My three travel regrets

//My three travel regrets

My three travel regrets

I’ve been invited by Lola of Lola Travels to list my three travel regrets. Even though I couldn’t think of them right away, there’s no denying that there are a few. 

The notion of travel-related disappointments hardly enters my mind. I set off on my journeys with an open mind and expecting to have a good time, even though I realize that not every place or experience will be equally thrilling. The only potential regrets I could think of is avoiding a destination only because it’s off the mainstream travel radar (I’m glad I didn’t listen to warnings against visiting Tijuana), or… not traveling enough. 

Empire State Building at night

Two of my travel regrets involve NYC activities.

Yet, there are things that I didn’t do when I had the chance, and now I wish I had. Two of them involve New York City, a place I didn’t fully appreciate until the third visit.


During my first trip to NYC in 1999, I decided against going to a New York Yankees game at the original Yankee Stadium. On that day, pitcher David Cone threw a perfect game against the Montreal Expos.

I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with my choice, given that the exact scenario could never be repeated – the stadium has since been demolished and the Expos no longer exist (the team moved to Washington, DC in 2004).

My excuse? I was a new baseball fan back then, and rooting for the Chicago White Sox, not the Yankees or Expos. Plus, it didn’t even cross my mind that one day I’d set a goal to visit every Major League Baseball stadium. Now I think twice before saying no to a sports game on the road.


On my second visit to New York in 2000, I went to the World Trade Center plaza, but skipped the observation deck. I can’t quite recall why – perhaps I was more interested in going up the Empire State Building. The next time I saw the twin towers was on TV in September of the following year…

My wishing that the buildings were still there naturally has nothing to do with travel. However, the WTC plaza experience taught me to never take things for granted.


For as long as I can remember, I’ve been into foreign languages. My introduction to real-life French happened at the age of 11, when I briefly lived in Algeria and attended elementary school. I didn’t know much beyond bonjour and the numerals, but the immersion program quickly changed that.

Unfortunately, our family’s stay in Algeria was cut short due to domestic turmoil in the country. Learning the language didn’t continue much longer either, which nowadays is one of my biggest regrets.

If you look around JA, you might notice how much affection I have for Paris. Had I known years ago that I would develop this city-crush, perhaps I’d be fluent in French by now. But not all is lost – I have recently dusted off my textbook.

Luxembourg Gardens Paris

Had I known years ago that I would have a city-crush on Paris, I’d speak fluent French.

What about you – do you have any travel regrets? 

By | 2017-03-11T15:49:16+00:00 February 16th, 2013|STORIES|37 Comments

About the Author:

Pola Henderson is a travel writer, city explorer, expat, and event host. Traveling has been a part of her life since she was three. Pola grew up in Krakow, lived in Chicago for many years and is currently based in Paris, where she teaches Business English.


  1. avatar
    Karla February 16, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Thank you so much for tagging me Pola!

    We all have regrets but we learn from our mistakes and move forward!

    I will come up with 3 and will let you know as soon as I’m done!

    K ;)
    Karla recently posted..Weekly Photo Challenge: KissMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 16, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      I look forward to reading your post, Karla!

  2. avatar
    lauren dimarco February 16, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    love this Pola. every time i read anything about the twin towers my heart breaks all over again for that day and all those families. the photo of you in Paris is so so beautiful!!

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 16, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      Thanks, Lola! xx And yeah, I feel the same way about WTC…

  3. avatar
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin February 16, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    I really wish I kept up with my French from high school. It would have been nice when I studied abroad there.. or the countless visits after. :P
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..Double the Fun, a V-Day TributeMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 17, 2013 at 12:17 am

      Oh, to study in France… Sounds like a dream.

  4. avatar
    Anita Mac February 16, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    While regrets 1 and 2 may never be changed, at least you can do something about #3. Paris alone is worthy of learning french!
    Anita Mac recently posted..Lights. Camera. Dance: IglooFest Montreal – the outdoor winter party!My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 17, 2013 at 12:17 am

      Very true about Paris, Anita! Thank you… :)

  5. avatar
    Aaron February 17, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Thanks for tagging me Pola! You’ll see what I come up with soon. :) Got to see a lot of baseball stadiums (some that are gone now) on family trips growing up, the old Yankee Stadium not one of them. :( Lots of regrets too.
    Aaron recently posted..Michigan: Coastal Muskegon on a Winter Day.My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      I can’t wait to read your post, Aaron! Sad about the stadium, huh? I wish I could go back in time and see the old Comiskey in Chicago – it was gone way before I moved here.

  6. avatar
    D.J. - The World of Deej February 17, 2013 at 9:27 am

    So here’s one for you. I had always dreamed of going to the original Yankee stadium, and during the last season I finally decided to make it happen. Delta had other plans, and cancelled my first flight. Then the second flight got halfway to New York and turned around due to mechanical failure…at 2am. Frustrated, we cancelled the trip altogether as we’d have only been there one night. Never did make it to the House that Ruth built.
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..Surfing Under the Golden Gate Bridge – Pic of the WeekMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      You have got to be kidding… Unbelievable!! At least you can say it wasn’t your fault… Even though that’s probably not a big consolation.

  7. avatar
    Miret February 17, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Good to see no regrets involve Italy! ;-)
    Miret recently posted..La Veranda, Four Seasons MilanMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 17, 2013 at 11:30 pm

      Only that I haven’t been there enough!! :)

  8. avatar
    @mrsoaroundworld February 18, 2013 at 6:33 am

    Well… you can’t do anything about 1 or 2.. but 3 you can!
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted..A lux weekend in Amsterdam by @sabinedewitteMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      Very true, Ana… I’m trying to do something about 3 now. :) I mean, I can get by in Paris and order cafe creme, but that’s not enough anymore!

