After travelling to nearly 50 countries in just 22 years of living, it is hardly a surprise that the first question people ask me is more often than not asking about where my favourite place has been or my biggest life changing experience. While there are a handful of cities and countries I would classify as my favourites, there are just three travel experiences I can name to date that have completely altered my perspective on life.
This post is in celebration of the Contiki Legends concept, which itself celebrates legendary travel experiences. I would love to hear from you in the comments below about your most iconic legendary travel experience – so please feel free to take a look at the website and share your similar experiences!
The 3 Travel Experiences that Changed My Perspective on Life
My first trip overseas Solo
Boarding my Paris-bound flight for my first solo adventure overseas at 20 years of age was undoubtedly the most exhilarating thing I had done in my life to that day. It perhaps wasn’t until I landed to frosted over airplane windows at Charles de Gaulle airport at 6:00am the following morning that I realised just what I was in for. As it would turn out, my first solo journey overseas to Europe coincided with the 2012 European Cold Wave. Needless to say, it was a challenge in more ways than one.
But regardless of how many times I tripped over myself in the snow, the ongoing head cold for the entirety of my trip and the many nights spent cocooned in my doona like a caterpillar waiting to become a butterfly, it was the best three weeks of my life and completely altered my perception of life and everything about it.
It was on this trip that I began to value experiences more than things, where I learned to say “I’m a vegetarian” in 7 languages, and where I learned what it was like to rely solely on myself.
Spotting the Big 5 on Safari
After travelling solo for the three years that followed, you could say that I was hooked. I was enjoying meeting new people, learning new languages, experiencing different cultures…. When the next life changing travel experience made me again think about the wonderful world we live in.
It was my first time on a wildlife safari in the Kruger National Park in South Africa when I again felt I was experiencing a life changing moment. I had now been a vegetarian for 8 years and began speaking to my game ranger about the persisting problem of poaching these beautiful animals we were here to see.
While at first it was disheartening to hear that poaching is still such a big problem in Africa, it soon became apparent to me that I shouldn’t be thinking of how far we have to go in terms of our treatment of animals, but instead consider how far we have come! It was encouraging to learn that while poaching is still rife, photographic safaris bring in much more revenue than hunting safaris ever did – so at least we’re heading in the right direction!
Jumping off the Highest Bungy in the World
If there’s one thing I have always said I would never do and feared beyond belief, it’s bungy jumping. Years ago I leapt out of a plane and experienced skydiving for the first time, but when I found myself in Hong Kong just a ferry ride away from the world’s highest bungy jump in Macau, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to tick something so crazy off my bucket list.
After years of saying I never would, I finally took my leap of faith and jumped off the highest bungy jump in the world. While it was over in a mere matter of seconds, I can now say with complete faith that there is nothing that I would never do!
Over to you! What travel experience changed your perspective on life? Let me know in the comments below!