One of my first travelling experiences as an adult was a road trip the western United States. I can remember the moment looking over the Grand Canyon in Arizona when a huge desire to travel welled up in my soul, a flame that continues to burn. The Grand Canyon was so much more, well grand, than any pictures could convey and being there made me want to explore every cranny of it. The beauty and adventure this world provides us is so unbelievable. What follows are those moments in my travel blogger friend’s travels that shattered their expectations of a place, time or population. Sometimes we are amazed by an area’s beauty, sometimes blown away by what we found there or what we got out of the situation. Enjoy and open yourself up to all the possibilities this world offers to make your life as big as possible!
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To date, this is my greatest accomplishment as a traveler. A top item on my bucket list. I was scared to death of heights and nearly had a panic attack waiting to go to the top of the Burj Khalifa- my anxiety had me to a gripping point of fear that I’ve never felt. Once I got to the top I walked right outside, over 1800 feet into the air- and I felt alive! The most alive I have ever felt. The view from the top is spectacular and changed my perception of heights all together. I am now ready to conquer the rest of the world Skydiving, walking with lions, cage swimming with great white sharks- I can do anything.
Ayers Rock, Australia
Top of most water babies bucket list is the islands of the Maldives. I can luckily say that I have well and truly ticked this one off the list! My fiancé and I were both working in the travel industry at the time and managed to grab a deal that really was too good to be true! If it wasn’t for this, there would be no way we ever have afforded to stay at the Lux* Resort which really is paradise on earth! We opted for an overwater villa which gave us direct access to the Indian ocean where we would spend our days snorkeling with the most amazing reef fish. And if that wasn’t good enough, we opted to swim with Whale Sharks and visit the hotel’s house reef which was full to the brim of beautiful corals fish and even a few white tip reef sharks. To put the cherry on the cake it’s also the place where Kris proposed to me! I think all of these things combined into one meant that The Maldives well and truly exceeded all my expectations! I mean just look at the color of that ocean!
Read more about Lauren’s visit to the Maldives.
This is super easy. No doubt, blindfolded it was New Zealand that exceeded my expectations. In 2014 my boyfriend and I quit our jobs to start one of the greatest adventures together, be nomads until we run out of money. This adventure took us to the spectacular scenarios of New Zealand were we lived 3 months in a van.
Living in a van was hardly an adventure. I could imagine surviving for (in a figurative way of course), such small place to be, with such limited resources and for that long was definitely a challenge for me at the beginning, but totally worth it at the end. In fact I would love to do it again.
I still remember every place I stopped to have lunch, camping, watching the sunset from my window, its mountains, its rivers, its colors and diversity, New Zealand has it all.
This trip changed my life in a positive way, showed me that with very little I can be immensely happy, don’t take anything for guarantee and enjoy every single moment, worry less and travel more is a good way of living life.
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Ya les había mencionado los atardeceres tan hermosos de #nuevazelanda ? Una de mis fotos preferidas, tomada desde el sitio en el que acampé esa noche 😀😀💕 •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Pink sunsets in New Zealand 😍. 💫 •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Usa #soyviajera para un repost. Únete a mas de 13k viajeras alrededor del mundo conversando y compartiendo nuestros mejores tips. Link en mi bio.
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The Azores, Portugal
The Azores was our number 1 bucket list destination for a long time. The beautiful flora and magnificent landscapes were better than we had imagined. Hiking the volcanic Mt. Pico was just as thrilling we had hoped. Basically, everything we expected from a dream destination.
What blew us away were the parts we weren’t expecting. From the moment we landed in São Miguel, the friendly people of the Azores totally amazed us. It wasn’t just a single gesture of helping a pair of tourists, or the smiles that greeted us everywhere, it was genuine kindness of the people. Like the people, the food was a total surprise. How can everything be so delicious? Everything they make has such wonderful flavors, but the real winner was the pastries which we couldn’t get enough of. With so much amazing food, we needed to walk off big meals. Our walks led to the biggest unexpected discovery of street art. Talented artists from all over the world come to the Azores to adorn buildings with masterpieces. We did not come to the Azores for any of these, but each added much more than we could have ever hoped.
Read more about Cathy and Frank’s adventures in The Azores!
The Galapagos Islands
After five years of intense travels around the world, this bucket list destination finally got ticked off my list in April 2016. Since 2011, I constantly had met people from all over the globe raising my expectations towards this dream location, and I was so anxious to see it with my own eyes. When I finally was able to spend 2 weeks exploring the most incredible place on earth (according to my humble opinion), my mind was blown every single day: We snorkeled with Iguanas, bumped randomly into giant land turtles or had to share our park bench with sea lions – not because we went somewhere special or on a tour! This all happens on the street or in the open ocean, simply because on the Galapagos Islands wildlife is everywhere. The best part: you don’t have to go on a cruise and spend tons of money! You are in the middle of rare species and every day is like going to the zoo but better.
We had been dreaming of visiting the ancient city of Petra, Jordan for years. As not only a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, but also one of the 7 Wonders of the World, Petra certainly had a huge reputation to live up to. From the walk up the famous siq to the infamous Indiana Jones peek into the magnificent Treasury, Petra lived up to everything I had dreamed of, and then it just kept getting better.
At over 60 square Kilometres, Petra is a sprawling ancient city carved from the sandstone cliffs in the Petra Mountains of Jordan. There is so much more to Petra than the famous Treasury building. We wandered for two days and were never left wanting. Petra offered countless areas to explore, hike and discover. The local guides are all members of a Bedouin tribe who, until the sites UNESCO designation, had called the caves of Petra their home.
With a thousand years of history, lost, forgotten and then discovered once more, Petra truly is a wonder of the world. It’s a place we would gladly return to time and again to discover once again.
Road Trip Around the United States and Canada
Many years ago, my travel goal was to spend a summer in Europe. As I was finishing a work contract to earn money for my trip, the woman I was dating decided she wanted to travel with me. My contract ended and she quit her job. After the summer in Europe, we decided to extend the trip to an entire year and spend the rest of that time exploring the United States. The trip ended up being 16 months, and we returned to Europe for a month, and spent a few weeks in western Canada. In spite of spending 16 months on the road, and continuously moving most of the time, we feel like we saw hardly anything. There is just so much to see in the world and we only saw a fraction of it. Oh, and after the trip, we decided to get married and now our 19-year-old twins are starting their second year at their universities. With our empty nest, we have resumed exploring the world as much as possible.
You can find more information about US Road Tripping on McCool Travel
As an adult, the place that blew my mind the most is Iceland. I had seen pictures, but things are even more incredible than they photograph, especially Jokulsarlon where you can take a boat ride along the floating glaciers hearing the thunderous growl as they calf off from the large glacial mass and follow them on their journey out to sea through the Iceland’s choppy surf. The people are cheeky and bit irreverent; the country very safe to travel. By the guidebooks, I was afraid I was going to not enjoy the food, but it was fresh, rich and interesting. I even got really lucky and had perfect weather for viewing the Northern Lights. Read more about my adventures in Iceland.
What an amazing list of places these travelers have experienced. We live in an incredible world. Be sure to get out and be part of it!
What is the most mind-blowing trip you have been on? Please share in the comments!