The view from here
A few years ago, an article written by a former palliative care nurse named Bronnie Ware went viral. She wrote about the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying as discovered throughout her time working with terminally ill patients. The words struck a chord with people all over the world, including us here at Travelher.org. We are so honoured that she took the time to answer a few questions on this subject as it relates to travel.
You are renowned for your work with terminally ill patients and the lessons you learned from that experience. You have written and spoken in particular about the top regrets of the dying and subsequently how to live life without regrets. We feel that for many people, living this way means making time and space for traveling and seeing the world. What are your thoughts on this?
Experiences are definitely more important achievements [than] like belongings or success to people reflecting back over their life. Travel is where some of the best experiences can be found.
Travel. If you had to sum up your feelings towards travel (and the impact it’s had on your life) in just a few words, what would you say?
You are still yourself when you arrive at a new place but can discover new layers within with every new experience that unfolds. Our greatest gift to oneself is to truly know oneself as deeply as possible.
Would you mind sharing some of your most life-changing travel experiences?
I’ve done some incredibly hard travel, been homeless and hungry along the way. I’ve done travel that brought belly-aching laughter and tears of heartbreak. All have shaped who I am today in one way or another.
In a recent Facebook post, you mentioned that travel has been an even bigger part of your life than
usual in 2016. Can you tell us a bit about where you’ve been and what you’ve been up to this year?
In 2016, I took my mother and daughter to New Zealand for three weeks. We hired a car and travelled from north to south. It was magical in every way. I’ve also travelled for work to Germany (a few times), Switzerland, and England. Several trips within my beloved homeland Australia have also unfolded. As the year winds up, I am on a combined family holiday and work trip. After work in Germany (where the foundations for the movie from my book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying are being laid), we are off to Tromso in Norway to see the Northern Lights. This is something my heart has wanted to do for a long time. Then we’re having a few days in Prague before ending where we started the trip, in Munich, Germany.
Travel can sometimes be very disorienting - but at the same time incredibly grounding. Do you have any thoughts on staying mindful and connected while on the road?
Be present. Be grateful for the freedom. Let go of control and let the journey take you where it wants to go. That’s where the magic happens.
As a mother, do you have any advice for travelling with kids?
Use a base rather than try to see everything. Experiencing another culture within a local community is much better quality travel than rushing around and absorbing nothing. Allow for regular downtime too, as like home.
What would you say to a woman who knows she might regret not travelling, but is too scared, busy, or overwhelmed to take the first step?
Look for a group to travel with. There are plenty of businesses that specialise in such travel these days. Shared experiences are more likely to add the experience of laughter, and that’s always wonderful no
matter where you are.
And finally - a question we ask all of our interviewees, what does being a ‘Travelher’ mean to you?
Appreciating the gift of independence we are blessed with in our culture to the fullest.
We thank Bronnie Ware and her team for giving us their time for this interview. Visit her website to learn more or watch her excellent Ted Talk.