We have been lucky enough to visit some amazing places over the past few years that have been unforgettable experiences and ones which have changed our perspectives and in many ways lives as a result. In the next 18 months we will be setting off to travel the world indefinitely and making dreams come true and ticking things off our bucket list on a daily basis, but before then I would like to pause and take a look at the places which had the biggest impact on us and ultimately lead us down this path of further travel. So in no particular order, here our top 5 (Actually 7 because screw the rules!)
Moscow was somewhere I had been fascinated with for a long time and hoped that one day I would get to visit it, imagining that it was like some kind of sealed state, but the truth in fact is completely different. Visiting Russia was a totally new travel experience, it was one of the first times I was genuinely nervous about what the country would be like, and what I was presented with was a place like non other than I had ever been. My fears could not have been further from the truth but yet it still keeps that edginess which made this trip feel like a real exploration. I also enjoyed the fact that visiting Russia made absolutely no sense to the people I worked with and just confirmed my desire to visit far away lands outside of our comfort zones! Setting my eyes on St Basil’s cathedral for the first time was one of those breath taking moments which feels almost unreal and yet you know you will remember it for the rest of your life!
NEW YORK, USA
Like Moscow, New York was on of those places I always figured I would visit “someday” when I was older and could afford it. I always imagined these places to be to far away and so expensive, but I got my first opportunity to visit this amazing place in December 2008 with my university and that experience opened up the whole world to me. We visited together for the first time in February 2011 and then returned with my family to get married in June 2013. New York was somewhere I knew I would love, and since that moment I saw the city appearing as we crossed over into Manhattan my heart was well and truly left here. New York just has this infectious energy, a rough edge in which you feel like anything could happen at any moment, you feel like you can do anything you want, at any time, it’s addictive! It also feels so familiar as soon as you arrive, like you have known this place all your life.
Like many in this list Tokyo had been a dream of ours for so long I can’t even remember and this trip is a testament to perseverance, so many times we almost wrote it off because of one problem or another, but we refused to say no and made it happen. We took our honeymoon out to Japan in 2013 and this was the furthest we had ever been from home, it really felt like proper travelling, it felt so different and so exciting. The far east felt like another world, we were in awe of everything, it was so overwhelming but that is what we loved about it. It really felt life changing and was the point in which we realised we needed to travel further and for much longer and began planning our escape! Part of me can’t even believe we have been to Japan, it just feels to crazy! The country itself is just mental, so much to see and do, we would love to revisit to see even more.
Paris was a trip I took with college back in 2006 and in many ways it seems like so long ago but at the same time it is still a vivid memory of a trip which completely changed my perspective on travel. Unfortunately Shorty has not been to Paris but we will be paying a visit on our way out across Europe on the first leg of our RTW trip and I look forward to returning with much more experience behind me. When I visited Paris as a 19 year old I was quite naive in my idea about travel, sure I had been to a few counties and cool places growing up, but to me travel was an all inclusive beach holiday you had to ‘endure’ with your family and occasionally got to pull your parents away from the sunbeds long enough for a few interesting excursions, but you mostly ended up tanned and bored! Paris was such an adventure, we were left on our own most of the time to make our way around the city and we saw and experienced so much. I felt so free and even when we got lost it just felt like another experience, we went everywhere and I finally realised what travel could be all about.
No Blog post yet as it was so long ago, but I should get on to that soon!
Budapest is somewhat different than many on this list as it is somewhere we had only really thought about in the past year or so after a friend mentioned it and really it came as somewhat of a surprise. We initially opted for Budapest on the advice of both it’s beauty and it’s affordability, and on either front it didn’t disappoint. I went to Budapest expecting to have a great time and see and wonderful city, but didn’t expect to fall in love as I had with Paris and New York or expect to see something of a new world with Tokyo or Moscow, so in many ways it makes it even more special in how it swept me off my feet. The beauty of the place can not be underestimated, nor can the friendliness of the people or the ease of getting around this wonderful city and the fact that it is so cheap means you can really experience all there is to Budapest without a care in the world.
So, where next? I look at this list and think “wow, we haven’t done bad here!”, we have been to some amazing places and in doing so realised many dreams in the past few years and feel lucky to have done that. But at the same time I think about all the places I still dream about and in looking at this list have more belief that ever that we will visit them. Some of the places on the top of the list are: India, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietman, China, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Mexico, South Africa, Jordan… to name a few, but the dream would of course be to visit every country.
Close runners up for this list include London
: where we got engaged and somewhere we love, but it’s just too close to home, Lisbon
: Our first trip abroad together by ourselves an amazing city and great atmosphere, Hamburg: Visited in 2009 to do some work experience and fell in love with the city and the country, hope to head back to Germany soon!
BONUS LOCATION/ CHEAT/ TOP 7!!
Ok, so this is cheating but after our recent trip to Krakow I just couldn’t help but want to add it to my list as it honestly turned out to be one of the best trips we have been on and we fell in love with the city and country, but I just couldn’t bring myself to remove one of the others!
So Krakow, well, it just seems like it has so much to offer, it is one of the most beautiful cities we have had the privilege to visit and also one of the cheapest. You get so much for so little and without compromise! The city also has such a deep history and place within world events that everywhere you visit in this glorious medieval capital has it’s own stories of horror, bravery and resistance. In Krakow we visited some of the most exquisitely detailed churches I have ever come across and also had one of the most moving experiences of our lives visiting the scenes of some of the most cruel and infamous events during the Nazi occupation.
Reflections On Auschwitz
Ok, Ok, so now I have been forced to add a 7th place I can’t really call it a top 5!!
So…here’s our top 7….and the newest, and might I saw contender for the best of the list:
Interlaken, the adventure capital of the world, what you can’t do here is just not worth doing!! Surrounded by the Bernese Alps, turquoise lakes and stunning traditional Swiss architecture this place is heaven for the thrill seeking but culturally aware traveller.
We headed here in August 2015 for what would turn into the trip of a lifetime, we ticked off so much from our bucket list in just one week that we lost count! From Paragliding 4000ft above the town whilst overlooking the Eiger to white water rafting down a roaring river of glacial melt straight off Jungfrau. Canyoning in impressively carved rivers to hanging off a wire 2000ft over the Lauterbrunnen valley on the Via Ferrata. Hiking up mountains, breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps and a lively and young atmosphere make this a dream destination!
See all our Interlaken Adventures here: Interlaken Trips