When you travel with an open heart and open mind, travel is never boring and it has definitely played a big role in broadening my horizons beyond just being able to say “I’ve been there!”. Of all my travel experiences, here are some highlights of those memories: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The craziest: going skinny dipping (at night!) in a very conservative country (Cambodia) and having to borrow clothes to get home cause mine were stolen. Tip: swimming in the ocean at night amongst glow in-the-dark plankton is totally worth it.
The scariest: riding a motorbike for the first time in Sapa, Vietnam for a day. I rode along highways full of large trucks to get to narrow, windy roads through breathtaking rice fields. It took me a few hours the morning of to keep myself from chickening out of these plans and then it took a lot of energy to stay calm all day. Result? It was totally worth it! I would do it again in a heartbeat.
The riskiest: hopping on the back of a motorbike of a guy I just met for a short ride in Krabi, Thailand. I really do mean “just met”. I was walking to a party and a guy getting on his bike to go the same way offered me a ride. Definitely the opposite of what you’re taught about taking rides from strangers, but he dropped me off at my destination with no issues and I had a great night!
The grossest: eating raw sea urchin at a great sushi place in Manila. I love sushi and this place served me some of the best I’ve ever had, but I really had trouble with the texture of sea urchin. I had more trouble with this than with eating balut or fried crickets.
The most thrilling: ziplining in Costa Rica through the trees and across deep ravines. I am very much afraid of heights and so I found this equal parts nerve wracking and thrilling. The scariest part was switching lines on a tree platform high above the ground and the best part was flying through the air on the Tarzan swing.
The most underwhelming: The 30 hour train ride I took in India with my Dad. I was really excited for this ride (from Goa to Agra) because I expected the scenery to be beautiful. In actual fact, it was not at all photo inspiring. Luckily many other parts of the experience were great – like the time my Dad expressed curiosity about a snack being sold in the aisle and next thing we know we’re each eating a deep fried banana pepper. Delicious for me, but not something my Dad would have ordered for himself.
The sickest: getting an ear infection from spending so much time swimming in the ocean on Otres beach in Cambodia. Have I mentioned how much I love the beach? This infection started right before I returned home so I waited to get treatment in Canada. By the time I got to the doctor, I had an inner and outer ear infection and a high fever that resulted in a few delirious days in bed when I got home.
The most challenging: hiking the Everest base camp trek in Nepal. This was particularly challenging because I didn’t train, I hadn’t fully recovered from a sciatica injury, I caught a cold on the trek and I struggled with the altitude despite taking preventative medicine.
The most life-changing: attending the Tomorrowland festival in Belgium. This was an experience of a lifetime full of beautiful music and beautiful people. I’ve never felt so free as I did dancing all day in crowds of happy, like-minded people to uplifting music. Have I mentioned that I love to dance?
Stay tuned for more confessions of a nomad . . .