2011; Year of Almosts

The last few weeks of a year usually mean a whole lot of posts involving lists of various “top” accomplishments, experiences and sights seen but the moments that didn’t happen, just like the sights we didn’t get to see are quickly forgotten and usually go completely unnoticed. After all, they didn’t happen so why bother mentioning them at all?

I decided to focus on those moments, not as a reminder of what I missed this year but as a way to prove that it can be OK to miss out sometimes. It happens and more often than not, it’s not the end of the world.

Concentration camp (Belgium, May 2011)

Getting to visit a concentration camp has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember and I had every intention of finally checking it off while in Brussels. Unfortunately, due to a “perfect storm” of last minute planning, a bus driver who dropped me off at the wrong stop and a subsequent issue with ATMs throughout the city the following day, my plan fell through. The rest of my trip went without a hitch and I actually got close to Breendonk but not close enough to explore the camp, just a village that happened to share the camp’s name but was nowhere near my original destination.

Continent #5; Africa

Assuming North and South America are considered two continents, Africa almost became the 5th continent I set foot on. Granted, the only real reason why I didn’t book a trip to South Africa this year was seeing low-priced tickets and waiting too long to get them because I was conflicted between two destinations. When my mind was finally set, the price difference cooled down my desire to go. I still had Africa on my mind though and focused on other destinations on the continent but with the political unrest in Egypt and the drought/famine in Somalia that forced massive amounts of people to seek refuge in neighbouring Kenya, I was running out of destinations and felt that the logical thing to do would be to postpone Africa. It almost happened and in a way, it probably should have happened in 2011 but I know for a fact that I will set foot on the African continent in the future.

Continent #5 redux; Asia

In a rather ironic twist of faith, I set my eyes on Thailand as a replacement to South Africa (completely different destinations, yes, but also both very different from the trips I’ve taken so far). Unfortunately, I needed to travel on fairly specific dates and it happened to be right in the middle of the floods that hit Thailand in the fall. I kept a close eye on the news and still planned to go until more and more countries issued travel warnings for their citizens and airlines began waiving fees and offering travellers the chance to modify their plans without penalties. A week before I was scheduled to leave, I caved and spent some time on the phone with Continental to find the best course of action. The fees were waived, yes, but my plans had to be postponed and moved to a much later date. It felt as if I simply wasn’t meant to visit a fifth continent in 2011.

There are quite probably a few more non-events that I forgot to list but those 3 are the main ones and they all influenced my plans this year and some of my plans next year as well. There’s no denying that I would have loved to make all three of these things happen this year but it turns out that I had a blast on the trips I was able to take and with some perspective, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Is there anything you wish had happen when you travelled this year? Anything you came close to do but just didn’t quite make it? What it the end of the world?


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