Here are my best ever travel moments and why they Still resonate with me today.
If you read my blog then you’ll know I caught the travel bug when I was 19 after my first time on a plane for a trip to Greece. Since then I have experienced a desire to travel and explore the world. But there are some places I have visited which have really stuck in my mind as amazing experiences. Here are some of my best ever travel moments so far.
Completing the Inca trail trek and seeing Machu Picchu at sunrise
What an amazing experience, I was 21 years old and decided to join a charity trek to raise money for Great Ormand Street hospital by trekking the Inca trail. One of my best ever travel moments, as I had never experienced such determination and inspiring people. This plus the altitude brought me to tears once we managed to reach the top point of our trek. Watching the sunrise at the sun gate and listening to inspiring stories of my fellow travellers made me the emotional travel -geek I am today. Machu Picchu itself is an exceptional example of ancient Incan design. Wandering and climbing through these ruins is something I will never forget.
Meeting and learning to care for elephants at Patara Elephant Farm
What an amazing experience. I have never been so close to Elephants, let alone experienced such an encounter. At Patara Elephant farm We learned how to tell if the elephants were healthy or not, how to feed them and clean them, and also examine their diet (check their poop)! My husband had a cute baby elephant climb all over him and I rode a teenage elephant through the forest on a very adventurous ride. What did I learn? Never ride an elephant with a box or saddle attached to its back, the real way to do it is with no adjustments and on their head. Always make sure the animals are treated right before you visit an animal attraction. We did, but we have also seen some horrendous treatment in resorts where elephants are painted and paraded around a city area. Be a responsible traveller and be aware!
Walking the wall of China and navigating crazy Beijing
This was my second charity trek and I travelled with my brother (on his first flight ever!) and a group of others raising money for various charities organised by Discover Adventure. I will never forget this experience, fantastic views, amazing history and bonds that will never be broken. Climbing the ancient wall, zip lining across a lake and a pretty ropey toboggan ride down a mountain. Beijing was my first experience of getting completely lost. No English signs meant taking the train to somewhere, we had no idea where, and an expensive taxi using our hotel card address. But would I change it Lewis Rymer? No I wouldn’t.
Breakfast in the Vatican and an intimate viewing of the Sistine Chapel
One of those places that you will never forget. I had visited the Vatican before, however this time I got to experience the place without the crowds. We managed to book an early tour of the museum starting with breakfast in the middle of the Vatican before getting a unique visit in this spectacular place. Sometimes we had a whole room of the museum to ourselves. The highlight, of course, was the Sistine Chapel. It is very busy during the day and even though you need to be quiet, there is a hum of conversation you can hear when inside. Well, this time it was absolutely silent with only a few people present. A peaceful and mindful experience.
Seeing a show at the fabulous Moulin Rouge in Paris
We had a table right next to the stage, it was my 30th birthday and the champagne was flowing! The show was fantastic I enjoyed every minute of it! But the best part was the classic cancan. I also loved the way the tables were lit and set. Exactly what I would expect of a classic old-fashioned Parisian nightclub. I’m so glad I got to celebrate my 30th birthday in such style. It is such an iconic attraction in Paris and it is definitely worth the cost. The champagne was great too!
Exploring the historic Mayan buildings of Chichen Itza
I love visiting ancient and historic places when travelling. In fact, I often choose to visit places because of the ancient attractions I can see and explore there. Mexico was the first all-inclusive beach holiday we had as a couple together, we spent ten days in the resort however the highlight was visiting Chichen Itza and the amazing pyramids and structures in the complex. I am so pleased I got to check this off my bucket list as one of the 7 wonders of the world.
Seeing a Broadway show in New York
I have been to the theatre a few times before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the small theatre and amazing talent made this a night to remember. It was more intimate than I expected and we had a great view of the stage. Jersey Boys was a great show and the music of Frankie Valley was perfect to hear whilst in the city. Just one of the fantastic things I did in New York, even if I didn’t even realise how great the city was at the time.
