The six roads that have made all the difference

The other day I was feeling nostalgic and found myself dwelling in my travel memories. Maybe it’s the pre-symptom of a rising travel fever? To throw some gasoline in the flames I listed my Top 6 travel experiences so far in my life. Here they are, in no special order.

Overland trip from Vilnius to Ulan Bator. Bussing to Moscow, then hopping on the Trans-Siberian (#350чa) going east then crossing the Siberia-Mongolia border and exploring the Gobi Desert. To get an idea of the random encounters and experiences, imagine a Finnish guy speaking Swedish with an Italian guy somewhere deep in Mother Russias embrace.

Mongolian Road

Mongolian Road

My first solo trip included backpacking in the Incredible India, then later in Indonesia and Malaysia.

At first I was afraid, I was petrified. I knew I’ll stay alive. I knew I got all my life to live. I learned how to get along.

I found true freedom within. My eyes had been opened. I understood how privileged I was and still am. Touts of India trying to outwit me to spend money. Orphan adolescent orang-utans in Borneo never letting go of the safety rope while eating and playing with the food basket they had been served. Indonesian small town people gathering at the sides of the runway to see, hear and feel the jet taking off. Motorcycle taxi taking me to a bus stop somewhere, where the should be a bus somewhere, where I should arrive early enough to find accommodation. I had gone a long way from organising everything weeks in advance.

Indian Road

Indian Road

African safaris. Meeting interesting and mostly like-minded co-travellers on the adventure tour, driving around in a Toyota Hiace that had reincarnated in Africa after it was too “old” for rich Europeans. Lovely warm weather enjoyed in the company of majestic lions, leopards and elephants. Not to forget flies, mosquitos and driving into a cloud of bugs. Damn, those flying critters were everywhere! Oh sweet memories.

Lake Nakuru Road

Lake Nakuru Road

Roadtrip from Dallas to San Francisco. I’ve still yet to be in a place hot like the Death Valley where the thermometer reached 110F already at 10am. Even January in the Australian Outback was not as hot as this July day in the Death Valley. Makes one respect, and wonder, about the history of the name. Then struggling to find accommodation as ultra-marathon runners had booked everything to get their well earned rest after running!!! all the way through the Valley. Next day arriving in refreshing Santa Barbara weather with only +16C degrees. Talk about contrast!

Death Valley Road

Death Valley Road

Touring Australia, New Zealand and Fiji independently with a car as well as on package tour. Took me three days not to stress about the left-hand traffic. Seeing the Great Barrier Reef from above on a scenic flight as well as getting some first hand experience in the water; trying to see Nemo, swimming very hard not to be taken to Hawaii by the strong Pacific currents, and learning to breathe through a snorkel. Water is not my element so this was really pushing it and I am glad to have survived both the snorkeling and the adrenalin overdose. For you strong swimmers to get an idea, imagine if you were thrown out of a plane with a parachute on your back for the first time and you had to figure it out before it’s too late. That’s how I felt.

New Zealand Road

New Zealand Road

Havana was a bliss. I was very happy not being able to be give real-time status updates with the phone. Total immersion in Spanish language, latin rhythms and being present in the actual reality. Tropical afternoon rains. One of my two favourite cities in the whole world (that I know of).

Cuban road

Cuban road

What kind of trips the future might bring… Perhaps a road trip from BC to Yukon and Alaska. Or crossing Japan from North end to South end. Another sunset on the African savannah? Bussing from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires? Morning run circumnavigating the Rarotonga island?

We’ll see, life is so unpredictable. All crazy ideas and suggestions are most welcome.

posted: 15 August 22
under: Lifestyle, Travel