No One Wishes They Travelled Less When They Die.

So many people have dreams of travelling the world but never do anything about it. Don’t leave your gap year plans too long, tomorrow may never come and by then it may be too late.

How many of you have freams of travelling the world? How many of you sit at work day after day wishing you could take a gap year or travel more? How many never actually do anything about it?

Because that is the big issue here isn’t it? How many people are out there right now living a life that they will regret when the time comes to look back?

As a nurse I have seen a lot of people reach the end of their lives. Some of them naturally at the end of a long life, some far too young after an illness or sudden accident, and I have seen far too many of them look back with regret and say ‘I wish I had’.

I have seen those who reach the end of a long life and regret not having taken the opportunities to see the world and follow their dreams, and I have seen those who die far too young without ever getting the chance to.

Don’t be one of those people.

Life Really Is Too Short.

The world is full of people who have pursued a life filled with adventure, who have travelled the world and pushed the limits of their own mind and body to achieve truly astounding feats. They have seen the world, conquered mountains, traversed entire oceans and overcome challenges that seemingly elevate them above mere mortals to the realms of godhood.

There Is Nothing Worse Than Having Dreams Of Travel And Not Following Them.

Like these demigods of humanity, there are some people out there who fill every single day of their lives – no matter how long or short – with adventure. They push their limits and constantly strive to see new things, be in new places, experience new things! They have dreams, wishes, desires, and they go out and do something abouy it!

They don’t wait around for that ‘one day’ to come. They don’t say ‘oh, maybe next year’. They go out there and chase the things that will make them happy, they fulfill their purpose in life and they make damn sure that they won’t have any regrets about not doing those things in the future.

Yet most people just sit in front of the TV day after day wishing they could do that, putting those dreams off, procrastinating, deluding themselves that there will always be a better time. Until there isn’t.

Most people just sit and vegetate, going to work day after day in a job they couldn’t care less about to pay bills they hate paying to live a life that barely has any meaning. What is the point?

Now please don’t misunderstand me, not everyone has dreams of travel. I get that. I don’t understand it but it’s true. There is nothing wrong with living a settled life with a house, bills and the two point four kids and a picket fence if that is your dream. If living that life and enjoying a hobby of painting or working on your dream car at the weekend is your dream then good on you. If that is what makes you truly happy then all power to you and I’m truly happy for you. Really.

But for those of you who have other aspirations, for those of you who dream of seeing the world in all its magnificent glory, for those of you who sit in your little cubicle or fight falling asleep on the morning commute and dream of something bigger, something grander and do nothing about it, then that is tantamount to slow suicide my friends.

There is nothing worse than having dreams of world travel and not following them.  It’s like my favourite quote says very accurately, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did do.

I have talked quite a lot in the past about that famous quote by Mark Twain. It is my favourite quote and one that I personally try to live my life by. What a lot of people don’t know is why it is my favourite quote.

It is because I have seen what happens when people don’t follow it.

As I said before, I’m a nurse, and unfortunately I have watched a lot of people die. It’s part of the job. Some at the end of a long life, many others in their prime, and some who barely had a chance to see what this life could offer them. It’s a horrible truth, a terrible privilege, but there it is.

I have spoken with people in their final days, listening to them tell me of the things they had done in their lives, and of the things they wished they had done. Many are content, having raised families and having lived full lives, many wished they had taken more time to do the things that they realised too late were important. I have worked in vain to save the lives of the young after terrible accidents or wrong decisions who will never have that chance.

I have seen with my own eyes far too many lives cut tragically short and I have seen far too many people reach the end and say ‘I wish I had’.

As a nurse I know first hand that none of us know how long we have got on this earth. I know for a fact that those tired old clichés are true. Life is far too short. It is far too fragile. Far too short and fragile to just waste not following your dreams.

Michael Huxley Masada Sunrise Tour clifftop view over the Dead Sea Israel

Everyone Always Thinks There Is More Time. Until There Isn’t.

Impending death tends to bring a clarity of thought that rarely happens beforehand. When people see that they are reaching the end of their lives all those unfulfilled dreams are laid out in front of them like an eternal to do list. A bucket list that is destined to never be crossed off.

Health – life itself – is a gift that is far too easily squandered on the minutia of living. It is far too easy to spend a few extra hours at work. Far too easy to waste hours and days on social media or in front of the TV. Far too easy to concentrate on your own inconsequential concerns instead of concentrating on what is truly important. Far too easy to push those travel dreams aside and say there is always next year. Far too easy to give into fear and doubt instead of being courageous and spending every minute of every day reaching their true potential and following their dreams.

