What can we learn from regret?

I get a lot of positive feedback from the subscribers of our travel blog in regards to my weekly newsletter. It’s not a newsletter just recapping the blog posts we’ve written for the week, but more of a personal message from me to you.

I do my best to open up and share personal stories, insights, and lessons. I really want to give something a little more valuable and personal to those who’ve asked for a deeper connection by giving us their email address for communication.

I hope to share the challenges and wins to let people understand we’re all experiencing similar journeys and our dreams are definitely possible despite the adversities.

Every now and then I might share one on the blog that has struck a chord with a lot of people and made a difference. I’ve been cleaning out a few of the old drafts in my blog dashboard and found this one sitting there. It’s one I planned to publish over 2 years ago but for some reason didn’t.

It was a very important moment for me, one of closure and self-forgiveness. Travel takes us on such an amazing journey, not just of the world out there, but the one on the inside too.

Mooloolaba Beach, Queensland, Australia

Here it is


“I feel a little sick driving in here, do you?” Craig asked as we turned off the Bruce Highway towards Mooloolaba.

Yep. Somehow I think I always will.”

It’s impossible to forget and each time I return my stomach clenches and my heart begs to turn around and just leave it be. But, I need to know.

Did we truly not belong there so that made our mistakes okay, or did we stuff up the one good thing we were meant to have?

When you wander back to the land of your past mistakes, the shame, the regret, and the guilt shrinks you. You try to walk gingerly around it with eyes half closed so you don’t see the truth. You amaze at the new buildings, you delight in the glorious sunsets, you reminisce at your old favourites.

But the track that winds around the beach takes you back. You walked this path every day for 18 months with a very sad and angry heart and that caused you to make the most stupid decisions.

I can barely feel that girl anymore. I don’t relate to her anymore, but the shadows of her chase me down with shame and regret.

The hole in my chest widens and it feels as if my heart will leap out of it and run. I’m forced to face it. I had the chance to live an amazing life in this stunning place, but I allowed the demons to win and I threw it all away.

Regret is the knowing you could have done better and the wishing you chose a different path. (Click to tweet)

As I walk along Mooloolaba Beach at sunset, I feel tender, and as Craig says, a little funky. I know this place so well, yet it feels so removed. I try to imagine what the other path- the one where I chose well- might look like.

What if we just tried a little harder to form friendships? What if I just took on a full-time job? What if I just opened my heart more to fall in love with Mooloolaba? Why wasn’t she good enough?Why did this happen to me?

The last of the sun’s rays lit afire the magic of the town and whispers, “You gave all of this up.” 

And in that moment, amidst the welling of the eyes.and the clearing of the clouds, I understood.

I wouldn’t be here now, in this life, had I not experienced the pains of that life. It was this disaster that caused me to search for something more and to promise I’d leave a better legacy. (Cripps and Blood gang stake outs sure ain’t a good one!)

Mooloolaba was my sacrifice. I didn’t know it at the time and I didn’t until this afternoon. You don’t understand your sacrifices until far into the future when the greater plan starts to reveal itself.

I wouldn’t have this lifestyle and I wouldn’t be making a difference to so many if it were not for Mooloolaba. I had to give her up to get here. This place that once broke my heart now mends it.

Regret is there to remind us to live each moment more fully. It helps steer us to the path that follows our heart so i
n years to come we’re not left wondering. But, it’s also there to help us learn our lessons and embrace our sacrifices when our choices take us down the wrong path.

How can we lessen the pain of it? How can we leave it behind so we walk more bravely into the future?

Sunset from Snapper Rocks, Gold Coast, Queensland

I made a pact with the Mooloolaba sun.

I’ll live each day with a little more awe and gratitude. I’ll make a better effort to be the best I can and to reach out to others. I’ll still take my chances, but I’ll do it with a little more confidence and finesse. I’ll make those minutes count. I’ll live so that, in the future, when I look back, I’ll see a life overbrimming with joyful memories, not shameful blank ones.

What does regret teach you? How has it helped you move forward? Do you travel more to avoid regret and to fill your memories with love and laughter?


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What can you learn from regret

5 thoughts on “What can we learn from regret?”

  1. “Regret is there to remind us to live each moment more fully.” I love this. My regrets are centered around situations where I knew that I could have done better. In all of those cases, I regret the amount of time wasted. Now I’m trying to get things done so I will not have any more regrets.

  2. Great post Caz – glad you finally pressed publish on it. I’ve thought a lot along the same lines with our experience of infertility – it was the sacrifice we had to have in order to have our kids. It doesn’t mean I don’t brush up against that loss, hard sometimes, but I know that ultimately loss has to turn into gain. It is the way of the world.

  3. What a great inspiring post – thank you. I work as an Aromatherapist at my local Hospice and my patients have been a great source of inspiration. Non of us know how long our lives will be and I have always travelled and not put it off until I retire. We put too much pressure on ourselves and sometimes adapt to how we think society expects us to live our lives. Regret is hard to live with, but every situation we experience, be it good or bad, teaches us lessons if we allow them and sometimes we have to let go mentally of any regrets in order to move on in life.

  4. Hey Caz!

    Nice post. I think we deserve try to reach our dreams. Sometimes we just accept the life they way it goes and forget all of our dreams and we become sad people.

    We need to try harder and go ahead, never looking back and go for these dreams we always wanted.

    I’m tired to live the life other people wanted me and I’m going the my life the way I want to!

  5. I should have travelled to the USA to work there next year. But I decided to stay to pursue my dream job instead. I was so happy, I thought myself very courageous and that I was taking the best decision, and adrenaline was running high XD. But right now, when I think that others might be taking my job next year, and might be enjoying it well, I feel such regret :/… Now I wonder why didn’t I postpone my studies and why I didn’t follow the year abroad. Because I just lost a tremendous opportunity to live and work in the USA, practising my English all the time and connecting to others there. However, if I had chosen to go and not to study for my dream job, I would also have felt regretful. T-T

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