For two years, I had the privilege of working in a global role. My responsibilities covered 35 countries on all continents except Antarctica. In 24 months, I visited 12 countries in Europe, Asia, and South America. It was a blast.
The teams would go out two weeks at a time. Sometimes I was with them the whole two weeks, sometimes I joined them only on the second week. On the weekend in between, we’d take advantage by sightseeing in whatever exotic part of the world we found ourselves. I have amazing memories of those weekends: the ski weekend in Zermatt, Switzerland in the shadow of the Matterhorn; wandering the streets of London and Moscow; the bus-train-boat excursion to Mt. Fuji. The best weekend by far was roaming the Transylvanian countryside in Romania…incredible. I’d have never thought to go there on my own, but it should be on everyone’s bucket list.
On the whole, I took great advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves during those two years. But echoing a quote by Rory Cochrane, “I do not regret the things I’ve done, but those I did not do”, I do have one significant regret from that time. I was joining the team for week two in Kuala Lumpur, and they had decided on the tropical resort island of Bali for the weekend. I gave it serious thought (who wouldn’t?), but working in a heavy travel job with a family leaves you with constant work/life balance issues. I chose to spend the extra 48 hours with my family.
Looking back since, I’ve often thought I made the wrong choice. I love my family and have made lots of wrong choices over the years between work and family. This one time, however, I gave up the weekend of a lifetime in an exotic location that few people get the opportunity to see. How dumb is that? Life is full of countless tradeoffs we make every day. We can’t spend our lives living with regret over having made the wrong choice, as they were the best choice at that moment. At that moment, I chose my family. I believe I made the right choice.
“Of the choices set before you, make your choice, and be content.” –Samuel Johnson