Three of my favorite memories have also been life changing travel experiences.
From tomb raiding, sun chasing, partying til dawn, and humbling moments spent delving into other cultures – no textbook in the world could have prepared me for what I’ve learnt on the road. Travel has been the best first hand education. My experiences and those of others I’ve met on the road have molded the person who I am today.
While the past eight years of travel have been unforgettable, more than anything they have been life altering. From designer threads to vacation wear, travel changed me from the inside and out.
I can always find new and exciting places but nothing will ever replace the moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life. This is why for me; my favorite memories are these irreplaceable life changing travel experiences.
Life Changing Travel Experiences
India 2008 – Floating in the Ganges
My first major international trip was to India in March of 2008. India blew my mind in every way, shape, and form. I’ve heard many say that visiting this country was one of their life changing travel experiences and it sure tops my list.
It’s as if someone lifted a shield from my eyes and shared a world of secrets with me. The people in India unmasked many realities of the world and showed me that there was a higher purpose in life than the one I knew.
One week before my extraordinary time in India came to an end, I participated in a rafting trip down the Ganges near Rishikesh. I will never forget the way the sun’s rays illuminated the vehicle as we made our way up to the top of the river.
I felt a shining moment of enlightenment. It’s as if all the dots connected and everything made perfect sense. I formulated an understanding of life and a new personal plan.
Instead of continuing with a job the following month, I was going to give myself a chance to travel and explore the world. After all, how many opportunities of freedom does a person get in their lives? This was mine.
As the adventure began and we rode down the level three rapids, the adrenalin rush sent my body into a massive high. After a thrilling white water rafting experience, the rapids became gentler and we were given the chance to jump out and swim in the river.
I leapt off the raft and into the refreshingly cool water. As I lay there, floating in the Ganges, surrounded by the majestic mountains, I was in an utter state of euphoria. I was a snow angel in the water – a water angel! Everything came together.
At that moment I knew there was no going back to my old life. I was going to travel.
Vietnam 2010 – the 40 Hour Journey from Vietnam to Laos
After an incredible but frustrating 28 days in Vietnam, I was desperate to get out of the country as soon as I could. I could no longer wait the additional day to maximize my 30 day visa. I needed out.
I left Vietnam one day earlier than planned. I joined a group of travelers I met previously and arranged to travel with them through Laos. The beginning of our journey together consisted of an epic 40 hour journey crossing the border between Sapa in Vietnam to Luang Prabang in Laos.
Whatever could have happened on this trip – happened.
The first van ride from Sapa to the border town in Vietnam alone lasted 17 hours and we experienced flat tires, only one bathroom break in someone’s backyard, sleeping on the street with 11 other travelers in front of a “bus station kiosk”, and 3 hours of road closures.
One of the most memorable parts of this particular trip was an impromptu dinner we had in the middle of nowhere with a feast of food, a house full of locals, and too many rounds of rice wine to remember.
Without even getting into the details of the second day’s journey from the border town to Luang Prabang it’s sufficient to say that the trip was a circus act. The group of travelers in the van got very close. So close, that I’m now married to a guy that I met on this epic border crossing journey from Vietnam to Laos.
This was by far one of the most life changing travel experiences ever!
Guatemala 2012 – Living in the Remote Jungle in Guatemala for 5 Weeks
In 2012, I spend five weeks working in a remote jungle lodge in Guatemala. My boyfriend (now husband) and I ran and managed a small eco-lodge that was completely water locked on the Lampara River on the Rio Dulce.
This work exchange not only gave us excellent experience working in hospitality, but it also became one of my most memorable adventures and life changing travel experiences of all time.
Our time in this magical lodge consisted of starry nights attempting to find constellations; learning how to cook from Candelaria the local Q’ekchi’ woman that worked at the lodge; endless conversations with intriguing travelers; and riding a kayak for 40 minutes just to get food for the guests!
Living in basic conditions with only solar power and no internet, I was cut off from the world and from reality. Due to this isolation in one of the most beautiful settings in the world, I remembered the root of why it was I began to travel in the first place: to find myself.
There are certain things to know before traveling the world. Find out what they are!
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