Friday, October 30, 2015

My Memorable Travel Experiences List

Hi all,

I was inspired to make this list by this post. This is not an exhaustive list, but it lists some of the memories that I obviously remember. I'm going to restrict this to travel-related experiences. I'm trying to be chronological, since that's how my brain works.

**June 29th, 2017 note - I want to revamp this blog to be my travel stories. I think these will serve my as starting list.**

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The mist and noise of Niagara Falls.

Setting foot in a foreign country (London, 2005). It was like the pictures in a book had come to life around me.

Standing on the metal plate in front of Notre Dame and committing to traveling as much as possible (apparently if you stand there, you're destined to return to Paris).

The overnight train from Paris to Madrid.

Spending way too much on a purse I never use in Madrid.

Having the BEST chocolate gelato ever in Seville. Repeatedly.

Standing on (almost) the edge of a cliff in Ronda, Spain.

Trying to do a flamenco dance with our hosts on a rural Spanish ranch.

Getting lost in the beautiful winding streets of Toledo.

Swimming in the Mediterranean for the first time.

The monkey that stole the Snickers in Gibraltar.

Having rabbit (they lied and said it was chicken) in Portugal.

Buying a small bottle of Port in a shop in Porto and feeling so sneaky.

Standing at the lighthouse on the western-most point of Europe (Portugal) and holding my skirt down because of the wind.

Swimming on the other side of the Atlantic. Also finding out that my parents were visiting the beach on their side of the Atlantic the same day. I waved. (Pun intended)

Wandering through some streets in Lisbon and marveling at the copper-orange color of the roofs.

Exploring landmarks in London by myself soon after arriving and already feeling "back" in a city I knew.

Playing and dancing at the end of the London New Year's Day parade.

My disappointment in LAX for not having food options closer to the gate.

Valentine's Day on the beach in Lorne, Australia.

O-week in Australia. All the fun and community building. All the events with my new best friends.

My weekend schedule of going to work at the YMCA, coming back to Uni to change, then out to explore Melbourne with my best friend.

Sky-diving and bungee-jumping on the same day in Cairns.

Finding a beautiful green space in the headlands near Sydney and taking tons of photos.

Missing our flight in the Gold Coast and spending a rainy day in Coolangatta. At least we saw the newest Harry Potter movie.

Amazingly good salmon hotdogs in a Farmer's Market in Hobart.

The full day we spent exploring the Dove Lake/Cradle Mountain area.

Frustratingly searching for a lake at night only to wake up to find that we parked right next to it (New Zealand). *There's a lesson there*

Driving the west coast of the South Island. It's just incredible.

Learning the amazing community spirit of New Zealanders when we stopped at a very rural pub to call for a tow-truck for a couple we'd passed.

Claiming a private spot over Lake Taupo for a few nights.

Just watching the stars outside of Hamilton, New Zealand.

My host's mother welcoming me by purchasing a huge case of Mexican beer (Mexico City). It was a great idea.

Climbing to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan.

The afternoon I spent on the plaza in Guadalajara just sketching.

The drive to Zacatecas through central Mexico.

The sticky humidity and tourist atmosphere of Puerto Vallarta. Swimming in the Pacific was really cool though.

Conquering my own fears on the Alps (skiing) after falling many, many times.

The thermal baths in Erding, Germany, especially the Persian-inspired pool room that I had all to myself.

Watching the surfers on a river in Munich in December.

Driving a manual on the autobahn.

Experiencing the Nurnberger Christkindlesmarkt a few days before Christmas, complete with gluhwein and sausages.

Christmas Eve in a bar in my friend's hometown in Germany.

Being alone in the quiet of the snowy Czech woods in ski gear.

Getting scammed out of 20 euro each for a NYE event, then wandering a residential neighborhood.

Being interviewed as a tourist who came to Berlin for New Year's Eve by a German tabloid-newspaper.

Stopping along Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah Valley, to take photos and talking with a father-son duo on motorcycles.

Experiencing (most of) a Yankee's Game in NYC with friends of friends and best friends.

Walking down Coney Island's Broadwalk only to slowly discover that the mass of people were there because we'd visited the same day as the Mermaid Parade!

Checking in my luggage when I moved abroad to Saudi Arabia. "Are you moving?" Yes I am.

My first day as a teacher in Grade 1.

Navigating by instinct (to my friend who was driving) through the streets of Abu Dhabi since our electronic maps were just showing a blue dot on a blank tan field.

Swimming in Yiti, Oman, hoping to see turtles, and finding happily scurrying crabs on an empty beach.

Having help from very nice local women with wrapping a hijab so I could enter the Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman.

Hitting the slopes with my brother in Colorado.

Returning to my favorite restaurant in Mexico City for a michelada, made correctly, and good sushi.

That first glimpse of Petra through the gaps in the Siq.

Climbing up endless stairs and dry creekbeds to The Monastery early in the morning (Jordan). It was all worth the sight and the endless views over the mountain range.

Experiencing a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. Delayed gratification!

Having a great Turkish bath and massage in Kudadasi, Turkey.

