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!

South East Asia: the ever elusive magical rainbow sunset

It has now been twice in my lifetime that I’ve seen gorgeous sunsets on beautiful beaches that really blew my mind and I’ve failed to capture both on film. In both situations, I arrived on a new beach in South East Asia and went for a walk on the beach after a long day of traveling. As I walked, the sun started to set and the sky started to turn red . .

I’m enjoying the end of a long day and anticipating tomorrow’s day of relaxation when all of a sudden the sunset decides to get real on me. The sky is no longer simply a deepening red on the horizon of blue. Now it’s developed a full rainbow array of colors: from indigo purple to true blue, grassy green to golden yellow, radiant orange to ruby red. It’s surpassing all expectations I ever had for a beautiful sunset.

This always happened in the last few minutes of the sun dipping below the horizon and all I could ever do was stop and enjoy it from where I stood. It was always my first day on the beach and I didn’t have my camera on me. Between the knowledge that if I made a run for my camera I’d surely miss the best part and the expectation that sunsets must be this beautiful in paradise every night, I just enjoyed the moments and planned to capture the next day’s repeat performance on film.

This has happened to me twice. Once on Otres beach in Cambodia and once on Koh Pu beach in Thailand and in both cases I was not treated to the same beautiful sunset again during the reminder of my stay!


A beautiful sunset, but I've seen better

There is something magical about a sunset so beautiful. Both beaches followed them up with gorgeous relaxing days and calm cool evenings, both beaches will forever be in my memory as real life paradises and both beaches have made my short list of places to revisit. I’ve yet to capture a sunset that magical on film, but I hope to someday. South East Asia is truly a magical place.

What magical moments have you experienced in Asia?