.