The Olympics may now be just a distant memory, but a travel blogger relay competition that began in July in honour of the games is still under way.
The folks over at lowcostholidays.com set us all the challenge of writing about our top three travel experiences and the team with the longest chain of entries will be crowned the winners.
3. Soaring over Turkish mountains
To say I’m not good with heights would be a massive understatement. I’m petrified. I’ve never understood why the body’s natural reaction to being in a position where falling is a very real possibility is to go shaky and limp. Hoping to smash my irrational fears, I signed up for a tandem paragliding flight off the top of Babadag mountain in Turkey. To my surprise, once we were airborne and the horror of being asked to run off a cliff had subsided, it was incredibly relaxing. It was a smoother ride than I’d imagined and I settled back in my seat, enjoying the breeze and incredible views. Upon landing, I felt exhilarated and pleased that I’d accomplished a personal challenge. But what really makes the memory stand out is what happened to my friend. She looked pale as a ghost when she landed and it wasn’t due to the flight itself. As her guide had tried to get her into the right position in her seat he’d asked her to spread her legs, then followed it up with ‘Next time I ask you that, I give you one’! Only in Turkey!
2. Teaching Maasai kids the Macarena and peeing in a cornfield
When I was volunteering in a school in Tanzania, I had the opportunity to visit the family of a Maasai guy I’d come to know. A group of us from my hostel travelled there in a rickety dala dala, eventually getting stuck in mud, abandoning ship and hiking the last couple of miles. At the village, I felt like a museum artefact. The children gathered and stared in awe as we clumsily erected our hired tents. Then they squealed in delight as we handed out candies. One very bloody and distressing goat sacrifice later, we sat down to observe the tribesmen perform their traditional jumping dance, eventually throwing inhibitions to the wind and having a go ourselves. When they asked us to teach them a dance from back home, what were we to do? We had the whole extended family happily shaking their butts to the Macarena by the time the sun had fully set and the air was thick with stirred up dust from the frenzied activity. Then came the ultimate bonding experience for me and my new hostel buddies – a visit into the corn to use the ‘bathroom’. Armed with one torch and a shared roll of toilet paper, we scrambled deeper into the forest of vegetation and let our inhibitions go for a second time.
1. Cruising the Galapagos
How can anything ever compare with such an experience? As a zoology graduate, I’d always dreamed of visiting these magical islands. A few weeks ago, my dream became reality and I embarked on an 8-day catamaran tour. Words cannot do the place justice. I squatted behind giant tortoises as they munched their way through succulent vegetation, put my agility to the test chasing after playful sea lions, marine turtles, reef sharks and sting rays, and watched in amazement as hawks, crabs, blue-footed boobies, iguanas and sea lions seemingly competed for prime position in my camera frame. At night I lay on the netting at the front of the boat staring up at a planetarium of the brightest stars I’ve ever seen; some shooting overhead and disappearing where the night sky met the swirling ocean. I even experienced a tsunami warning and boat evacuation, just to add a little more excitement to what had already been the most memorable and fulfilling experience imaginable.
And now it’s time for me to pass the baton over to Melissa of themellybooproject.com. Make us all jealous!