If you follow my blog you probably know I met my significant other on a Contiki trip in Peru. He was hard to miss, as he and the friend he was travelling with were always joking around and were frequently the centre of attention. A couple of days into the trip he famously proclaimed (well, famous to the group anyway), ‘you can’t regret something you didn’t do if you’ve already done it’. It was his twist on Contiki’s slogan, ‘no regrets’.
I wasn’t witness to this memorable gem, but apparently, the group had been giving him a hard time for choosing to soak in a hot spring rather than go zip-lining with everyone else. He argued that he had already been zip-lining (in Canada, no less!) so he wouldn’t regret skipping the activity; the ‘no regrets’ mantra didn’t apply in this situation. He continued to stand by his awkwardly chosen words days after the missed opportunity and it became a sort of alternative slogan for the trip.
I had long forgotten about his silly slogan until it came up again late Sunday night.
As it happened, everyone on our Contiki was Australian (aside from my sister and myself); a few were from Melbourne, some were from Perth, and the rest were sprinkled throughout the country. Despite their relative proximity, we haven’t caught up with anyone from the trip since moving to Melbourne. Then last week, one of the guys from Perth messaged to say he had won a trip to Melbourne to attend the Grand Prix. (Why don’t I ever win trips like this?! Note to self: enter more contests). He was allowed to bring three guests, so he, his wife and another couple (all of whom were on the Contiki) would be in town and were keen for a catch up.
A good friend once told me she almost never turns down an invitation because you never know what might happen or who you might meet. I thought that was a great way of thinking, so I adopted her mentality and now I don’t like turning down invitations either. My significant other, on the other hand, is a bit more pragmatic. He understands the importance of things like sleep, and can anticipate the ill effects that overextending himself will have on his general wellbeing. Since we already had other commitments for the weekend, he told the Contiki gang we wouldn’t be able meet up.
One of our commitments was to attend the wedding of one of his best friends. The wedding was in the Mornington Peninsula, a lovely part of Victoria known for its gorgeous coastline, beaches, seaside towns and wineries. As Mornington is about an hour and a half from Melbourne, we decided to book a B&B near the venue. We also made plans to visit one of my significant other’s friend and his wife who live about halfway between our house and Mornington on Sunday afternoon.
Unfortunately, after a week of blue skies and sun, we woke up to thunderstorms on the day of the wedding. If there was ever a time to inappropriately use the word ‘ironic’ to describe rain on your wedding day, this would be it. The forecast wasn’t particularly promising for Sunday either, putting a damper on our weekend plans.
We drove most of the way under wet, gloomy skies until magically, the rain stopped, the clouds parted and the sun emerged just as we approached the Mornington region. Luckily, the rain did not return, and though the ground was too soggy to keep the ceremony outdoors, they had clear skies for their wedding (in other words: no hair or makeup was ruined before the ceremony).
The next day, we hopped in our car to do some exploring and drove in the direction of Portsea, an affluent part of the peninsula, without any real plan in mind. Our wandering took us to a couple of beach lookouts, through some gorgeous neighbourhoods that we daydreamed about one day owning a house in, and then quite by accident, to Point Nepean National Park, a coastal park I’ve been wanting to explore.
The rain managed to stay away and we spent a couple of hours trekking the trails and coming face-to-face with an iconic and adorable Australian treasure, an echidna. We stopped at an Italian restaurant that made eggplant almost as good as my nonna (but don’t tell her that!) for a quick bite, then made our way to my significant other’s friend’s house.
After several hours of chatting, watching the Grand Prix and eating lots of snacks, we decided it was time to say our goodbyes and head home to unpack and unwind. However, on the way home, my significant other’s phone kept buzzing; the Contiki group were messaging about the catch up that was about to take place. Though he maintained he was tired and would rather go home, I could tell the constant reminder of what we would be missing was planting a seed of doubt in his mind. I suggested we drop by for half an hour to say hi; he agreed.
And I’m glad he did. In addition to the two couples from Perth, three boys from Melbourne came, along with my significant other and I – it was practically a mini reunion. Laughs were shared, stories were told; though four years had passed, everyone was still somehow the same. The night inevitably turned to reminiscing and my significant other’s famous slogan came up. He admitted to the group that he would have regretted missing the catch up – this was the first one, after all, he hadn’t done this before so there was room for regret.
I couldn’t help but think how much of our weekend was filled with activities we almost missed out on. We debated driving home after the wedding, rather than staying over, but if we had, we wouldn’t have found the national park. Or seen the echidna. Or caught up with Dave and Eva. We almost chose to go home to unpack and do groceries, rather than catch up with a great group of people we don’t normally get the chance to see. Seriously. Groceries. Just attending the wedding would have been lovely, but we were able to experience so much more because of a couple of small decisions.
As the night progressed, the conversation turned to my favourite trash television show MAFS (Married at First Sight), because everyone, male or female, can’t seem to resist it. And just like that, the 30-minutes we intended to stay for quickly turned into four hours.
In fairness, my significant other had a point – neither of us have the energy we had in our 20s and we’re both still a bit drained from all the activities of the weekend. But every once in a while, it’s worth it.