The 10 Coolest Things I Have Done on my Travels

TOP 10 Experiences
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TOP 10 Experiences
Every time I meet a new person I’m asked the very same question: “Where is your favourite place you have been!?”. Trust me, it’s inevitable. Sometimes the phrase differs slightly, but it is without a doubt guaranteed to be a question posed to me within the first 10 minutes of us meeting. It’s fine – I love travel. I love talking about travel. I love sharing my stories and I love inspiring others to travel. But it’s about time I tried to knuckle down the 10 best things I have done in my life thus far (even if it is near impossible to pick just 10). So here we go…

Favela Rio

10. Visiting Favelas in Rio de Janeiro

I love being thrown in the deep end. I love being in a place so foreign to my home (now a foreign concept in itself as I travel 99% of the time). I love the feeling of discomfort, knowing that what you are experiencing is completely normal for people in that place. It encourages understanding and appreciation. This is precisely how it felt visiting the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. It was a little unnerving but not at all scary like you see made out in Hollywood films. Sure, there are still favelas like that in Rio in the present day, but by 2014 most of theses communities were assisted and ‘cleaned up’ by the government leading into the Brazil World Cup. There’s still a long way to go to bridge the disparity gap in Brazil and it was so humbling to see how happy people were with so little. What I admired most was the creativity of the people living here – artists, jewellery makers, and what I would describe as entrepreneurs in every sense of the word – at every corner trying to sell you something, anything, to get by. It was an experience I won’t ever forget.

GoPro Brooke Saward Ski Lesson

9. Learning to Snowboard in Chile & Ski in Switzerland

I’ve always been a pretty active person and love being outdoors, but it comes as a surprise to most that prior to my solo year-long journey around the world, I had never learned to ski or snowboard before. In fact, I’ve rarely ever seen snow. When the opportunity came up to learn one of the two in the Andes Mountains while visiting a ski resort there, I jumped at the chance to learn to snowboard. I loved the challenge and slowly got better over the course of a couple days, but I’d love to keep working on it whenever I’m around the slopes again. Learning to Ski in Switzerland was much easier, but still quite a task. All in all both were a lot of fun but I mostly loved the challenge of trying to learn something new!

Ricefields Bali

8. Learning to Surf in Bali

Prior to my Health Retreat in Bali I had already tried surfing once before in Buzios, Brazil. The waves there were in comparative terms like learning to swim in a kiddies pool… not quite the same! So when I learned to surf properly in Bali, I had such a great time. In all honesty I got progressively worse instead of better (haha), but it was a lot of fun and I met some of the most amazing people during my stay at The Chill House in Bali. It was a huge eye-opener to start the year off on such a high!

hogwarts express train

7. Reliving all the Harry Potter Moments

 Anyone who has been following my blog for a while or has met me for longer than 5 minutes in real life will know I am in the top 3% of the world’s most crazed Harry Potter Fans. I kid you not, I am right up there. Ask me anything – quiz me – test me – I’m a self-confessed crazed fan. So one of my life missions has been to find (and visit) all of the world’s Harry Potter locations – whether they be referenced in the books, where JK Rowling wrote the books, filming locations, or themeparks to make me feel as if I’m a true Gryffindorite. My biggest regret in life is not buying myself the Dobby plush toy at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Seriously, I gotta go back.

Skydiving Vegas

6. Sky Diving over Las Vegas

 There are a few things I have done in my travels that I honestly thought I would never do… but travel has a way of broadening your mind and pushing your limits. Skydiving over Las Vegas was one of those. It was such an exhilarating experience and I’d totally do it again! 

Brooke in Ireland

5. Ireland

 There are a few places in the world that I have gone to without a plan, for about a week in length, and just kinda gone with the flow. Too often in my job (as a full time travel blogger) I have a strict schedule, meetings or interviews, etc. to attend. But I really miss the days where I can just explore on my own without a plan and with no intent to arrive anywhere. Every so often I take some time out from the blogging world to just do my own thing and go off the radar for a few days. Ireland was one of these trips and I can’t even put it into words what this trip did for me. I’ll keep the story for my upcoming 2015 book release, A Year to Myself. But oh, i do so love you Ireland!