  9. avatar
    The World Wanderer February 18, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Great list! I actually never had the chance to go to the observation deck in WTC either (in fact, I’ve never done the Empire State Building either – guess that’s what happens when you are born and raised in the area). Also, my Dad tried to teach me French when I was younger, but I never was very good at languages, so I never actually learned. Now I regret it, because as you know, like you, Paris holds a piece of my heart. :)
    The World Wanderer recently posted..Music Monday: Rivers and Roads.My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      Thanks, Erin! I see what you mean about not seeing things in your own city – e.g. in Chicago it took me years to ride the Ferris Wheel.

  10. avatar
    The World Wanderer February 18, 2013 at 11:04 am

    BTW, after I read this, I started looking up flights to Paris…just so you know. ;)
    The World Wanderer recently posted..Music Monday: Rivers and Roads.My Profile

  11. avatar
    Sofie February 19, 2013 at 8:10 am

    I feel lucky living in a country that has three official languages Dutch, German and French). And although English isn’t an official language in Belgium, it’s understood and spoken by many, especially in Flanders where we watch a lot of English spoken television shows and movies.
    I wouldn’t say I speak all four languages perfectly, but being able to speak and understand Dutch, French and English (no German) sure helps while being abroad.
    Of course, when English is your mother tongue you also often have an advantage abroad:)
    Sofie recently posted..In search of the light: Italy, a skeptic convertedMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 19, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      Speaking several languages is a great thing – it’s fun, it challenges you, and of course helps when you travel. But when Americans tell me they regret knowing only English, I reply that if every state in the US had a different official language, they’re learn them. In Europe it was natural for me to learn English at an early age and then German, since I grew up not far from there. :) Lucky you though with all those languages you mentioned, especially French!!

  12. avatar
    Mariella February 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Funny, I also was in NYC in 2000 and feel like I didn’t appreciateit truly. But I was so young and I really can’t blame myself for that. Your travel regrets are quite unique cuz the first two, like you said, really can never be made up for. All the more reason to dust off that French! Bonne chance, I think they say? :) (although I think with Polish as your mother tongue you have over-achieved your linguistic skills at any rate. Kocham jezyk polski, ale massakra, jest tak trudny!!)
    Mariella recently posted..If Only…? On Regrets and Making PeaceMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 19, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      Yeah you live, you learn I guess… But I’m on #3!! Polski faktycznie jest trudny, ale co zrobić. ;)

      • avatar
        Mariella February 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm

        Ha, mozesz tak mowic bo i tak go znasz! Ja musialam go sie uczyc i uczyc i uczyc… 8 lat temu zaczelam uczyc sie polskiego i jednak mam przeczucie ze nie dobrze mowie, tylko ze – no, wystarczy :)
        Mariella recently posted..If Only…? On Regrets and Making PeaceMy Profile

  13. avatar
    the lazy travelers February 19, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    really sweet post, pola! even though 1&2 can’t be undone, at least they taught you something about travel. and like ana said, there’s still plenty of time for #3 :)
    the lazy travelers recently posted..laws to travel by – #35My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      There definitely is!! :) And you’re right, #2 and #3 definitely taught me a lot.

  14. avatar
    Jessica February 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    great post! it’s true- we all have travel regrets. but hey, go do #3! and go back to paris and order everything in fluent french! you can do it! :)

    i recently wrote about my travel regrets, check out my post! :)
    Jessica recently posted..My Top 3 Travel RegretsMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 20, 2013 at 2:20 am

      I’ll do it, Jessica!! :)

  15. avatar
    Matthew Hirtes February 19, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Great post, Pola. And I sympathize with you on the language front. If I knew I’d be living in Spain at a later date, GCSE Spanish would have been more useful than GCSE German. However, the simple fact of the matter is that schools in the UK last millennium didn’t teach Spanish. Your choice was limited to French or German.
    Matthew Hirtes recently posted..BandamaMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 20, 2013 at 2:19 am

      I see what you mean, Matt. My school had English and German, which is a big reason I stopped learning French. While I liked learning German and the knowledge comes in handy during layovers in Munich, I don’t have much use for it otherwise. There’s really no telling where life will take you!

  16. avatar
    Jaillan Yehia (@SavoirThere) February 20, 2013 at 12:24 am

    Really interesting post, I can imagine how the first two in particular must haunt you.

    The only similar thing I had was on a visit to Laos, it was New Year’s Eve and I’d met some cool people who were going to celebrate in the 4,000 Islands which sounded really laid back, but I had a prior arrangement to take the moto back to where I’d rented it from and go to Phnom Penh, so we came to a fork in the road and I waved my fun New Year’s Eve gang goodbye – and always wished I could have gone along :-(
    Jaillan Yehia (@SavoirThere) recently posted..In Photos: The Chocolate Hills of Bohol, The PhilippinesMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around February 20, 2013 at 2:16 am

      Yes, the two are hard to forget, but they also taught me a good lesson. I did return to the WTC site on my third trip to NYC and it was certainly a surreal experience… And what a story you have, Jai! Maybe you’ll get to experience that one day. :)

  17. avatar
    My top 3 travel regrets | Traveller soul February 26, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    […] I would like to thank Pola @JettingAround for tagging me in her latest post about the top  3 travel regrets. […]

Comments are closed.