Posting on a Sunday you say?! Well, well – I’ve exchanged my usual chill out, sleeping til the afternoon Sunday for a blog writing + tea sipping afternoon. I have good travel blogger friends Neil of Backpacks and Bunkbeds and Brendan of Wanders of the World to thank for that.
The rule of the game is simple – rank your top three travel memories then pass on the baton to another travel blogger. So far, I’ve read a lot of interesting experiences from my team mates, and now it’s my turn to share my stories.
Bronze : Football – London 2012 Olympics
The bronze medal goes to watching the 2012 Olympic games live.
Being at the Olympics has been a dream since I was a kid. And since moving back to Brussels early this year, I knew that I won’t let this one pass knowing that the games are only 3 hours away.
I eventually ended up watching the football quarter finals in Manchester’s Old Trafford and seeing the women’s marathon in London the day after. The atmosphere was great – Old Trafford was full with 70,000 screaming fans and the game winner, Japan, eventually was fourth overall. The games were highly organized and the streets were full of smiling English people – which I guess came from how proud they were of the games.
While I’ve only seen two games it’s already a worthwhile visit. It’s these moments of seeing history unfold in front of you is one of the rewarding notes of travel. The Olympics happen only every four years and seeing it is a story that I will tell my kids and grandkids about.
Silver : “100 meter freestyle” swimming with Whale Sharks
One of my most memorable travel experiences to date was swimming with the whale sharks in Donsol. This experience was turning point in my own appreciation of travel.
First, it was because it opened my eyes to the opportunities of travel within my own country. The Philippines is known for its untouched beaches, diverse wildlife, eclectic sceneries and culture. I’m lucky to call this country my home and in the past years, I’ve been working on also discovering my backyard.
Every January to June of the year, groups of whale shark visit the waters of the once sleepy town of Donsol. The encounter tours are arranged through the town’s tourism office, and after getting briefed on the dive, you are brought to the open seas. It’s a cat-and-mouse race as it all relies on your luck to spot whale sharks. We only had two encounters during our trip, but it was all worth it.
Second, I clearly remember that on that same boat, I met Nathan, an English backpacker, who at 25 years old has already travelled to 70 countries. I remember being inspired from what he had accomplished yet equally hopeless knowing that this may never happen to me. But still, I made a promise then – that I too will travel the world someday.
Little did I know that now that I’m 25 – I’m actually living the life that I only hopelessly dreamt four years back. It was a dream turned to a reality – and through this blog – I hoped that I too, like Nathan, will inspire others to do the same.
Gold : “Modern Travel Icositepentathlon*” – 25 by 25
Finishing my 25-country challenge definitely brings home the gold.
The race was long but I finally got to the finish line last June. The journey spanned to more than four continents, hundreds of cities and millions of miles. I’ve seen beautiful places, met awesome people and learned a lot more about the countries I stayed in and the rest of the world that is waiting to be discovered.
I’ve seen the sunrise in Angkor Wat and sunset in the Sahara desert. I’ve sense the movement of time from the ancient cities of Rome to the modern skylines of Hong Kong. It was a whirlwind of a journey, something that I can’t really narrate in a short post but the entire journey definitely counts as one very long travel memory.
Finishing this goal affirmed my belief that you don’t need to be rich to see the world nor devote your time solely for travel. I’ve done it with a full-time job and with often shallow pockets – but I made it, and other people like you can do it too! What you need is dedication, careful planning and strong drive to see the world.
At the end of the goal, I realized that it was not a sprint but a marathon – It’s not how fast you finished but it’s about the journey.
What are your top three travel moments? Share your thoughts in the comment box below!