4. New York

New York was another one of those trips I took to myself – but in an entirely different way. I had already visited New York once before and have since been back for a short visit, but halfway through 2014 I took an entire 2 weeks off work commitments to just enjoy NYC. I spent a week of the time with a fellow travel blogger, Jessie from 24 Wanderlust, and we seriously had the time of our lives! She’s a few years younger than me (actually 5-6 years I think!!!) but this was PERFECT FOR ME. I’m a self-described Peter Pan enthusiast… meaning I refuse to grow up… meaning this was a week to be myself and we literally had the best. time. ever. Jessie has been following my blog since the beginning and reached out to see if we could hang out in NYC – we took it one step further and explore the city together for a week, staying in a small dingy hotel room (where we only slept) and exploring all the NY neighbourhoods for the week. One of the best weeks of my life! 

skydive brooke

3. Bungy Jumping (the highest in the world)

 Skydiving was one thing….. but bungy was a whole different ball game. Its the one thing I said I would NEVER DO before I took off on my solo adventure around the world. Seriously, nothing scared me as much as the idea of bungy jumping. But like I said earlier, travel has a way of changing your perception and doing weird things to you. In a complete last minute of-the-moment decision, I decided to take a ferry to Macau whilst staying in Hong Kong and jump off the world’s highest bungy. I mean…. what. even. why? But when I got up there, I wasn’t scared at all. I was laughing and making a bit of a mockery of it all (saluting the camera and just generally being ‘that guy’). Ha! It was so much fun and I’d definitely bungy again without question!!

Patagonia Chile

2. Hiking in Torres del Paine

 Some trips have a way of changing you… hiking in Torres del Paine was one of those. Again, I’m gonna save the full story for my book release – but just know that if there’s one place in the world you should go if you really want to get away and see some of the world’s best landscapes, head straight for Torres del Paine. It didn’t even feel real…


1. Safari in South Africa

 Here we are! No matter how people phrase the question, I always say that Safari in South Africa is thus far my most memorable travel experience to date. I ended up going on two safaris in 2014 on two separate occasions and the second was just as memorable. I suppose it would have something to do with my love for animals and wildlife…. but I do think everyone would enjoy safari. Its such a grounding experience to be sharing the same landmass with lions, leopards, zebras….. UGH. I loved safari. I’m gonna try get back for round three this year!
What have been your most memorable travel experiences? Do you have any suggestions for where I should go in 2015? I’d love to hear from you!!

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    Levi Sylvester
    September 26, 2015 at 1:09 am

    Skydiving was truly one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done. What made it special though was my first time was a solo jump!

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    happy independence day 2015
    July 16, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    nice one ..Which are really cool things done travels to have a ride

    Will Stephenson
    June 23, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Hitch hiking through Eastern Europe. By far the most rewarding thing I’ve done.
    A nice Albanian bloke bought me dinner and sent me on my way, we ate at a 4 star hotel restaurant!

    Tom Miller
    June 15, 2015 at 1:19 am

    Thanks for sharing this post. I love to read it.

    Howard Johnson
    April 26, 2015 at 6:32 am

    Lovely pictures and read.!! Amazing collection of places.
    Is the New York picture taken from Four Season’s Hotel.??

    Cheers. Keep writing and posting.

    ugadi greetings
    March 19, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    my favorite places are included in it thank you

    March 18, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Emily! New York city is also one of my favorite destinations in the world. Recently I came back from new york bus tours with my childhood friends. This city is filled with a lot of amazing and incredible attractions. It offers a big range of spots to explore the beauty of nature. I am waiting for your blog where you mention your favorite things in New York.

    March 18, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Emily! New York city is also one of my favorite destinations in the world. Recently I came back from [url=]new york bus tours[/url] with my childhood friends. This city is filled with a lot of amazing and incredible attractions. It offers a big range of spots to explore the beauty of nature. I am waiting for your blog where you mention your favorite things in New York.

    March 12, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    I also consider New York to be one of my best travel experiences! I visited in June last year for a week and it definitely wasn’t enough time! I am planning on writing a post on my blog about my favourite things to do in New York. I would love it if you would check it out .