Don’t Waste Your Life, I Beg You.

Again, not everyone dreams of travel, but if you do then heed these words. If your dream is to travel and see the world then do it!

Live your dream! Go now! What are you waiting for? Permission? You don’t need it! A planned itinerary? You don’t need one! Someone to go with you? You don’t need them! Because here is the real secret that the travel industry won’t tell you, you don’t need any of that! Pick a place you want to see, and go there. It is that simple. No excuses.

Happiness is a choice. It really is. And if travelling the world is what will make you happy then do it. You are the only one who can make that happen. Most people only realise that fact at the end, when it is far too late to do anything about it.

Don’t be one of those people.

No one ever wishes they travelled less when they die.

Only you can make the decision to go out there and grab the life that you want! No one else can do it for you. If you want that life filled with adventure, if you want to spend your life travelling the world, hopping from island to island or exploring ancient temples and new cultures, then it is you who has to make that decision. It is you that has to get off your backside, get that ticket and go!

When you do get to the end of the line and you look back on your life, make sure the flashbacks are worth watching!

Did you enjoy this article? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or on my Facebook or Twitter pages and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons. If you want to get more great backpacking tips, advice and inspiration, please subscribe to updates via email in the box to your right.

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Michael Huxley is a published author, professional adventurer and founder of the travel website, Bemused Backpacker. He has spent the last twenty years travelling to over 100 countries on almost every continent, slowly building Bemused Backpacker into a successful business after leaving a former career in emergency nursing and travel medicine, and continues to travel the world on numerous adventures every year.

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16 comments on “No One Wishes They Travelled Less When They Die.
  1. Tony Chan says:

    Your post could not have come at a better time! I’m in the final 4 months before a leave for a 13 month RTW trip. I’ve been planning it for the past 2 years. Reading, researching, dreaming has been a lot of fun. Now, however, it’s becoming more and more real. The date is fast approaching. I see myself leaving all my friends and family, spending the money I’ve saved up for the past year, being on my own, it’s becoming scary.

    I think to myself, is this dream too big for me? Did I bite off more then I can chew? Then I think, I can still back out… After reading this, I give my head a shake! I remember why I made this decision, why I started in the first place. I’ll never live with myself if I don’t follow through.

    Thanks for all you to Michael! It doesn’t go unnoticed!

    • Thank you Tony, the part just before you actually leave is really exciting! Enjoy it, don’t be scared of it! I’m glad this article gave you that reminder though, because believe me you will never regret taking this time for yourself. Have a great time, and make sure you let me know how you get on out there? Maybe I’ll see you on the road somewhere. 🙂

  2. Kate says:

    Wow, so true. Sometimes it’s so easy to forget that.

  3. Ayla says:

    From one demigod to another 😉 I totally agree! If you want to do something then you should just do it. Life is way too short and we have to make the most of every single day we have. I may have a full time job that isn’t exactly the most amazing job in the world but I fill all my spare time with adventure, travel and fun and I love my life! In fact I probably do too much because I hardly get enough sleep or downtime. Is there such a thing as having too much fun?!

    • Never! There’s such a thing as too much work, but fun and adventure? Not a chance! ;D Even full time jobs aren’t a barrier to living life to it’s fullest and you are an awesome example of that Ayla! Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  4. thegrownupgapyear says:

    This is exactly why I decided to take a gap year in the last year of my 20s. I thought to myself: ‘What am I going to remember more, another year sat at my desk or a year travelling around the world?’ It was the best decision I have ever made!

  5. wayfaringcanuck says:

    I think I’ve probably said this in 99% of my previous comments to you, but you just have this knack for taking the thoughts I’ve been thinking lately and putting them into oh-so-elegant words. Well written!

    Sometimes I just want to go up to all of those people sitting in front of the TV wishing they could do something different — I know quite a few of those people — and just give ’em a shake. You CAN do it! Priorities, determination. That’s all it takes.

  6. Fabio says:

    This article is painfully true. I received a massive shock a few months ago where I learnt how fragile life is, I knew from then I had to get out and “live” before it was too late. I’m now out travelling and it’s helped me so much. Great article.

  7. alicesgapyearadventures says:

    So, so, so true! I don’t envy you your job, I really don’t know how you can do it. It must really bring it home seeing things like that just how important it is to live your life while you can. Amazing post as always!

  8. Michelle says:

    What a great post. You are completely right of course!

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Hi, I'm Michael! I'm a former nurse turned published author and world travelling professional adventurer! I have spent over twenty years travelling over 100 countries and I want to inspire you to do the same! Want to know more about me? Just click here!

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