My Top 5 Once in a Lifetime Travel Moments

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.

Once in a lifetime travel moments
Hump Back Whales

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!

once in a lifetime travel moments

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……

once in a lifetime travel moments

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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  1. June 28, 2018 / 8:33 pm

    Oh wow – that story about the whales is amazing. I think I might have had a little cry too if I had been there! Would love to read more animal posts if you have ideas for them 🙂

    • kerrylifeandloves
      June 28, 2018 / 9:02 pm

      Honestly Kirsty, it was the most magical moment and I felt so incredibly humbled and lucky. I am so obsessed with animals as you know! I might have a think on that. I have always wanted to do one on dog rescue as its something I am incredibly passionate about. I could have a whole animal section hahaha! Thank you for reading lovely xxx

      • June 30, 2018 / 10:12 pm

        I would love to read a post about dog rescue. Apart from that, I think it’s such an important topic. XX

        • kerrylifeandloves
          July 3, 2018 / 12:45 pm

          Yes me too, I walk dogs for a local rescue so see it first hand and its heartbreaking. I will see what I can do xxx

  2. June 28, 2018 / 9:30 pm

    What beautiful memories to cherish Kerry, as you clearly do! So pleased to hear you have far more to come!

    • kerrylifeandloves
      June 28, 2018 / 9:34 pm

      Thank you so much for popping across. Oh I really do, such amazing adventures! Yes we are off tomorrow for a few days to Austria. Cant wait! Have an amazing weekend x

  3. Jean
    June 28, 2018 / 11:50 pm

    WOW, WOW, WOW Kerry, truly amazing experiences, a joy to read, so well explained, you truly have seen some wonderful sights and experienced different cultures. Look forward to reading more.
    Great post

    • kerrylifeandloves
      June 29, 2018 / 7:34 am

      Thank you so much! I feel so very lucky. I cant wait to add more adventures to my list. Thank you for reading xxx

  4. Lise
    June 29, 2018 / 7:14 am

    Love this! I wish I was able to dive too but my lungs are no good for that.. I could only imagine all of the things you have seen underwater. I don’t think I’ve had any of those once in a lifetime moments like that yet, at least not a positive one.. I had lightning strike two meters from my feet and that was memorable, and a bit traumatizing, does that count? Hah.

    • kerrylifeandloves
      June 29, 2018 / 7:36 am

      Yes that counts! Although pretty scary I can imagine, but how many people have actually had that experience eh! You can actually see amazing sights with just a snorkel and mask in clear water. Definitely have a look when your next in the sea. Im so fascinated by the under the sea world. Its so vibrant. Thank you for reading Lise xxx

  5. June 29, 2018 / 7:46 am

    OMG Kerry I love this post. It’s so special and thank you for telling us these interesting stories, I really enjoyed post. Really want to go to Mexico, it looks like perfect place for holiday. xx

    • kerrylifeandloves
      June 29, 2018 / 7:59 am

      Ahhh thank you for reading! I love hearing travel tales, and it always makes me want to visit the place when someone tells me about it. Mexico is beautiful, and we had a wonderful holiday there. One for your list for sure xxx

  6. Susanne
    June 29, 2018 / 10:39 am

    What a lovely post! 🙂 I would probably react as you did if I ever get to see whales in real life. This reminds me of what I want to do next summer when we hopefully live in West Cork (yep, planning to move to Ireland).
    You’ve done so many brave things that I’d never do! The great barrier reef looks breathtaking! And seeing that turtle family must have been fantastic.

    • kerrylifeandloves
      June 29, 2018 / 6:59 pm

      Ohhh wow Susanne, moving to Cork?? Thats blooming exciting! What an adventure that will be! Brilliant. Honestly, I truly did tear up again when I wrote this post as it was an experience I had dreamt about in forever! One of the best moments of my life. I just have a thing for the underwater kingdom we are so lucky to share good ole planet earth with dont you? Whales are amazing. Thank you so much for reading xxx

  7. June 29, 2018 / 10:00 am

    Really enjoyed this post Kerry! Making me just want to up and travel the world! So many amazing places out there to see. The floating market sounds amazing, i’m such a sucker for market stalls! And diving into the barrier reef ah, i’m sure it was such an amazing feeling xx

    • kerrylifeandloves
      June 29, 2018 / 6:54 pm

      Grace you have your big adventure coming up and Im so excited for you! There really is so many places to explore and discover, its so exciting isnt it! The barrier reef was amazing, Is love to do more dives. Thanks for reading xxxx

      • June 30, 2018 / 9:23 am

        Thank you! I absolutely cannot wait, will be so exciting. Definitely, love the idea of knowing there is a massive world out there ready to explore xxxx

  8. July 3, 2018 / 5:27 pm

    These experiences sound incredible! I’ve always wanted to see whales but never been lucky enough. Your story brought a tear to my eye and I wasn’t even there! Seeing sharks, turtles and elephants while in sri lanka has to be my best moment. I’m also a sucker for anything wildlife related.

