I know that this title is a total cheesy cheese fest, but I couldn’t think of any other title that sums up the moments I am about to share with you. I mean, one of them actually made me weep like a crazy woman! I have shared why I think travel is key to growth in this post – Why I feel Travel Is Key To Growth, so, accompanied by some old, less than high quality photos, I wanted to share my top 5 once in a lifetime travel moments with you.
When I was backpacking, I wrote to my parents about once a month, detailing what we had been doing and where we had been. I was recently re-reading a few of the letters and it really was like reading a diary. It made me think of all the unbelievable moments that id been so lucky to have. It resulted in Nik and I having a conversation about our top travel moments. His were different to mine, which didn’t really surprised me, as we experienced so many. As we are about to embark on “travel tales of Kerry and Nik round two” I thought now was a good time to look back and pick some faves. Id love to hear all about yours in the comments. Tell me them all! Disclaimer – these photos were taken before I had a “proper” camera and so are shocking in their quality, and, bare in mind I was quite a hippy in my youth! Forgive my photos, forgive my dodgy braids……
Our Story so far – Once in a lifetime travel moments
1 – This will always be my most memorable moment. Well, until I get to see real life elephants or giraffes in the wild. I think I will genuinely lose my shit when that day comes! As you all very much know by now, I am obsessed with the creatures that we share this little planet of ours. Whales have been one of my all time loves in forever, and I had always wanted to see them in all their glory in their natural habitat. When we were in Australia, we did a boat trip to go out and try to see Dolphins, (another sight I very much wished to see). Our boat captain had been told that there was dolphins in the area, so off we set. I was literally like chief look out. I would not take my eyes off the water, and woe betide anyone that tried to talk to me! No. Distractions. Full Stop. I was a bundle of laughs……. Anyway, a few miles off coast and someone said that they saw dolphins up ahead. The captain brought the boat round a little, to make our way over to the sighting. As he did this, two huge hump back whales breeched out of the water, literally 20 foot from the boat. Honestly, just writing this now, 19 years later, made me tear up. I watched these beautiful, magnificent creatures go high up into the air, and crash back into the water. I burst into tears. I was so overwhelmed with their complete beauty. My husband hugged me, the other people on the boat were all patting me as they walked past, (I think they thought I was having some kind of episode) and Nik and I just stood, watching the amazing display these beautiful creatures put on, tears streaming down my face, knowing right then that we were some of the luckiest people alive. There was a whole family pod of whales, and their slow grace accompanied us on our little boat for about 20 minutes. I have never, ever forgotten it in every detail.
2 – When we were in Mexico a few years back, we were on the beach one day and got talking to a wonderful old Mexican man. Every day he used to be bobbing about on his little rowing boat, then come onto the beach for a drink so we saw him most days and had a chat about Mexico, culture etc. One day, he asked us if we would like to go on the boat with him to see some turtles. My husband, who is a big man, decided that this little tiny, 100 year old Mexican man was no threat to us, so grabbing our snorkel masks, us and the boys went. Well I am so glad I overcame my reservations. We went a few moments out to sea, rounded a little cove and got in the water. As soon as we put our faces in the sea, we saw families of turtles swimming around. They were coming right up to us, brushing past us with their flippers, looking at us curiously. It was so magical and I feel so blessed that we got to do this with our sons. They have never forgotten it. Sadly though, I have no photos of the turtles as it was so impromptu!
3 – The Floating Market in Thailand was another experience I will always remember. The market, Damnoen Saduak, is an entire market, with the market traders boats piled high with beautiful vibrant fruit, fresh coconut and randomly, lots of hats! Its traditional, brimming with culture and fantastic to see the bartering and deals being done, all on the water of the canals. We went early in the morning, and it was bustling and noisy. It was amazing. We bought some bananas, which I was amazed by as traditional, Thai grown, non modified bananas are actually about as big as your thumb. They were tasty and delicious. I also got to meet wild monkeys on one of our many treks in Thailand, and they ate out of my hand. Heaven!
4 – Diving the Great Barrier Reef was one of my top travel moments, and yep, there seems to be a theme here, most of my top travel moments seem to be animal/nature related! It was honestly like an under water kingdom. The colours were so bright and it reminded me of a little City, all the creatures busy and doing their thing. As we were making our way slowly along the reef, a vividly coloured clown fish gave me a little kiss on the snorkel mask, and the absolute cherry on the top was black tipped reef sharks joining us amongst the coral. They were about 5ft long, but seemed more curious of us than viewing us as food! I was fascinated watching them swim, sharks really do have an unmistakeable way of moving don’t they! I was blown away and as my husband had always wanted to see sharks in the wild, I knew he would be beside himself. It was just magical. He has since said he would love to see Great Whites in the wild. Im not so sure I will be getting in the water with them……
5 – The Temple of The Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) in Thailand is on my top five once in a lifetime travel moments list for a few reasons. Firstly, it really is beautiful! Just a spectacular sight. Secondly, because it was somewhere I had longed to visit for ages. Set in the grounds of the Royal Thai Grand Palace, everything is intricate and grand. I have always had an interest in the Buddhist way of life, so getting to visit here was a real honour. Buddha is incredibly highly regarded in Thailand, and you had to make sure your shoulders and legs were covered to even enter into the sacred grounds. The emerald Buddha, set on his elevated alter and surrounded by treasures, is a pilgrimage destination for many Buddhists, and I felt incredibly emotional standing there. You are not allowed to take photos of the Emerald Buddha, or any of the statues, so I respected this. I did however take a photo of other buddha guard in the grounds. Again, to avoid being disrespectful, you have to be careful how you stand as pointing your feet (the lowest point of your body) at the buddha is seen as an insult. Rich in culture and spiritual wonder, its a must if you ever visit Thailand.
I hope you enjoyed a little wander down memory lane with me. Have you been to any of these places? Had a “once in a lifetime” moment to share? I feel so much excitement for getting out and seeing the world again, this time with a proper camera!. I would love to hear any amazing experiences that you have had. Also, any dream destinations that are on your “to visit” list? I love to hear about peoples travel tales. Let me know!
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