    March 9, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Woww!! amazing list of things

    Dubai Safari
    March 8, 2015 at 8:26 am

    The headline attracted me so much that I could resist reading this blog.!! Amazing simply superb,
    The desert safari in Dubai is also very good, especially the arabic food and dune bashing.

    Loved your blog.!! I wish to visit New York someday
    Keep posting

    March 2, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    You have visited so many beautiful places. I love your photos. That moment with the lion is something to treasure. Whoever got that shot is amazing.

    February 25, 2015 at 7:39 am

    Haha, I always ask the same question. xD
    But I guess people who ask this don’t really expect you to give that ONE answer. I think they just want to listen to you talking about all your great adventures. (^_^) At least I do.

    February 25, 2015 at 7:19 am

    I really love this post, learning to surf in Bali is really high on my bucketlist!

    Jake Ryan
    February 25, 2015 at 5:46 am

    A safari is my ultimate bucket list destination 😀


    February 24, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    I totally fell in love with incredible Mexico in 2014 – definitely worth a visit!

    February 23, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    please visit Philippines! Would love to see you here

    Jodie @alaperchoine
    February 19, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Wow these sound great. I would love to skydive everywhere I travel but Vegas is now high on my list!

    You inspired me to write my own post on my coolest travel experiences

    Jodie x

    Becca Jarrett
    February 15, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    You are so right! Getting lost and totally off the map in Ireland is the only way to see it! Ireland is mossy single-lane roads, small taverns with a live band, overgrown roofless castles, and soda bread with every meal. I loved hearing about the African safari–that is something I have never done, so you have totally inspired me! And now I’m curious about your new book! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    February 9, 2015 at 2:28 am

    Great list! I too have an African Safari on my list and not a bungee jump! I think my favourite place is Greece… So far! X

    February 6, 2015 at 1:37 am

    Oh my goodness, the bungee jumping – you are so brave! Bungee jumping is currently on my “Things I’ll Never Do” list. lol Maybe one day I’ll let go of my fear and take the plunge. Eek! Great List, Brooke – I’m ready for a little more adventure in my life now. :oD

    Jacqui {WifeyBB}
    February 3, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    omg that safari picture……. I wanna be theeeere !!!

    Dinesh Kumar
    February 1, 2015 at 12:20 am

    Amazing list. Traveling is one of the best things we should do in our life. It’s good to see that you are enjoying your life fully. Visiting your blog inspires others too, to live their life.

    January 30, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Amazing list! You’ve added a few new ideas to our bucketlist as well. Some of our coolest travel experiences have been learning to SCUBA dive in Thailand (much like you jumped at the opportunity to learn to ski, we last-minute signed up for a scuba course and couldn’t have been happier we did that), hiking to see Mount Fuji at sunrise in Japan, and driving our little jeep through vicious rivers in Iceland! We look forward to seeing more of your adventures. Cheers 🙂

    Stephanie Rogers
    January 29, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    I am so desperate to go to South Africa!! After seeing the well travelled wife’s posts there too it has shot up to the top of my travel bucket list! Also super jealous that you’ve seen the route to Hogwarts! I went to the studios recently and can genuinely say it was one of the best day’s ever!!

    Britt Jeffs
    January 28, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Great list. Safari is also up there in my top 10. I went to Lake Nakuru in Kenya and it was the best experience. I want to go back and spend an extended period of time on that particular continent!

    January 28, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    That’s the kind of memories that will stay forever! You made everything happen and it is awesome!
    Continue to living with passion girl 😉
    Feel free to contact me if you are in Paris someday, we could have a croissant and a cafe.

    xo Aurora

    Sophia Chiang
    January 28, 2015 at 6:26 am

    I visited Villa El Salvador in Lima, Peru, which is similar to the favelas in Rio (Villa El Salvador is the 2nd biggest slum after Rio), and found the experience life changing! I think you would rather enjoy that experience too if you’re ever in the area 🙂

    Luc @ The Wanderlust Scout
    January 27, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    I didn’t do a whole heap of travel in 2014, but 2015 there will be plenty. I am moving to London in 3 weeks (eek) and then Prague for my birthday a few days later. I plan on seeing as much of the British countryside that i can and then seeing more of Europe.

