When we travel, we set out to see things, to meet people, to take part in certain activities. We plan ahead a lot, but it is really when we are on the road and engaging with life in a foreign place that we gain the most. Because we don’t come back with a list of things we ticked off; all we do and see blends into very unique experiences, we create our own stories, we have unique memories that will (hopefully) never leave us.
In this post I would like to share my top three memories of my favourite travel destinations, before I pass the travel baton on to a fellow blogger. Lowcostholidays.com have created a blogging competition for travel writers to share their travel memories and stories. The competition, aptly timed, is a blogger relay in Olympic fashion. Jandal Road is proud to be one of the five team captains kick-starting the Blogger Relay race, for team BLUE.
To follow the greatest collection of travel memories by passionate travellers, follow the hastags #BloggerRelay and #teamBLUE on Twitter. If you’d also like to take part, feel free to get in touch via the contact form and I’ll do my best to line you up in team BLUE. There are also prizes to be won – including an iPad 2, a digital SLR camera and walking boots, so you are well-equipped to make even more travel memories. And so, without further ado:
My top travel memories
1) The Republic of Whangamomona, Aotearoa
For regular readers of my blog, it will come to no surprise to read that my favourite travel memories are indeed from New Zealand. I fell in love with Aotearoa a few years ago, and so I went on a working holiday, purchased a car and drove all over the North and South Islands. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of New Zealand at every turn and corner. Of course I had a few sights and places in mind that I wanted to see when cruising around, but just like the ever-changing landscapes continued to surprise me, so did the randomness of things to see that I had not read about.
I drove a remote stretch of road aptly labelled “The Forgotten World Highway”, on the Taranaki Peninsula. I had never seen so few camper vans in New Zealand before… few as in really none. As we were driving through the rainforest and dense vegetation, the road became more narrow and more lonely every minute. Signs that pointed towards the nearest fuel station became slightly worrying due to the distance they were indicating, and at one point the paved road became gravel. And then, out of the blue, popped a border crossing – for the Republic of Whangamomona! There you go, a republic right in the middle of a remote district on the North Island, whose disgruntled citizens declared the tiny village a republic in 1989 to protest against the village becoming part of a different district. They celebrate their “independence” every other year with a Republic Day and funny activities like gumboot throwing and whip cracking.
2)Pure bliss and island feeling in Fiji
While I was in New Zealand, I took the opportunity to go to Fiji. I had always wanted to see the South Pacific, but from Europe that’s a bit of a trek to say the least. From New Zealand this was only a 3 hour flight, and it is one of the best decisions I ever made. I stayed at Botaira Beach on Naviti Island, which is part of the Yasawa group of islands, and a little less developed than the Mamanucas in terms of resorts and package tourists. We had a beach bure (hut) that looked right out onto the beach and the sea, so literally 10 steps to the water, complete with veranda and hammock in the “front yard”. Although we only stayed in that resort for 2 nights, it felt like two weeks. Not in a negative sense at all – we were so relaxed and chilled out and socialised with the locals (there’s a village on the island) that we felt we had soaked up so much Fiji essence! That’s not to say I wouldn’t have stayed there longer. I was sad to leave, and would go there again in a heartbeat.
3)Celebrating 4th of July in Washington, DC
I am fortunate to say I have very good friends from Virginia who live in the state and in Washington, DC. When we went to visit them a couple of years ago, it just so happened to be during the 4th of July. Our friends said they’d organise a few things for the day, and I thought we’d have a barbeque in someone’s backyard, and I was really looking forward to it. I had no idea they would up the ante so much though. We went to a baseball game to see the Nationals play against the Braves. It couldn’t have been a more American experience: we ate hot dogs and curly fries, sang “Take me out to the ballgame” at the 7th inning stretch, and celebrated as the Nationals won against the Braves against all odds.
To round the day off, we went to sit by the Potomac River and had a picnic, hanging out with our friends, as the sun went down. We had an excellent spot overlooking the Washington Monument and watched the whole fireworks display. Quite an experience!
I hope you enjoyed reading my three favourite travel memories. I’d like to pass the travel baton on to another travel blogger with great stories to share:
Laurel from Monkeys and Mountains
GO TEAM BLUE!!
To follow the greatest collection of travel memories by passionate travellers, follow the hastags #BloggerRelay and #teamBLUE on Twitter. If you’d also like to take part, feel free to get in touch via the contact form and I’ll do my best to line you up in team BLUE.