Saturday, 31 January 2009

Trips that will kick start your spirit

Maybe it's the time of year or maybe it's because I'm fast approaching the big three-zero, but I've recently been pondering life changing trips...a lot. You know the ones I mean. These are breaks from real life that pull back your eye lids to a vision of life's infinite possibilities. Possibilities, so exciting, that when you head home (if you do) there's no more scratching around working out what to do next with your fleeting existence. These are the trips that cause a paradigm shift in your very being and set you away on a next stage in life.

Mine, so far, haven't been showstopping exotic or obscure but very influential.

1997, Ibiza - two weeks spent the friends on the Mediterranean's White Isle. Floating the day times away on clear blue water, watching the sunset and fire eaters at the Cafe del Mar, then dancing in the open air to uplifting house music until the sun came up again. There was something a little spiritual in the air that year - the sun and the sea energised me. My first taste of travel hedonism left me wanting much more...

1999, Interailing In Europe - It was the last year of the 20th Century, my final year at University, I was turning 21 and I wanted some damn direction! A month travelling around certainly sorted that out, immersing me in the variety of life's opportunities that were available right on my doorstep: Continental Europe. My dedication to the travel publishing industry was decided on that trip, as was my path to the nearest capital city. And so to London...

2002, Central Park, New York - Much needed affirmation came sitting on a bench, in the snow, overlooking Central Park's ice-rink, appreciating the iconic architecture that surrounded me. I would continue working in the travel industry. I wouldn't give it up for a better salary and an easier life because moments like these are priceless....

2007 - Sarajevo - Press trip on British Airway's inaugural flight to the Bosnian capital. Experiencing and writing about a city very much emergent on the tourism scene, confirmed my passion for travel publishing and writing...

2009, Destination To Be Confirmed...but I'm looking for ideas.
Suggestions so far, via Twitter include
Authentic Sea Coast suggested Nova Scotia, at the head of the largest bay on the Atlantic Coast with more than 500km of shoreline.

Travelguru pointed me in the direction of their walking and cycling holidays. The Catalan Coast break appeals.

What would you suggest? Which travel experiences have proved pivotal in your life?

4 comments:

james said...

Great post. I've had two (so far). One in the Okavango in Botswana and more recently in a little village called Elgol that looks onto The Cuillin on Skye, Scotland. Found it as awesome as experiences such as Everest and Machu Picchu. Not quite up there with having kids (top spot by a long way) but it did change my life for a whole host of reasons. If you're looking for a taste of the sublime, head up there!

Steve said...

Spent four months travelling around South East Asia at the beginning of 2001. Whole trip was incredible but I remember the Indochina region - Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam in particular as being quite a special experience. I guess any visit to quiet places rich in Buddhism, and places full of incredibly friendly people with a tough and chequered history will always kick start the spirit.

Ben Colclough said...

Steve is right, Asia is unforgettable. The first time I backpacked in Thailand (cripes 10yrs ago now) probably struck me with the travel bug. Vietnam though is my Asian favourite. The food alone is a spiritual experience for me. Add in the beaches, the friendly people the stunning countryside and the buzz and it is hard to beat.

On the other hand the big open skies of South Africa completely hooked me. There is something about the scale of Africa that evokes the spirit. The massive horizons of the Karoo in particular are mesmerising.

Fleur said...

If you have the time, inclination and budget, check out the Vava'u islands of Tonga. Empty beaches devoid of large hotel chains, friendly locals, awe inspiring coral reefs and nature's gentle giant, the humpback whale, on your doorstep. Bliss!