My One Regret In My 7-Week Backpacking And The Problem With The “After” Syndrome

During my adventure around Visayas, I had some of the most amazing and unbelievable experiences of my life. I leaped out of my comfort zone by meeting new people, turning strangers into family or friends, exploring remote areas where I had not the faintest idea where to sleep that night, and trying new things I have never done before. Every day was pure bliss. There were inconveniences and discomfort and there were days when I was bone-tired, but I had never felt happier.

As my adventure slowly progressed, though, I had one regret gnawing in my mind:

Why didn’t I do this before?

I had the full capacity, the capability to make this adventure happen years ago.

So why only now?

Excuses – lots of them – and fear held me back. The “after” syndrome was the worst.

After I become financially free, I will go on a long trip.

After I have reached X number of assignments and clients, I will really take a break.

After I become more confident, I can travel alone.

After I become a good swimmer, I can explore those marine sanctuaries.

After I become really physically fit, I can climb those mountains.

Well, guess what? I was able to travel long-term even though I did not meet the above conditions. Once I made the commitment to embarking on my adventure, I did it, even in spite of some serious challenges.

Embarking on my first long solo adventure

I did not need to be financially free to go off on an adventure – all I needed was to raise funds for it.

I loosened up and gave myself permission to take a break.

I learned that I might not be confident traveling alone, but I can take precautions for my safety and listen to my intuition.

I am still not a very good swimmer to venture out alone at sea, but I always found good people to guide me during my trip. One diver I met in Cebu even offered to guide me for free.

And I am not really very fit, but I was able to take long treks to hills and waterfalls, not to mention carry my backpack for seven weeks! And yes, there were people who helped me along the way too.

That was why there were moments during my seven-week adventure that I looked back at all the time I wasted with regret.

But, as I write this, I realize now is no longer the time for regrets.

I now know that I can live a life of adventure if I choose.

After seeing what is possible and experiencing bliss on a daily basis during my Visayas backpacking, I no longer want to go back to making excuses or being overtaken by fear when it comes to my dreams. I want to do what makes me come alive as often as I can – every day, if possible.

I now pledge to a life of adventure.

Will you, too?


If consensus is overrated, I think balance is, too.

I have no interest in living a balanced life.

I want a life of adventure.

—Chris Guillebeau, “The Art of Non-Conformity”

Onward on my adventure

14 thoughts on “My One Regret In My 7-Week Backpacking And The Problem With The “After” Syndrome

  1. Awesome personal recollections! I myself am dealing with hesitations. I just can’t find the perfect timing. That darn work. Hehehe

    • Sometimes finding the perfect timing is also about MAKING that perfect timing. =) That’s what I did. Part of the journey is about dealing with those hesitations one by one, though. So it’s ok to wait, but make sure not to wait too long. 😉

  2. Great stuff! I agree that all too often we think of reasons why we should not do something rather than why we should. I too plan for a life of adventure and will keep leaping over those barriers that are the thoughts in my head 🙂

  3. I can totally relate to this post! I had many of the same thoughts you did. I just returned from my adventure, and it’s a bit daunting to be back home without a “game plan.” But I still think it was worth it!

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  6. Congratulations on having taken the plunge!

    By the way, I like the photos you take of yourself… often as a person unseen or far away. How do you manage these? I cannot imagine you having taken them with a tripod, a 10 second timer, and running far,and then standing still as though lost in contemplation….

    How do you take these photos????
    When David explored Vigan …-

  7. My phone wallpaper says “You can’t always wait for the perfect time. Sometimes you must dare to jump”. Reminding me everyday to do the things I want to do as early as now. Love this inspiring piece! 😀

    • “Reminding me everyday to do the things I want to do as early as now.” –> Go, Astrid! 😀

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