Now that I’m back, I’ve been asked difficult questions: what was my favorite country? My favorite food? My best experience?
I didn’t really think in terms of “the best” while I was traveling. Some food have held some importance, such as dark chocolate TimTam in Australia… because I bought them for the end-of-a-hike comfort food, or when I discovered P&J lemonade in New Zealand. (I have a thing for lemons.)
And how do you compare countries? Is it about the sights, the people, the food, the travel experience…? How do you put one above the other?
So I’ll write in terms of bucket list. For those who don’t know the concept, the bucket list is a wishlist of things you would like to do (skydiving…), travel to (Japan…), see (Taj Mahal…), accomplish (Tongariro alpine crossing…), and so on in your life.
I had five items on that list to cross during my travel.
- Angkor Wat – Cambodia
- Uluru – Australia
- Easter Island – Chile
- Machu Picchu – Peru
- Carnival – Trinidad
Each, in their way, was a profound experience. You will notice that each has spiritual roots, and they are all different, from different cultures, with different meanings. Even though, and I will exclude the Carnival for that one, visitors are offered the possibility to be there at sunrise.
Yes, a sunrise over a landmark makes for spectacular pictures, especially if the sky cooperates, but block the other 300 tourists around you (I know, easier said than done), and you can picture yourself in another time, another century, and you can imagine how a different people lived through their sunrise in the same place.
And if you are really lucky, and can create that empty bubble around you, you can make that mental or physical journey to this place of high spirituality. And if you are me, you ponder on the meaning of making that journey.
That said, I’ll add that I particularly enjoyed Vietnam and the lanterns in Hoi An, and I loved visiting the temple of Borobudur in Indonesia. I walked in a cactii-filled desert in Chile that was a joy to see, I lived for several weeks above 2,000m (and reached above 4,000), I saw breathtaking geothermal activity in two separate countries. I straddled the Equator.
I’ve breakfasted with kangaroos, I rode a camel, I’ve seen llamas and vicunas and emus, dolphins and a grey whale, eagles, sea lions, koalas…
I’ve put my feet in the Southern Ocean, and in many, many seas.
How do you say “this is my favorite place” or “that was my best experience”…?