Our 5 Favorite
A Travel Stories Special
Hello everyone its Danny from Planetdreaming! To mark our travel stories series hitting its 50th edition last week we decided to do something different this week to mark the occasion. This week we are going to celebrate the occasion by listing our 5 favourite travel stories so far.
First, we wanted to quickly tell you how the idea come about to start this blog series. Weirdly I got the idea from an advert above a urinal. It was an advert about talking about mental health with your friends and if you can tell them about your craziest stories then surly you can talk about your problems.
All my best anecdotes are from my travels. This is probably because travelling takes you completely out of your comfort zone and puts you in a place where nearly everyone is a stranger to you and nearly anything can happen.
I didn't feel like there was anywhere on the web where you could read different peoples travel stories, so that's why I started this series. I wanted to start something where once a week I could shine a spotlight on a particular blogger and ask them about travel. We don't care if you have the biggest blog in the world or you're literally just starting out, we want to hear your best travel story!
It was extremely tough to narrow it down to just five stories. That being said we loved every story that we have had submitted to us and really bloody appreciate everyone for sharing their stories with us. We hope you enjoy our selections!
5- Our first love story
Our best travel story happened on the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. We trekked for 16 days, walking over 120 miles, and up to 17,769 feet through the Himalayas. Neither of us had ever backpacked before, but we still decided to do it on our own with no guide. TJ’s little sister, who had up until that point never left the US, joined us in Katmandu and together we made our way into the mountains to start this crazy adventure… we had no idea what was waiting for us.
Nor did we fully understand how long, tough, cold, and wonderful the trek would be. On day 9, after hiking roughly 10 miles each day, we arrived in the mountain town of Manang where we would stop and allow our bodies to acclimatize to the altitude. This is where the biggest surprise of the whole journey was waiting for us.
A few months back I had told myself that I would ask Alli to marry me in the Himalayas during our expedition to trek the entire Annapurna Circuit. I had no idea where or when it was going to happen, but I knew somewhere in these mysterious mountains lay a place perfect enough for me to ask the most important question of my life.
That perfect place was waiting for us just outside the small village of Manang. To get there we would need to climb up to a viewpoint that lay at at 13,000 ft with perfect panoramic views of the Himalayas.
When we reached the top, we were floored by the beauty that surrounded us. Snow dusted mountaintops greeted us in the distance, prayer flags blew in the wind, and a pristine lake shimmered below. After walking miles and miles and climbing thousands of feet I’d found the perfect place to propose. I called Alli and my sister over to the cliffs edge and asked my sis to “take a photo” (our secret word for my proposal). I took Alli’s hands and told her how I had asked her parents for their blessing back when we were all traveling Vietnam together. Before I could finish or even get down on one knee, she dove into my arms. I popped the question surrounded by one of the most beautiful views either of us has ever seen in our lives.
The whole thing felt a bit surreal but it was wonderfully perfect. We’d always thought we’d get engaged outside… but had no idea we’d be standing on top of the world while it happened.
4- Probably our most expensive travel story
Going back to Antarctica, we had heard that you could find last minute cruises at a somewhat affordable rate if you went to Ushuaia (the southern most tip of Argentina) during the beginning of cruise season and you were flexible. That’s exactly what we did after finished up hiking the “O Trek” in Chilean Patagonia, with no plan and our fingers crossed that we could make something work.
We walked around town talking to different agencies and found prices as high as $15,000USD but managed to snag a deal on a still painful, $5,000USD last minute cruise. That seems like an awful lot of money (actually, it IS an awful lot of money), but others on our cruise were paying around $10,000-$15,000USD for the same experience. The only challenge was that we had to figure out a way to pay the $10,000USD for the two of us to go on the cruise. They of course, didn’t take credit card, and Argentina’s ATMs are ridiculous as they only allow you to take out a couple hundred dollars at a time for a $10 fee. I had calculated it would take us 57 withdrawals if we had to go the ATM route, not great!
We called our bank on Skype and asked about a wire transfer but even after being escalated to managers they weren’t able to authorize a wire transfer unless I came into the branch itself. Not exactly possible when I’m in Ushuaia and my bank is in Canada. Yup, Canadian banks suck.
Our solution? I called my parents and said “I don’t suppose you have $10,000USD sitting around in your bank account and could wire it to a bank in Argentina…..I’ll pay you back, I swear.” They thankfully were able to do it (and I did pay them back, plus a little extra to go buy a bottle of Argentinian wine)….but that’s the story of how my parents paid for our Antarctic Cruise!
3- A poorly timed sneeze
Claiming the bronze is the amazing AWinterEscape in week 20.
I was in South Africa on safari in KwaZulu Natal. We had tracked a black rhino on foot and came up behind it in this clearing, careful to make sure we were downwind so it couldn’t smell us. So we duck down in the long grass to watch it and it’s all going fine for a while until somebody needs to sneeze. We’re desperately (and silently) trying to get her to hold it in but you know what it’s like in the sun and the grass – impossible. Eventually she lets out this huge sneeze and we just see the rhino freeze, turn around and let out this huge, angry noise. He starts bucking his hind legs. It was one of those moments where you feel like your heart comes up into your mouth – pure adrenaline and fear. Our guide tells us to get right down as low as we can and back away really slowly, keeping our eyes on the rhino at all times. We get far enough away that we can stand up and I think most of us just wanted to sprint back to the safari truck. For those few minutes when we were watching the rhino go about his business it was just the most incredible experience... but I’m not sure I’d get that close again!
2- Fifteen minutes of fame
We took a 150 mile, 4-day bike tour in Thailand with the most amazing guide ever - Tick. He was an ex Buddhist monk, ex Thai chef, and the perfect guide to the authentic Thai life we saw along the way, but that wasn't what makes this our best travel story.
Our route and time exactly coincided with Toon Bodyslam's (a Thai rockstar) 400 km run for charity. Every town we pulled into was buzzing with excitement from his journey. At one small beachside cafe, we came across Nod Udom (the Thai version of Jimmy Fallon) eating with his entourage. Tick just had to get a picture with Nod for his wife. We got to see Toon run by our hotel on the last day of our cycle tour. After he passed, he took a break, which gave us the opportunity once we got on our bikes to actually beat him to the finish line. The streets were lined with miles and miles of people out rallying to witness the historic event. All we could do was wave and smile as they clapped and cheered for us. I bet they were wondering who these strange Americans were going down the route but it wasn't going to curb their enthusiasm. We were even able to capture the scene with our helmet cam and be a small part, of this epic adventure.
1- Wardrobe malfunction
Well… This is indeed the funniest travel story I have! I was in Thailand (Phi Phi island) with two of my best friends (sorry I can’t share their names as they will absolutely kill me for sharing this). I love scuba diving and I had a basic PADI qualification at the time, so we booked a diving trip. Keep in mind it was their first time trying, a diving baptism.
Anyway… We were getting ready on the boat and realised the only wetsuit left for my friend to wear was an XS (with a zip on the front). Rightfully so she was really concerned, but our crazy mexican guide, with bad English and funny moustache told her not to worry!
We finally jump in the water and started the dive. 5 minutes in the water and 10 meters deep my friend’s wetsuit zip exploded right open, revealing her boobs! Please imagine the situation: Her first time diving, struggling to keep control, rolling around with her boobs out and a mexican guy trying to push them back in to close the wetsuit.
I will never forget this travel story!
Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this week's special post. Normal service will be resumed next week where we have our 51st travel story for you to enjoy.
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