Something I Should Have Done Ten Years Ago

At last.

When this post goes live, I will be en route to Bogotá, Colombia, the start of my 3 month (minimum) trip abroad. It’s the first long-term travel I’ve ever done.

I am so excited. I am totally stoked. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am.

The first part of my trip will be spent in Bogotá volunteering with a social organization. I will be helping underprivileged folks with technology skills, spending time with abandoned and displaced youth, and teaching some English.

I will also be going like mad to become fluent in Spanish. This will be relatively easy because Spanish will be absolutely everywhere in Colombia. Maybe I’ll take a fluency test at some point to see if I’ve officially “made it”.

The latter part of my trip is still uncertain. I’m tentatively planning on traveling around Colombia, via CouchSurfing and/or staying in hostels. I would like to visit the Caribbean cities like Barranquilla, Cartageña, and Santa Marta, as well as Medellin. But, as of now, it is a little bit up in the air.

I have always wanted to go abroad and do these things but am finally pulling the trigger at age 28.

Honestly, though, I should have done this 10 years ago.

I don’t live with regrets, as I believe every person lives life forwards, not backwards. But, if I were to talk to my 18 year old self, I will tell him to hop on a plane and go abroad.

This got me thinking…

Radical idea: In 10 years, what will you regret not doing?

You’ve probably heard the saying “You regret more what you didn’t do than what you did.” Well, many of my own personal regrets involve good things I am doing now which I wish I had started earlier.

I wish I had started my business earlier. I wish I had learned Spanish earlier. I wish I had gone abroad earlier.

What if we applied this looking forward rather than looking backward?

What if you said to yourself, “In 10 years, I wish I will have done x”, and then you go out and do x. So, instead of conceding that you can’t do the things you deeply want to do and will have those regrets, what if you made it a principle to do the things you want to do? In other words…

Is there something 10 years from now you will regret not doing? Do THAT.

All of those things you really want to do, make it a principle to move towards them now. If you can’t do them this very second because they take a longer period of time to complete, ask yourself: What is the next actionable step I can take to move towards this? Then do it.

Don’t put off your dreams and have regrets. Put off your fictional self and go get your dreams.

  • This philosophy is one I live by – and it is the reason I lived and studied in Europe for 6 months in 2009/2010 and now in 2011 will be on a one-way flight to South East Asia with no definitive plans as to where I will go or when I will return.

    I can imagine how excited you are feeling right now… you will seriously have the time of your life! (You have probably heard that a few times before, but I am serious when I say it)

    • Ryan


      Love your attitude. Go for it man.

  • Awesome! So excited for you. Can’t wait for the updates from Columbia. In 10 years I would regret not spending more time in Indonesia. That’s why we are making it happen this year.

    • Ryan

      Boomshakalaka, Matt! Now’s the time to go for it, and I’m so glad I’ve met someone who realizes the time is now.

      Here we go, man! Can you feel the excitement!?

  • Oooo!

    I am 28 too and while I wish I would have done this 10 years ago, I’m not sure I would have appreciated the opportunity like I do now. Best of luck to you and I’m stoked about reading your adventures!

    • Ryan

      Erica, you’re 28?? Welcome to the AWESOME club 🙂

      I’m glad to see you are of the adventurous ilk… This year is a great year to go! I’m glad to watch your travels as well.

  • I can totally relate to this. When I was 18 I wanted to go to Europe, but I listened to what everyone else said and stayed home. I haven’t backpacked it, but I did take a trip a couple years back and Europe is not nearly as scary or dangerous as my friends and family made it out to be. As a line in one of my favourite musicals says (Rent) “forget regret, or life is yours to miss.” I’m looking forward to going back to Europe in the next few years (a little difficult right now with school). Hope you have a wonderful time in Columbia.

    • Ryan

      Thanks for the comment, Alouise. Glad you broke free of the pre-established perceptions, and I wish more of it for you in the future!

  • Best of wishes with your journey! It’s awesome that you’re finally taking your long-awaited trip abroad.

    • Ryan

      Thanks Lauren! Best wishes for your journeys as well.

  • Good luck! I love how you say Spanish will be everywhere. I should think so! But I’m really glad I went for it, too.

    • Ryan

      Hey Kaley! Spanish is sooo everywhere here! I am eating and drinking Spanish… I am sleeping with Spanish… I am washing my face with Spanish. 🙂

  • Eager Existence

    I’m also 28 and traveling solo long-term for the first time. I’m a month in to a year (or more) trip. Good on ya for taking the plunge!

    • Way to go, man! Better late than never, that’s for sure. Buen viaje!

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  • I’m 28 and I haven’t gone outside my own country. Sucks right? 

    • Well, each day is a new opportunity, my friend!