There are some destinations and experiences in life that are etched into your memory and looking back at the photographs tends to rekindle the wanderlust that’s burning in your soul! It may have been the exotic aromas wafting through the air, the peaceful and serene feelings evoked, the indescribable beauty of the landscape, or the delightful people; most likely a fusion of these events served to secure their designation as extraordinary for you. These are a few of my amazing experiences.
Okavango Delta, Botswana, Africa
Ears tuned to the varied wildlife within the Okavango Delta, leaning against a pillow in a traditional dugout mokoro canoe, transported through the shallow waters with the lulling sound of poles dipping in and out of the water, I was living in the moment.
Emerging from the mile long narrow “Siq” trail with rocks towering over 250 feet on each side, the stunning “Treasury”, carved into the sandstone cliff face dating back to the 5th century, leaves you breathless!
Sossusvlei Dunes, Namibia, Africa
Ready for some adventure? Try walking the spine of Dune 45 in the Namid Desert at sunrise. It’s only 557 feet tall and you’ll be tromping through sand that is 5 million years old. The views are otherworldly!
Deadvlei Salt Pan, Namibia, Africa
Believed to be about 900 years old, the dead skeleton trees are set off by the contrasting colors of burnt orange sand, biscuit cracked earth, and cobalt blue sky!
Gudvangen Fjord, Norway
Quaint fishing villages nestled within pristine valleys along the Norwegian fjords are some of the incredible scenery of this marvelous area.
Captivated by the brilliant sunrise at Lake Malawi, I noticed a man and his boat, enveloped by the sparkling water.
Olympic National Park, Washington
On a glorious day in August of 2011, my husband and I took a short hike on the Hurricane Hill trail in Olympic National Park. The fragrant scent of wildflowers and the view of frosted snow-capped mountains in the distance were intoxicating!
Most everyone has seen images of the Pyramids in Egypt, but until you’ve visited, you have no idea how massive they really are. Located only 11 miles from Cairo, they’re also quite accessible, especially with this local’s help!
After 3 ½ days of hiking the 50+ miles along the undulating Inca Trail, with altitudes ranging from 9,000 to almost 14,000 ft. and differing habitats including a cloud forest and a lush jungle like region, to reach the iconic Machu Picchu, I felt a sense of accomplishment and reverence for the Incan culture. If you’d prefer to take a short-cut, a 3 ½ train ride regularly departs from the charming cobble-stoned town of Cusco.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Sipping a glass of wine from the top deck of the boat I’d be spending the night on, gazing at the blue green waters of Halong Bay…surrounded by hundreds of islets (small islands); What can I say…it doesn’t get much better than this!
Wat Rong Khun (aka White Temple), Chiang Rai, Thailand
During my 18-day tour of Southeast Asia, visiting the contemporary Buddhist temple, known as the White Temple, proved to be a spectacular stop.
Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park, Washington
With a depth of 600 to 1000 feet, Lake Crescent’s brilliant blue color is caused by a lack of nitrogen in the water, and was formed by glaciers during the last ice age. You’ll find a number of hiking trails in the area and a lodge for accommodations.
Etosha National Park, Namibia, Africa
Peering through the window of the Overland truck that carried me through six African countries over 35 days, my fellow adventurers and I would periodically shout “Zebra to the left”, or “Giraffe to the right”, and everyone would dart to the appropriate side. It was exhilarating!
Uros Floating Islands, Lake Titicaca, Peru
In the mood for a magical experience? Stepping onto one of the forty-two man-made islands that the Uros (pre-Incan) people sustain and live on, your feet sink a couple of inches into the reeds that form the floating islands. They’re about six feet deep and the residents place new reeds on top as the bottoms rot. Even their boats are made from reeds!
Red Rock Amphitheater, Denver, Colorado
The premier place to listen to live music is Red Rock Amphitheater. My friend and I saw Local Natives and The Nationals on a lovely starlit night in September last year. Located 16 miles from Denver, once the sun sets and the music begins, you’ll realize what you’ve been missing out on! The people next to you may even share their homemade cheese and bread with you, like ours did.
If you haven’t started a bucket list, perhaps these destinations will ignite you!