Celebrating Octoberfest In Germany
So, we were travelling through Europe after getting married in Croatia and we ended up in Berlin for the first night of Oktoberfest. Totally unplanned but such a great end to our mini-moon trip. We enjoyed singing, drinking lots of beer and meeting fellow travellers enjoying the fantastic atmosphere. A tick off the bucket list without even knowing is a pretty great thing to achieve.
Swimming with Dolphins in the Caribbean
This is a bucket list item for so many people and I am so glad I got to spend some time with these beautiful creatures. I was pregnant at the time, so I couldn’t take part in the whole itinerary but it was still amazing to watch, swim with, hold and touch the Dolphins. We did some research before we booked to ensure the dolphins are well looked after and have space to enjoy. This particular centre was part of the sea, so the dolphins swam in natural seawater and weren’t “performing tricks” which put my mind at ease.
Witnessing Sunrise at Angkor Wat
Visiting Angkor in Cambodia was a massive deal for me. We had the chance to visit to see a spectacular sunrise whilst in Siem Reap. (Along with hundreds of other tourists). But it was special none the less. Those who know me, understand that I love historical sites and am so interested in the history of the world. Especially ancient history. So visiting here, the colours, the reflections, the anticipation in the atmosphere. Priceless.
Snorkelling with Whale Sharks in Mexico
Between June and September, these wonderful creatures make their way to an area where the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean sea meet to feed on the abundant plankton. I hadn’t planned this before I visited Mexico on this occasion but when I heard about the trip it was something I couldn’t miss. It was quite daunting jumping into the middle of the sea with these massive creatures. However, it was absolutely worth it! I was seasick, fell off the boat and I still say this was an amazing experience. Swimming with the biggest fish in the sea.
Taking our daughter on her first flight to Lisbon
At three months old we took our daughter on her first flight and our first trip to Portugal. We were told it was too hard to travel with a child, that our holidays will stop. But we planned and prepared and had a lovely trip! Perhaps we went to fewer bars, drank less beer and went to bed a bit earlier. But we still managed to explore the sites and navigate the city. Seeing everything we wanted in the short break whilst keeping the baby happy. Starting as we meant to go on we knew we could do it!
Getting married in Dubrovnik and other destination weddings
When it comes to best ever travel moments there’s not much that comes close to getting married in a beautiful and memorable destination. Croatia is a stunning destination, and I am pleased that we got married in a place we can keep returning to. Walking down the Stradun my extremely long aisle. Having Sponza palace to ourselves and the boat ride on the stormy sea that was hit or miss the whole time. It was a fantastic day, The history, the scenery and the memories make Dubrovnik a place we treasure and continue to visit. We actually returned for our 4 year anniversary bringing our baby girl along too.
This year we have also been so fortunate to travel and witness two family weddings. My brother and his beautiful wife were married in the Dominican Republic in April and my gorgeous sister in law and her husband married in Mexico in June. We are so lucky to have spent quality family time together this year and I am very grateful for that.
Should I go on?
Whilst writing this I have thought about so many other places and experiences that I will never forget. I may actually post a part two of this in the future. But before I turn this into a bragging article, I want to address a question or comments I am asked all the time!
How do you afford to travel so much?
To be honest, its all about priorities. When asked why I do my job, my answer is always for the holidays. I would love to travel the world full time but it’s not viable for our family at the moment so we do it our own way. I work full time and write as a subsidiary. So any extras I make goes mostly straight into the travel fund. Sometimes whilst we are away. I think I work hard but play hard too. If you want to travel, even as a family, then it can be done. I aspire to continue, although I know it’s getting more expensive the bigger our family gets. But exploring the world will always be something important to me.
Most recently I have learned you can’t take anything for granted. So enjoy the time you have, and do with it what makes you and your closest happy. I will, and I hope you will share those times with me.