Climbing down the cliffs at Pamukkale with a new friend.

The sunset view of the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque from a ferry in the Bosphorus, Istanbul.

The high-above-the-city view after climbing a "mountain" in Istanbul (Asian side).

Swimming in the freezing pool in my hotel in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia looming down and the moon high above.

The Fourth of July fireworks show in Houston, Texas.

Experiencing Business Class on a Singapore Airlines flight from Houston to Moscow.

Scuba diving off a long boat off Belitung Island, Indonesia. Just the guide and I in the water.

Following the local procession through the village streets to celebrate the end of Ramadan in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Exploring a waterfall with new friends outside of Yogyakarta. Also jumping off a cliff edge into the river.

Randomly having dinner with several Italian travelers on the beach on Gili Meno, off of Bali.

The spectacular sunset I experienced in Ubirr, NT, Australia.

Having a beer at an old haunt north of Melbourne with my friend.

Doing yoga on the beach in Koh Lanta, Thailand.

Wandering Bangkok until my feet hurt, including circling a street market several times (both to avoid rain and because I kept missing the turn out!)

Randomly deciding to eat lunch at a shop in a Bangkok street market, only to notice that there were clippings on the wall talking about it being a great restaurant. Yay instinct!

Lounging across 3 economy seats on a very empty Qatar Airways flight from Bangkok to Doha mid-day on a Monday.

The fire in Dubai on New Year's Eve.

Going up the Burj Khalifa for sunrise on January 1st, 2016.

Food poisoning in Paris. It was ugly, but people were wonderfully helpful.

Finding an amazing burger in Monte Carlo.

Wandering Genoa during a Saint holiday and having the city to ourselves.

Walking down a mountain with a happy dog in Switzerland.

Hunting for my Airbnb in the downpour in Munich.

Playing soccer with locals in a park in Germany.

Exploring the Turkish side of Berlin and finding familiar, yummy treats.

Seeing a beautiful sunset in Prague over a very underrated building.

Feeling happy in the summer breeze at a viewpoint over Prague.

Taking the overnight train from Prague, via Budapest, to Split. Quite the ride.

Scuba-diving in Bol, Croatia and meeting a small octopus!

Celebrating Saudi Arabia's National Day on the corniche with a new friend who trusted me way more than she probably should have.

Spending a weekend in Dubai to see Cirque du Soleil- Varekai with friends.

Thinking how surreal it was that I was in Virginia in October to see two friends marry each other.

Successfully interviewing in Dubai and over Skype for my new job!

My birthday celebrations in Bahrain and then Doha.

Revisiting my favorite spot in the world over Winter Break.

Waiting in the airport for 10 hours for a flight that never left. A stay-cation happened instead.

Showing my best friend all my favorite corners of Barcelona and being so grateful for good people.

Revisiting Toledo and being, once again, stunned by its beauty.

Seeing The Lion King in Madrid and being blown away.

Wandering Lisbon all day and feeling so happy to be back and thankful that this is my life.

Packing up for my move from Saudi Arabia and questioning why I ever thought I needed this much clothing.

Rebooking my flights because Doha was now out-of-bounds.

Returning to the USA and driving through those back country roads, marveling at how crazy-gorgeous Virginia is.

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Many other recent adventures are chronicled in video form on my YouTube channel. Check out my playlists and please subscribe!

That's all for now!
Happy teaching and traveling,

1 comment:

  1. You went skydiving and bungee jumping on the same day? That's awesome!! I read that same Wandering Earl post you referred to, as well, and will need to write my own Top 50 travel experience post on my blog at some point.

    But for now, here are my Top 5:

    (1.) Going to Brazil for World Cup 2014 and watching all the madness around me during the Ecuador vs. France match in Rio. Maracana Stadium is very special!

    (2.) Befriending a resort worker in Ocho Rios & going to her house for dinner and dancing the night away with her family on my last night in Jamaica.

    (3.) Staying overnight in a Mayan village in Southern Belize with one of my best friends. It was here that I saw the most beautiful starry night in my life. I couldn’t quite capture it perfectly on camera, but the vision has been ingrained into my memory forever.

    (4.) Watching the sunset in Santorini, Greece, and ripping around the island with a couple of my buddies on ATVs during our three day stay there. For the first time in my life, I felt a complete sense of freedom as that trip was more of a “coming-of-age” moment personally.

    (5.) Playing soccer on the Inca Trail with some of my tour group and the Porters. When my tour group got tired of playing, I continued on as goal keeper for the Porters. They had a “friendly” bet of 3 Sols (about $1 US) between them on who would win the match. Both Porter teams were evenly matched, but I helped the one team win 1-0 with some astonishing saves. All of a sudden I was a Hero to them for the rest of the hike. They would always bow and smile at me or give me a high five at each camp we set up along the hike or during the hike itself if they were walking past me at all. The money may not be much to us, but to them, it was a lot and just reinforced the lesson that you should be grateful for what you have in life instead of being disappointed in what you don’t.

    Ray @ WorldAccordingtoWeech