Confessions of a nomad: memories worth keeping (part II)

My list of good and bad experiences for the books will only get longer with time and that’s a really exciting thought. I’m only sad that one day I’ll probably have trouble remembering all this. For now, here is part two of my confessions (read part one here):

The most overrated: the pyramids in Egypt. I still think a visit to these is worth the bucket list check but I didn’t find them nearly as impressive or mysterious as I’d expected. Maybe if I’d read up on the construction theories/history before going, it would have been more exciting to be in their presence.


They still make for a great picture!

The most underrated: Ghana, as a country, is beautiful, and safe, and largely English speaking (there are so many local languages that English is used to bring communities together). Its a great place to visit if you want a real taste of Africa and are looking for a cultural experience. This was my first time in a third world country and I had a great time! Also, the culture shock experience prepared me for every second/third world country that I’ve been to since.


The majority of my time in Ghana was spent with these adorable kids.

The worst accident: falling off my bicycle into a ditch in Myanmar. I tried to stop to let a large truck pass and missed the curb with my foot falling straight down into a deep ditch. Luckily a tree caught my fall, the bicycle was fine and other than being shaken up, my biggest problem was looking like I’d rolled in the dirt. I’ve seen worse things happen to others on the road so I’m thankful this is my worst story.

The best sunrise: cycling out before dawn to climb a pagoda in Bagan, Myanmar for the most magical sunrise. You can see pagodas glistening in the morning sun as far as the eye can see as hot air balloons drift by on the horizon. I woke up early again and again to see this for good reason.


So peaceful.

The best sunset: Otres beach in Cambodia treated me to the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen and I sadly didn’t get a picture. Since I don’t have a picture to compare, it will probably always remain the best in my memories. Read more about my experience here.


Not bad, but definitely not Cambodia's best showing.

The most breathtaking: the views while driving along New Zealand’s coastline on the South Island. When New Zealand offers you a scenic route, they are not kidding! It took a lot of restraint on my part to not stop every five minutes for a picture. I’m so glad I decided to drive instead of taking a tour bus.


Only $5 for a campsite with a view!

The stupidest: buying a bucket (bucket of alcohol) from the wrong stand at the full moon party on Koh Phangan island in Thailand. The warnings about spiked buckets are no joke and even though I knew to buy a bucket in a real store instead of on the street, I was just tipsy enough to forget and make that mistake. I’m lucky I was with friends and no harm came from it.

The silliest: partying all night on a club on Hvar island (where i was staying with friends) in Croatia and barely making our ferry to the mainland the next morning. It was an amazing night and I totally forgot that parties in Europe can go all night. It was only after the music stopped and the sun started to lighten the sky that we realized how little time we had to make the ferry.

The smartest: being brave enough to travel alone. The thing about traveling alone is that you quickly realize you are never truly alone. It’s beautiful and amazing and I think everyone should try it once.


You're never alone in a hostel!

Confessions of a nomad: memories worth keeping (part I)

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.


Very happy, a little relieved and a little sunburnt after my day in Sapa

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.


Here goes! The Tarzan swing in Costa Rica.

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.


No window views, but I did get a picture of dinner on the train.

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.


Exuding confidence on the Everest base camp trek

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?


I think this sums Tomorrowland up nicely

Stay tuned for more confessions of a nomad . . .