In three weeks I will board a plane to Germany. During my time in Europe I will stay in Amsterdam, lunch in Brussels, visit London and explore Paris. This trip is a dream come true for me. I hope to post a blog about each country – probably not while I’m travelling, but in the months ahead.
So, fasten your seat belt and prepare to travel vicariously. I haven’t been overseas in more than 10 years and I’m turning 40 this year, so I’m beyond excited to be traveling again.
I have many wonderful memories of traveling in Australia – sharing a lagoon with a large green turtle while diving on the Great Barrier Reef and swimming in crystal clear pools high on a ridge in Kakadu National Park, just to name two.
But to celebrate my next adventure, here’s my reverse bucket list – my top 10 unforgettable international travel moments to-date.
1. Watching sunrise over the Ganges in Varanasi, India’s oldest city, with dolphins diving around the boat and pilgrims descending on the water’s edge to begin their ritual morning dips.
2. Walking past an Indian slum during monsoon and seeing a mother and daughter coming out of their poles-and-plastic home, with a puddle for a carpet and mud for a couch, with grins on their faces, laughing together.
3. Snuggling up under a rug cross-legged at dawn in Dharamsala, surrounded by a sea of Tibetan monks chanting mantras to honour Buddha’s birthday.
4. Sitting in the open doorway of an Indian train, with the wind blowing in my face and camels galloping in the distance, crossing the deserts of Rajasthan.
5. Huddling in a sleeping bag around an open fire with a Nepalese family, drinking hot chai, with a blizzard raging outside and Mount Everest in the distance.
6. Stepping out of my lake-side cabin, in the early heat of the tropical morning, to dive into the cool, pristine waters of Lake Toba in Sumatra.
7. Being on a bus on the second highest motor-able road in the world and climbing a peak to reach the Tibetan Plateau, with the rugged mountains rising abruptly behind us and the vast desert stretching out before us.
8. Singing on a hill-top on Gili Trawangon, with young Indonesian men playing Bob Marley riffs on their guitars, with Gili Air and Gili Meno forming stepping stones in an expanse of turquoise sea to the lush coastline of Lombok.
9. Dancing in a sari at my future husband’s brother’s wedding, in the remote village of a Himalayan hill tribe, surrounded by the picturesque snow-covered mountains of Nepal, seemingly so close you could reach out and touch them.
10. Meeting the Dalai Lama at his home in Dharamsala and being awe-struck by the presence of this physically tiny man with a beaming smile and an immense glow, as if lit up from the inside.
What are your favourite travelling memories?