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18 Amazing Travel Experiences
to Put on Your Bucketlist

18 October 2017 | Mri Grout | Collaboration Post

From relaxing in the Tonga and watching a herd of elephants guard a water hole against a pack of African wild dogs to vacationing out in Seychelles alongside a Bollywood actress you just happened to meet on the ferry to hiking up an active volcano in Indonesia that's so full of sulfur it spits blue lava – come travel with us the world over as we recount our most amazing travel experiences. Not to get envious of our trips, but rather to get inspired and motivated to travel this world yourself. Because our planet is beautiful, incredible, remarkable – and just waiting for you to discover it.

*Not all of these amazing travel experiences can be done for free.

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1. Getting Swatted Aside by a Silverback Gorilla

Silverback gorilla trekking in Rwanda, photo by Adventographer

Patrick Horsfield | Adventographer
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Everything around me fell silent as my beating heart overpowered every other sound in my consciousness. Enveloped in fear, I stood there dumbfounded as time slowed down. "Don’t run in Africa..." they'd told me "...only food runs in Africa". Face to face with a 700LB alpha male Silverback Gorilla in the jungles of Rwanda was not how I'd imagined leaving this world.

I'd made a mistake. Wonderstruck by the magnificent creatures we'd hiked so long to find I'd managed to get myself in bad spot. As the family of gorillas moved downslope feeding I'd ended up between the man of the house and his family. And he wasn’t having any of it.

A bluff charge, pounding his chest and an out of this world roar had me frozen in my tracks. What should I do? We didn’t exactly cover this in orientation... And then, with the gentleness of a child, the gorilla simply swept me out of his way, walked by and returned to overseeing his family. Stepping on my camera as he passed I still cherish 3 great photos of the jungle floor that he took for me.

2. Learning From a Local Broom Maker in Siem Reap

siem reap broom maker photo by Wanderlust Storytellers

Jolene & Andrzej | Wanderlust Storytellers
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I think it is so important to travel deeper than ever before. The experience that will make an impact and long-lasting impression lies beyond the cocktails, massages, and resorts. We go out of our way to learn more about new ways of life, new ways of making a living and to discover more authenticity behind the country that we are visiting. In Cambodia, we got to visit with locals in a little village not far from Siem Reap.

On our visit a local broom maker was hanging out below her house, going through the process of making broom after broom. Thanks to our guide, we could ask some questions and find out more about the time, costs and process involved in making a living from broom making! We learnt that all the arduous work only equated to 35c per broom! On a good day, they could sell up to 300 brooms. We had a go at making a broom ourselves and it was not a fun task.

We learnt a lot from the people in this village. We came home questioning our way of life, questioning our attachment to ‘stuff’. In Cambodia, people have very little, they work so hard, they eat basic food that they grow themselves. They live in a community and they look out for each other. They are happy! This single day in Siem made us re-evaluate our lives. We complain less now and are more grateful for everyday things. Sometimes travel teaches us lessons that reach way beyond the realm of adventure and sights.

3. Taking a Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Cappadocia

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4. Making a New Friend...With a Bollywood Actress

Petro Marais traveling with bollywood actress Manjari Fadnis

Petro Marais | World Mission 196
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The most meaningful travel experience I have had to date was becoming friends with a Bollywood actress. Now let's go back to the beginning. This was when my mission to every country started. Country number 1.... Seychelles. I was alone for the first time in what felt like forever. I was free and I was in paradise. When I boarded the ferry from Mahe headed towards Praslin I noticed a girl sitting in the spot I wanted. Across from her was an empty seat. I approached her and asked if the seat was free... Being a honeymoon destination I did not expect to meet another solo female traveler. Well the rest was nearly history. It was a platonic friendship love story.

Our schedules had lined up perfectly for the different islands and for the duration of my trip, I explored the islands and numerous beaches with Bollywood actress, Manjari Fadnis. Why is this life changing though? Because in that moment I learned two people from different cultures and backgrounds could build a really solid friendship in but a few days. Till this day we keep in touch regularly and next month I am planning to visit her in Mumbai.

5. Stepping into National Geographic at Elephant Sands

 Stepping into National Geographic at Elephant Sands | Photo by The Travel Blogs

Matt | The Travel Blogs
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When someone warned me not to pitch my tent too close to the acacia trees, explaining elephants use them to scratch themselves and if I did, I may end up under one while they pass in the night, I knew I was in a special place. Elephant Sands is a campsite in Northern Botswana and a fantastic place to get close to large beasts. The campsite (and more importantly campsite bar) is next to a watering hole and when I arrived there were at least 12 elephants, bathing, spraying and enjoying themselves.

While watching, a couple of wild dogs approached, but the elephants didn’t want to share and chased them off. I thought that’s pretty cool, wild dogs are quite rare to see. But before I could get my next beer, I heard a commotion as a pack of 25 dogs charged the watering hole. Startled, the elephants retreated. Sometimes one would approach, trumpeting and putting on a show, but it would take just one dog to growl and stand its ground for the elephant to retreat...that was until the bull arrived.

From nowhere a huge elephant charged at the hole. The dogs stood firm thinking he was faking but no, he kept on going and ploughed straight into the water, the dogs scattered in all directions. Pretty quickly other elephants saw the break and joined in. Defeated, the dogs disappeared over the horizon leaving me to sip my beer, hoping I’m far enough away from those acacia trees.

6. Cycling 3000 Miles Across the Rockies...With Chronic Pain

Lifelong Vagabonds cycling 3000 miles across the rockies

Mri Grout | Lifelong Vagbonds
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I don't talk about my medical problems often because there's so much more to my life than that and my March - June 2017 trip of tandem cycling across the US Rockies proved that completely. Not only did I get to witness a wild coyote successfully hunting in the snow at Yellowstone National Park, marvel at the gorgeous, jaw-dropping, no-words beauty of Nevada up to Montana, and escape the mauling of a protetective mamma grizzly when we scared her and her cub. But I also managed to have this awesome travel experience despite living with chronic pain. It was one of the proudest moments of my life where I felt like I could conquer the world.

Traveling with chronic pain isn't easy, but neither is living with it so you might as well be out amongst the different cultures and landscapes of the world - that's my motto anyway and following it has led me to some amazing experiences I will forever cherish. Other highlights of this trip included running out of food on the original ruts of the Oregon Trail...within a stone's throw of Martin's Cove (you know, that infamous place where nearly everyone died), cycling alongside colorful butterflies, making it up ridiculously tall, steep mountains without stopping, and meeting so many wonderful people that really the experience great!

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