We miss out on things because we say no. Be smarter and say yes.
On new years day, we watched the 2008 Jim Carry movie "Yes man". It's about a man who misses out on life because he says "no" to everything, but things start to change for the better when he starts to say "yes" to every opportunity that is offered to him. That got us thinking about the many opportunities we said no to in the past because we thought we couldn't afford it, had no time, the weather was bad, or any other excuse. Here are some of our experiences and what we learned from them:
Our first trip abroad together led us to the beautiful Greek island Crete. Here we made two big mistakes: we skimped on accommodation and we did not explore as much as we could have. We chose a hotel with a whopping 2.5-star rating on TripAdvisor (how is this even possible?) quite far away from the beach. The owner of the hotel threw us out of our room every single morning to clean and on the last day we had to take out the trash ourselves. We stayed in this hotel for two weeks because everything was prebooked and paid for. For only a couple of Euros more, we could have stayed on the beach in a hotel with a pool and sun loungers - and had a much more relaxing holiday without even really making a difference in the overall cost. Additionally, we were too stingy to pay for a trip to Santorini - one of my biggest travel regrets to this day. And it didn't pay out. Maybe a day trip would have been pricy but it's much more expensive to fly there and stay there. Saving on your vacation just does not pay out. Be smarter than we were: know your budget and your priorities and say yes to everything that you can afford!
A mistake we make time and time again: thinking we have no time to explore right now, we can do it later. This mostly happens when we spend long periods in one place and think we have all the time in the world but actually we do not. We have spent a couple of months in New York. In summer we contemplated over and over again to go to the Hamptons; in fall contemplated over and over again to go apple picking Upstate New York. Guess what - we never did any of these things. When we spent some time in Munich, Germany we never made time to visit Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the prettiest (if not the prettiest) castles in Germany. We spend months in Egypt without having seen the pyramids (at least we were able to correct that mistake years later). And don't even get us started about the situation in our hometown... Turn off Netflix and get off your couch. Yes, you have the time to explore.
Don't miss out on opportunities because you don't know any better. We have a very adventurous friend who asked us a couple of years ago to join her on her trip to Lake Baikal, Russia. We did not do much research back then before we declined. We didn't consider that traveling with the Transsiberian Railway would be a huge adventure in itself or that Lake Baikal is unique by being the earth's deepest freshwater lake. We only thought it's far away, inconvenient and cold. Our friend came back with amazing memories and pictures and we remained with a life lesson learned: when you're offered to experience the unknown, say yes.
We mostly regret the things we didn't do. So be smarter than us and say yes!