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Regrets, Have You Had Any?

I’m reading Amy Welborn’s memoir of traveling with her children to Sicily five months after her husband Michael died suddenly. (BTW, I notice that I buy a lot more books now that I have a Kindle app on my iPad; I don’t have to wait to go to the bookstore, or even for the book from Amazon to come in the mail. Instant gratification!) It was kind of a crazy thing to do, going to Sicily, of all places, and so soon after his death, and Amy recognizes that. But she just needed to get away from the familiar, if only for three weeks, and think about what had happened.

The book is making me reflect on how much easier it is for me to think about things when I’m in a very different setting. Travel always makes me inwardly reflective. Some people travel to be distracted, and I guess I do too, but the simple fact of being in a very different place usually gives me a good vantage point from which to think through challenges I have in my daily life back home. Do you find that? In my experience, my mind is unusually clear when I travel. It’s like being inside a warm, stuffy house in the winter, and going outside for a brisk walk to clear your head.

At one point in her narrative, Amy discusses regret. I stopped for a moment and wondered if I had any big regrets in my life. The only one I could think of was never having lived in Europe for a time. I got on a career fast track early on, without even meaning to, and it just never was possible — or at least I didn’t push to make it happen. In the early 1990s, two or three years into my newspaper career, a lot of young Americans my age were going to Prague. I, a Kundera reader, found that appealing. But I either lacked the courage to do it, or had the wisdom not to do it — take your pick. The moment passed.

How about you? Any serious regrets? If you like, feel free to post these anonymously, not using your nom de blog.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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