“Travelling – It leaves you speechless and then turns you into a story teller” Ibn Buttuta.
I love this little quote, it explains why we travel and explore places far away. I’m not an extremely well-travelled person, but over my time abroad, I have collected some memories which will stick in my mind for the rest of my life. These are my top 10 most memorable moments.
10. Camping in Corsica
The year was 2009 and I had finished a ski season in Meribel, France. Lucky enough a good friend of mine was in the same boat. Together we decided to hire a car, drive around Corsica and camp along the way. We built fires on the beach each evening and swam in the ocean every morning. Corsica has some spectacular scenery and a thrilling, windy road which hugs the coastline. It’s a great little Mediterranean getaway.
9. Walking through the Cappadocia region
The stunning scenery that is the Cappadocia region captures your eyes before it catches your heart. This area has been carved by earth’s elements to create a landscape of epic beauty. It is also the place in which I went on my only hot air balloon ride. It is great to see the land from above and it is a surreal experience floating with the wind. But down on the ground walking through the valleys and between the ‘fairy chimney’s’ gives you an up close and personal view of how people use to and still live today. I walked about 20 km’s that day stumbling across film shoots, ‘Hasir’ selling his tea and biscuits, old cave houses and fellow hikers.
8. Visiting the ruins of Pompeii
I had heard the stories of how this civilisation was captured in a tragic event. The ash that fell on Pompeii back in 79 AD froze the city and entrenched the way of life for the romans for future generations to find. It had been on my bucket list to walk the streets, discovering homes, shops and baths. If you have the chance to do the same, I would recommend hiring a head set and listen to the history behind the ruins.
7. Sepilok Orangutan sanctuary in Sabah
Located on the East Coast of Sabah, the Sepilok Orangutan sanctuary provides a haven for rescued and rehabilitated Orangutans. Getting up close to see the Orangutans innocent eyes is a heart-warming moment that will stick in my mind. They are a peaceful and cheeky animal which is losing their habitat due to human development and farming. It is not only Orangutans who hang out at the sanctuary; you will encounter groups of monkeys stealing all the food. The closest town is Sandakan, located 20 minutes away.
6. Wine festival the night before La Tomatina
There I was, in Spain with my friend, cousin and sister getting excited for the World’s largest food fight – La Tomatina. However, it was the night before the famed festival which was a highlight of my travels. I was quite new to this travel game, especially the different languages in countries. We ended up in the town of Requena for the ‘Fiesta de la Vendimia’. It turns out we were the only English speaking people in town and didn’t know any Spanish. We managed to order drinks and food and party the night away. One of these places was the train station car park which the band didn’t start until 3 AM. The Spanish know how to party until sun rise.
5. Skydiving over Queenstown
Growing up I hated the feeling of my stomach dropping so what’s the best way to get over it? Throw myself out of a plane. It wasn’t only the fall, but the location which would stick into my mind. If you ever get the chance, head over to Queenstown in New Zealand. It is something everyone should do at least once in their life. You have the lake surrounded by the mountain range – The Remarkables. And from up above you can tell why they were named so.
4. Table Mountain in Cape Town
The breath taking moment when you are at the top of the mountain and the world seems so peaceful. As a fan of cricket, I have memories of seeing a photo of Matthew Hayden and Steve Waugh sitting atop of Table Mountain looking out over the ocean. I wanted to be sitting there next to them. In 2014, I got the chance to head up in the gondola and sit on what feels like the edge of the world. The clouds roll in from the South Atlantic Ocean as the cool breeze is pushed up the steep mountain cliff side. For the energetic, you can hike to the mountain up various treks and be rewarded with a celebratory drink at the bar/café.
3. Microlight flight in Zambia over Victoria Falls
This is one of my more recent memories I added to the list, but the experience was well worth it. Victoria Falls is on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The mist floats up hundreds of metres in the air and can be seen from a hundred km’s away. The best way to see the size of the falls is from up in the air and on a microlight. It might sound unsafe to sit on a powered hang glider and soar into the air, but it was a flight of little turbulence as we circled the falls. Looking down on the Zambezi River, I could see elephants, giraffe and hippos to name a few. The river flows down to the almighty Victoria Falls and you get the chance to see what the power of the river has created. Check out the video for the falls.
2. Drinking Kava in Vanuatu
This moment in time I felt so privileged to be welcomed into the local village to essentially hang out with the boys. It is a tradition each afternoon all the men gathered to an area and drink kava after a hard day’s work. We had been on a tour of the surrounding jungle and local village with our guide David. After the trek through the jungle, David invited me back to his village to try kava. Now it’s not the best tasting drink in the world, but the fruit afterwards was the freshest and juiciest paw paw and banana I have ever tasted. More importantly, David had invited me into his village. He showed me his home he built by himself and introduced me to the rest of his family before we headed to drink the muddy looking water drink. All the blokes were there, from the young teenage men through to the village chief. It was a surreal experience. The island of Tanna is a great little side trip to do when you are visiting Vanuatu.
1. Heading home to Australia
After travelling to many places and meeting people who will remain friends for the remainder of my life, there is no moment like heading back home. It’s nice to go back to familiar surroundings and step off the plane after a long journey. After having created many memories it’s time to catch up with friends and families to become the story teller.
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