    • kerrylifeandloves
      July 3, 2018 / 5:46 pm

      Ohhhh I am beyond jealous! Elephant. My ultimate wish. I honestly think I will cry like a mad woman if I am ever lucky enough to see them in the wild. I just love them. Oh and Lions. Oh and Giraffes. Basically any animal haha! Thank you so much for reading, I really appreciate you stopping by. I really hope you get to see the whales, simply breathtaking!

  9. July 4, 2018 / 7:50 am

    Love this! Inspired me to think about my top travel experiences 😂 Am with you on the whale & dolphin watching. I try to do it every time I’m in a place that offers trips. Just incredible to see them in person, such an experience.

    • kerrylifeandloves
      July 4, 2018 / 9:09 am

      Ahhh that is great news that it has given you a little inspiration. Id love to hear your top travel moments, let me know if you post them! There is just something so magical about that underwater world isnt there. Thank you so much for reading xx

      • July 8, 2018 / 3:54 pm

        No worries, was a great post. I’ve just started a post, give me a week or so. My Dad kept all my emails home so been going through them, a nice trip down memory lane. Though giving me itchy feet now! :o)

    • kerrylifeandloves
      July 24, 2019 / 8:04 am

      Thank you for reading! I will always know how lucky I am to have gotten to see some of the place. The trouble is, as you well know, the list of places we want to visit just grows and grows doesnt it!

      • July 24, 2019 / 10:36 am

        I know that’s a real issue, I thought I had a a solid list until I started blogging and found all these amazing places I had never thought of

        • kerrylifeandloves
          July 25, 2019 / 7:59 am

          Hahahaha! Yep, it will do that to you! It’s good to have a list I reckon. Hope you get to them all x

  10. July 24, 2019 / 11:40 am

    Oh Kerry Thailand sounds amazing, I would love to go one day and really take in all the culture. And Oz, I bet that was incredible seeing the humpback whales!! I love hearing your travel stories.

    Regrettably over the years when I was cabin crew I went to some fab places but I really missed the opportunity to do the sights and take in the culture. I went to Mombasa a few times, but never did safari, Canada but never skied, Cancun but never visited the chichen itza. Don’t get me wrong I had fun on the trips (too much sometimes hehe) but it was all quite partying orientated lol.

    But I do remember my first ever flight was a weeks trip to the Maldives, a little girl from Kent who had never really traveled before. I remember we were doing the final clear-in on decent, checking seat belts etc , I walked to the back galley & one of the girls was saying Heather come and look. I went over to the door window and the view coming in over the Maldives was amazing. All these tiny atols in pure turquoise waters, stunning.

    Also one time flying back from Calgary I was working at the front and the captain called me and the purser on the inter-phone to go into the flight-deck. We went in and OMG we were flying through the northern lights! All these wild green whooshes dancing through the air – bloody amazing!

    When me and Mark went to Cairo a few years back we went to the Pyramids and that was amazing, I felt a real connection and almost emotional lol.

    You’ve really got me remembering now! Travel is fab isn’t it xxx

    • kerrylifeandloves
      July 25, 2019 / 8:03 am

      Ohhh Heather it sounds like you have seen some amazing things! I would love to see the Northern Lights! Also the pyramids. I went to the Maldives for my honeymoon, so I know exactly the view you are talking about. It is breath taking isnt it. Ohhhh I have such wanderlust at the minute! You are so right, travel is the best gift we can give ourselves

  11. July 24, 2019 / 6:27 pm

    This is lovely, it’s great how many times animals feature in your favourite memories! So many amazing bucket list ticks. I’d absolutely love to snorkel with turtles. Thanks for sharing (and making us all want to get on Skyscanner!) Melis x

    • kerrylifeandloves
      July 25, 2019 / 8:05 am

      Thank you so much for reading. It was funny, until I sat down to write this post I had not realised that they mainly featured animals haha! I think we are so lucky that we get to experience such amazing things when we travel do you? Oh, and I am never going to tell anyone to stay away from Skyscanner… it do it do it!

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