‘I’ve been there … but now I’m back I really wish I’d done that’

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Grey nomad regrets
Steve has no regrets about camping with penguins on the Falkland Islands

Veteran traveller Steve Jones laments the opportunities he let slip through his fingers.

For as long as I can remember, travel has been in my blood. From a child drinking in stories of adventures in faraway places, to a teenager with overseas wanderlust, all the way through to a crusty old 50-something with an Outback calling, it has always been the prospect of another trip which has put a sparkle in my eye.

While others were building careers and buying houses, I was working so I could buy a ticket on a train or a plane, counting down the days until I could set off again to discover who knows what, who knows where.

I’ve been lucky enough to have travelled extensively in many parts of the world and, of course, to have camped extensively around Australia. I can look back with incredible pleasure on my time camping on the Falkland Islands with only penguins for company, hiking the magnificent Larapinta Trail in Central Australia, and fossicking for sapphires in Queensland’s gemfields.

However, despite everything I’ve done, I must admit that when I sit down in my campchair and stare up at the stars, it’s sometimes the things I didn’t do – and should have done – that occupy my thoughts. Sometimes it was money that stopped me and sometimes it was nerves … but how I would love to be sitting here now having:

• Swum with whale sharks at the Ningaloo reef.

• Gone on a barramundi fishing tour in the NT, rather than being determined to catch a legal one all on my own. I’m still trying!

• Dug a little deeper and found the cash to take a scenic flight over the Mitchell Falls in WA. • Flown in a Tiger Moth aeroplane. It’s just something I have always, always wanted to do.

• Driven the legendary Gunshot Creek on the Old Telegraph Track instead of taking the safer detour. I know it would have been madness and probably would have wrecked my ’Cruiser … but boy I would so love have to done that!

I know that all of those ‘wish-I-had-dones’ are still achievable and I sincerely hope that I’ll get to at least some of them. However, a lifetime of travelling has taught me that sometimes you just have to seize the moment … the stars might never again align quite as magically as they do at that one particular time. And, besides, there will soon be another place you want to visit, another experience you want to try, another decision you have to make.

* What do you really wish you had done while you had the chance? Email us here to share?


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