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  • Megan Zavaglia

What to do with missed opportunities....

Updated: Dec 1, 2019

What do you do when someone says, come quick, there’s a moose!

Most people run to see the moose. As you know by now, I’m not the average person…. When this happened about a month ago at a writer’s conference I decided to run in the opposite direction. Why? I didn’t have my camera handy and by the time I made it downstairs, to my bag, pulled out both lenses and raced back up the stairs the moose had moved on. Of course it had, moose wait for no one.

Even though I’d most likely missed my opportunity for a shot, I proceeded outside to see if I could track down the moose. Once I found them (a mother and baby) they were much too far away for a good shot although I took what I could get.

So, I spent the rest of the weekend with my camera bag at the ready and sending out positive thoughts to the moose for a return.

I was able to get some beautiful shots of waterfalls, the Tetons and the sunrise while there, but the moose was elusive. That is, until the last morning. I managed to snag this with my iPhone.

I couldn’t have gotten one any better with my DSLR regardless due to the light.

Was I mad that I’d missed my opportunity? A little. Was I frustrated that I wasn’t able to get a better shot that morning? Not really. I’d gotten to see her. I shared a moment with her in the early morning light, both of us breathing in the cold air and shooting steam from our noses as we took the time to examine each other. After a while she seemed to duck her head at me and then went back to eating. I thanked her for her time and was careful pulling away and down the road to ensure that I didn’t disturb her.

I thought about that moment as I drove the five hours home and that brought me to consider a number of “missed opportunities” in my life….

- I was offered a position as a tour guide in Paris when I graduated high school; however, I chose to head right to college with my friend.

- I changed my major from archeology to theater, where could that have lead? Could I have been the female Josh Gates with my own show on the Travel Channel?

- In a single glance I had a moment of recognition and intense acknowledgment with a guard at the door of the Sistine Chapel in Italy. What if I’d stopped and arranged for us to have dinner later? We continued our glance as I moved down the hallway until the door closed and I continued on to the train station to Florence.

- After years of looking for “the one” I was planning on moving to Charleston SC for a complete change of pace. I decided I’d go on one more date before booking the moving company. That date was when I met my husband.

Missed opportunities for the perfect moment, the high adventure, the life you think you should have, the picture that could grace a magazine cover (or at least your bedroom wall) aren’t really missed opportunities. They are learning lessons; they are the sliding doors that direct your life in the direction it should be going. They are points of reference for future experiences. They are something to push you forward.

They are a morning conversation with a moose….

They are what life is made up of - missed opportunities. You can wonder what would’ve been, could’ve been, or you can see them for what they did for you – what they gave you by taking another path, a different path that brought you to where you are and who you are today.

Travel Tip: If you “miss an opportunity”, look for the next one, or how you can connect with that moment later on. I’m pretty sure if you stay open, another opportunity will present itself – and it may be even better than what you expected or wanted.

For me – it was a nice way to wake up for the day, connecting with a moose and knowing that only she and I shared that moment, that beat, and that’s pretty cool.

Next up: What not to do when your travel guide’s fly is open.

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