Like a lot of the world right now, I am self-isolating against the Coronavirus outbreak, and as a result have a lot of time on my hands.
Although this can be quite a stressful time, and frustrating to those of us who don’t like being cooped up in one space for a vast amount of time, but it’s not going to be forever. But I think in unprecedented times like this, it’s important to look back and be grateful for what you have experienced and use it to fuel your day.
So, I thought that I would spend some time thinking back on the travel that I have experienced over the last few years and pick out my top 5 favourite memories!
Although not a particularly happy memory, visiting Auschwitz will always stick in my mind as a really important trip. I have now been to the camp three times. The first time I visited was with the Holocaust Educational trust during my time at college. I was given the opportunity to fly to Poland for the day for the sole purpose of visiting Auschitwz and learning about what happened there.
I then visited again with a friend a few years ago, and finally with my family when we went on holiday to Krakow. These two times, I was obviously older and had learnt more about the Holocaust at university. From a historical perspective, it was incredibly informative. From a personal point of view, it was deeply humbling and unforgettably sad.
I still stand by the fact that if you have the opportunity to visit Auschwitz, or any of the other camps for that matter, then you should take it. Although it is not a happy trip to take, it is important to acknowledge the deaths that occurred there and remember those whose lives were taken away from them.
One of my favourite ever holidays was celebrating new year in Bergen, Norway. It was the first time I had been to scandinavia and I still can’t get over how beautiful it is. And how expensive… but i gues you just have to accept that part!
We spent new years day hiking up Mount Fløyen. It’s not a particularly big mountain, but it was such a peaceful way to bring in the new year. Although I’m a big lover of the sunshine and warmth, the snowy mountain was very refreshing. Also, because the booze is so expensive in Norway, I wasn’t rocking a big hangover either!
My third best travel memory was seeing the sun rise over Angkor Wat. I don’t know what it is, but I just find that theres something so exciting about getting up early. Not so much if you’re getting up early to go to work… but when you’re on holiday theres just something magic about the stillness of the world, whilst you’re up and about.
Waking up to see Angkor Wat was no different to this. In order to see the sunrise, we had to get up way before day break. We had already planned for a tuk-tuk driver to take us around for the day and so met him outsde our hostel at the agreed time.
Once we had paid for our entrance tickets, we drove to the entrance to the park, and walked in the pitch black to find a good spot to wait in for the sun to rise. Having been excited to explore the ruins anyway, seeing the sun rise over the temple was an extra special moment.
So, I always knew that this was going to be one of the best experiences that I may ever have. Hiking the Inca Trail had always been something that I wanted to do. There’s just a sense of accomplishment which you get from having to work hard for enjoyment.
The views from the Inca trail will always be something I treasure. I can’t really put into words the sheer beauty of the Andean mountains. It didn’t seem real, and when I look back on the pictures, I can’t quite believe that I was there and saw it with my own eyes.
It was also really refreshing being completely isolated from the outside world. No phone signal, no wifi, nothing but the people that you had around you. It was nice to be forced to switch off for a little while and just take in your surroundings and focus on each footstep at a time.
My absolute best travel memory has got to be celebrating Holi in India.
India is the best country that I have visited and will always hold a very special place in my heart. But being able to celebrate Holi with the children that I had been teaching and the people living in the apartment blocks was just a really special experience.
Celebrating Holi in India had been on my bucket list for some time, and so actually living it was always going to be one of those ‘pinch me’ moments. We spent the day dancing and eating and throwing paint on each other, and it was just lighthearted fun. It was also my second to last day in India, so was a really nice way to say goodbye to everyone and the place I had been living for a month.
So there we have it! My top 5 travel experiences. I can’t wait until I am able to get out of the house again and start adding to my list of adventures! But until then, I will be social distancing and washing my hands!