My 25th birthday is fast approaching and I’ve been reflecting a lot about my life lately. When I was a kid, I used to say I’d be married with 3 kids when I’m 25. The reality is pretty different. All of my friends are buying houses, getting engaged and having babies. And me… I just came back home to live with my mum, unemployed after another trip abroad. I used to get pretty sad about feeling ‘left behind’ but when I actually think about it I wouldn’t change it for anything. I’ve had some pretty incredible experiences that others might never get to have. Inspired by fellow travel blogger 50North14East, I decided to write about my 25 top travel moments in my (almost) 25 years. These are in no particular order but here are some of my favourites…
1. Visiting a dump village in Cambodia.
One of the nights I will remember for the rest of my life. A boy around 14 or 15 was showing us around his village and he was one of the sweetest boys I have ever met. The village was built on a dump and I saw some pretty upsetting things that night but when I noticed how grateful they all were to have what they had, I was so touched. I later found out that boy’s family were killed in a mine explosion just a few days before and I still cannot fathom how he found it in his heart to be so kind to us at that time. What a hero.
2. Seeing the dancing fountains in Dubai
I stood there watching the fountain show in the 40 degree heat, completely on my own. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston was playing and the sun was setting as the fountains went off. Unreal.
3. Bungee jumping off a bridge in Whistler
Genuinely the scariest moment of my life so far.
4. Watching this sunset in Laguna Beach
5. Maya Bay at night
After spending the day at Maya Bay in Thailand, we snorkeled in the dark to see the Plankton. When we got back on the boat I went to sit on the upper deck by myself. I just lay there staring at the stars and the shadows of the huge limestone cliffs. It was deadly silent and I just felt so calm and content in that moment.
6. Making a friend on an aeroplane
When I went to Miami on my own last January I was super scared about getting there and not having any friends. Before the plane even took off from Manchester I had started chatting to the guy sitting beside me when he asked about the book I was reading. We spoke for the whole 9 hour flight. Aldo was from Miami and he took me out a couple of times in the week that I was there to show me around. 5 months later we were travelling around Mexico together and right now we are currently planning our next trip. Life is cool.
7. Spending time in slums
In Cambodia we visited some slums. On one of the days we brought stuff for the kids to draw with but as soon as we put the crayons in front of them, they all grabbed as many as they could then just sat there staring at us. I realised they didn’t actually know what they were for. I sat with one girl who was around 3 or 4 years old and I drew some hearts on her paper. She took the crayon afterwards and started copying. The whole sheet was soon filled with little hearts and it was so bloody cute to see how proud she was of herself.
8. Road tripping to Northern Ireland
A whole weekend of absolute hilarity and nonsense. #fam
9. Visiting Lake Louise
I remember posting a picture of Lake Louise on my Instagram last year. I captioned it “I will make this happen this year” or something along those lines. 4 months later I was actually there. Life goals.
10. Sleeping in a floating bungalow in Koh Sok
Read more about my experience here.
11. Surprising my mum with a trip to Paris
She thought she was going to Ikea. Haha.
12. Toronto Ciderfest
I’m not even the biggest fan of cider but thought it would be something fun to pass the time. I was with one of my best friends in Toronto, had just quit my job and I was feeling fab. It ended up being the best night of my whole year and I felt so happy just completely living in the moment.
Click here to read part 2.