    Lucy x ||

    LEE @ Modern Granola
    January 27, 2015 at 7:56 am

    Woah this is very cool. Fun to see all of your favorite moments! Thanks for sharing!

    Bobbi Gould
    January 27, 2015 at 6:15 am

    Hi there! I had to read this list because it’s interesting to see the places people love who have traeled extensively. I’ve been traveling for years, and am finally writing about it! Do you allow guest bloggers? 🙂

    January 27, 2015 at 4:33 am

    This is such an amazing list! I would love to do all of them. 🙂

    January 27, 2015 at 2:22 am

    I am a very new reader to your blog as I stumbled across it only a few weeks ago. As a lover of traveller myself, it is so refreshing to read your blog (after an exhausting and busy day at school!) and to live vicariously through you as you conquer the globe!

    I am SO proud of your top travel moment in 2014! As I try to travel as much as I can, I often need to remind myself of what is right on my doorstep. South Africa is definitely one of the most beautiful and picturesque countries and our wildlife is outstanding. Thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts of your incredible safari trip.

    Travel safe!


    January 27, 2015 at 2:20 am

    Oh these are all in my wishlist too ! You should check out my latest blogspot about Morroco, and maybe visit it next year ?

    January 27, 2015 at 1:40 am

    Hi Brooke 🙂
    I live in Cape Town, South Africa and am so so glad to hear that safari in SA is your number one coolest thing you’ve done! I go to a game reserve at least once a year on holiday and each time is more magnificent than the last!
    Many people don’t know that South Africa is a seriously beautiful country with so much to offer, and it is so great that you are sharing your wonderful experience there with your readers – hopefully it will inspire many of them to come to SA too!
    I don’t know how much time you’ve spent in Cape Town, but it is a really amazing city with so much to do – it has a great food and wine culture, trendy nightlife and amazing natural environment! The New York Times even named it the number one place to visit in 2014! So I recommend you make a trip here this year 🙂
    On a side note, I love your blog (it is my ultimate escape, to read your posts and daydream about all the awesome places you have visited!) and it has inspired me to start my own blog when I go travelling in Europe for 3 months this year!
    Let me know if you decide to come visit CT and I would love to show you all my favourite spots and things to do 🙂

      January 27, 2015 at 11:40 am

      Hi Jessica! I spent 5 days in Cape Town before starting an overland tour last year. I feel in love with the place! I’ve traveled to 6 continents and I think Cape Town is my favorite place I’ve been! It’s so beautiful! Unfortunately I missed out on seeing the Winelands 🙁 I’ll have to go next time!

    January 27, 2015 at 12:50 am

    Hi Brooke!

    New reader, spent the past few weeks catching up on all your posts. As a South African who loves to travel, it makes me so happy to see that a safari here made your list. I’ve only been to about 10% of my must-see places but my own country just makes me so happy too!
    Living here, I am fortunate to go to the bushveld on safari a few times a year and I promise you, it just never gets old. For something more intimate (and less intimidating than the massive Kruger Park) I suggest the gorgeous Pilanesberg (try to stay at Shepherd’s Tree Lodge). Of course, you have to experience the Cape Winelands in South Africa too, which is like a different workd from the bush but my second favourite trip in the country!

    Loving your blog! X

    The Daily Miacis
    January 26, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    I’ll love to do 8,7, and 5 🙂

    January 26, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Awesome list. Totally jealous!

    January 26, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    The Harry Potter tour has to be the best one. I’m so jealous. That just sounds like a dream besides visiting Hogwarts at Disney.

    Christie of The Butterfly Editions
    January 26, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Amazing! So many surreal experiences that you will remember forever 🙂 A memorable travel experience of mine last year was training for a whole month at a Muay Thai camp in Thailand – I’d never done anything like it before and it was crazy challenging but so rewarding, I learnt so much!

    January 26, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    I went skiing for the first time yesterday – and I’m Canadian! It always seems to shock people. But I had a great time doing it.

    Reading about Patagonia and Easter Island were some of my favourite places you visited this year!

    January 26, 2015 at 7:09 am

    Your picture from hiking will forever my ultimate favorite picture from your blog. It’s so breathtaking 🙂
    XO Janina

    Emily Zheng
    January 25, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Oh my god those experiences seem so surreal!

