This month’s Travel Link Up (run by Adventures of a London Kiwi, Silverspoon London and Follow Your Sunshine) asks us to recount those special once in a lifetime experiences we’ve had on our travels. From bumping into celebrities, to catching ephemeral natural phenomena, here are mine!
1. Seeing the Northern Lights
Seeing the Northern Lights features at the top of my Travel Wishlist, and seeing them last month in Tromso was an absolute dream come true! Strictly speaking, this wasn’t actually a *once* in a lifetime thing, as I was lucky enough to see them on the two nights I went out looking for them. Despite the insane cold, all the hanging around outside was worth it just to spot those elusive lights for myself.
Also, please don’t laugh at this picture. I had approximately 49 layers on, and just 5 minutes before I was busy Googling the symptoms of frostbite.
2. Visiting the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon deserves to make this list because it was something that had been on my bucket list for years – and to finally see it in the flesh was a real ‘pinch me’ moment. As we drove up to the Canyon, the ground just seemed to ‘open up’ out of nowhere, revealing one of the most sensational views I’ve ever seen.
Also, I’m 98% sure my friend Helen is going to kill me for sharing these cringe photos with you… (Blame the Skywalk photographer who was directing us to do all sorts of poses.)
3. Spotting whales in Iceland
Whale watching is something that should be on everybody’s to-do list. Of course, while it’s never guaranteed that you’ll spot them, the sea around Reykjavik is as good a place as any to start. I’ll admit, the ocean (and the thought of gigantic whales that could swallow you whole) is something that scares the cr*p out of me, but seeing minke whales surfacing and flopping back into the sea was oddly calming.
4. And spontaneously seeing dolphins at Venice Beach
I’ve raved and raved and raved about this one since coming back from LA last October. It’s not the first time I’ve seen dolphins, but it was just the spontaneity of the event that amazed me. I had no idea Venice Beach was even home to dolphins, so seeing them dip and dive along the coast towards the nearby surfers was definitely something that’ll stick in my mind.
5. Hiking up into the Hollywood Hills (with dogs)
Another LA experience – this time hiking up into the Hollywood Hills with a bunch of rescue dogs. The weather, the views, the adorable dogs…everything was just amazing, and it was definitely one of the greatest things I’ve ever done.
6. Riding in an open-top classic car in Havana
We almost didn’t get a chance to ride in one of these because everyone we were asking was quoting us waaayy too much money. But our longing to go to the local beach was the perfect opportunity to jump in a classic car. It maybe wasn’t as glamorous as we may have been expecting (there’s only so much glamour you can get from your co-driver telling you that he’s banned from driving, while petrol fumes fill your nose and the wind threatens to blow your sunglasses away), but we did it!
7. Flying to Vegas to see Britney live
I like to say that I flew to Vegas just to see Britney, but in reality it was a two-week tour around America’s West Coast. The thought of seeing Britney live was the catalyst for the trip though, and I’m so glad we did it as it was probably one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. Nope, I’m not even a little bit ashamed at making that grand assertion! The AXIS arena, where we saw Britney perform, was tiny in comparison to the arenas back home in England, so we felt wrapped up in the entire performance.
8. And bumping into Daniel Radcliffe getting his star on the Walk of Fame
When we saw that Harry Potter himself was getting recognised with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame the day after we arrived in LA, we just had to pop along. We had to hang out on the stairs of the Hollywood and Highland shopping mall, but we got to see the entire ceremony (even if we couldn’t *quite* hear what was going on…).