    Petra @ The Global Couple
    January 25, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Wow, it looks like you have had some amazing experiences! I love New York as well – it’s definitely my favourite city. We found it pretty expensive (coming from New Zealand) so compiled an itinerary for NYC on the cheap!

    Karisa @ Flirting with the Globe
    January 25, 2015 at 7:27 am

    I totally agree – I LOVED my South African safari!

    January 25, 2015 at 4:08 am

    What amazing travels you’ve had! I think my safari in South Africa is one of my favorite trips so far as well! Will have to check out your other recommended trips soon .

    Leah of The Mochilera Diaries
    January 25, 2015 at 3:31 am

    Envious of the African safari bit…that’s very high up on my to-do list! I’m also one of those who says they’ll never bungie jump…but I think I’m just fooling myself and it’ll happen one day whether I’m ready or not!

    January 25, 2015 at 3:09 am

    I really want to visit the favelas in Rio someday… it looks so amazing.

    Lizzy from Nomad Notebook

    January 25, 2015 at 12:24 am

    Doing a safari is definitely the best thing I have ever done. Seeing all those animals that close up is incredible.
    I’m hoping to head out to Ireland at some point this year – def a must see on my list.
    Also very glad to see a fellow Harry Potter geek! I grew up round the corner from Lacock Abbey and still have yet to go there (but I have been to the studios 3 times…)

    Kate ~ Beak Up Crafts
    January 24, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Wow you have been to some really amazing places. Torres del Paine looks absolutely breathtaking!
    I think the favourite places I have been to are California (Yosemite, Kings Canyon), Las Vegas and Pangkor Laut in Malaysia. All brilliant in completely different ways!

    January 24, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    i would love to hike the Torres Del Paine. There’s nothing more rewarding than finishing a beautiful hike!

    January 24, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Come to Iceland!

    January 24, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Safari is my favourite travel experience so far too! I went on multiple during my Africa trip – Etosha in Namibia, Chobe in Botswana, Serengeti in Tanzania and the Naivasha and Nakuro lakes in Kenya. All of them were incredible but I must say the Serengeti was Spectular! Totally unreal feeling being there, It felt like I was in the LionKing <3. The whole tour was incredible really, there was a highlight every day of the 54! Cape Town South Africa, Skydiving over the Namib dessert in Namibia, canoeing into the middle of the Okavengo Delta and 'bush camping'in Botswana, Victoria Falls in Zambia, Lake Malawi and hiking up the mountains to Livingstonia in Malawi, getting lost exploring Stone Town and the stunning beaches of Zanzibar and trekking deep into untouched jungle tracking Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable NP in Uganda.
    A must do for all nature lovers!
    Instagram: _rachmaree_

    January 24, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    great question! 🙂

    January 24, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    I think if you went to the Galapagos Islands, it would definitely make this list! Think animals in an untouched landscape, scuba diving with seals, wild nature at its best.

    January 24, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    it’s great to follow you on Facebook and blog. Just curious how do you finance your travelling?

    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel
    January 24, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Such amazing experiences and beautiful photos to boot! It really goes to show the most memorable and impactful experiences we have are the ones where we are actively participating in life, rather than just being a passive viewer!

    January 24, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Ahhh love that #1 is going on a safari! I’m going on safari in Kruger when I am in South Africa in June 😀 And I CAN’T WAIT. Even thinking about it I’m like ‘I cannot believe I’m going to get to DO that!’

    Brooke, you should come to SA in June and we can go on safari together! We can bond over Gilmore Girls, Bon Iver and Harry Potter! What do ya say?

    Susan the farm quilter
    January 24, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    How about a totally off the wall question for you – how do you manage to stay so slim with all the great foods you have had the chance to experience all over the world? I know that you are active, but I know that when I travel I do have to be very aware of what I am eating or I’ll need a new wardrobe before I leave!

    January 24, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Spending 3 weeks hiking to and from Mount Everest Base Camp. Hands down the most memorable trip I’ve ever taken. Now I’m off to Europe and looking forward to also geeking out with all things Harry Potter! 🙂

    Clipping Path Outsource
    January 24, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Where is your favorite place you have been!?