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Most Life Changing Travel Experience

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11. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 7y

The first one would probably be going from the closed world of 1980's communist China to free wheeling Toronto.

Second would be going up the Dempster HW in northern Canada. There's one spot that I'd like to revisit someday. That's all I'll say.

12. Posted by TravelSoup (Budding Member 33 posts) 6y

Perhaps not life changing but certainly a "moment of Zen" or a moment of clarity in which you became aware of the nothing/everything that makes the world go round and were somehow better for it.

It was warm windy late afternoon day on a beach in Thailand, listening to World of Wonders by Bruce Cockburn. I'd been in SE asia for two weeks for the first time and seen so much.

Spectacular moment.

13. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 894 posts) 6y

Good for you, brother. Proud of you for going. You've got one on me, which I will have to rectify. That Tilly hat with the new moustache still makes you look slightly simple though

glad you got home safe, man


14. Posted by Rhombus (Travel Guru 64 posts) 6y

I have 2 very poignant experiences. The first happened when I took my first month long road trip. It was simply a moment of realization that I loved being out on the road. I was seeing the wide open spaces of the west. Time didn't matter, I had no destination, and I was digging the journey.

The 2nd was more of zen moment. I was on the last days of a 3 month solo road trip staying down at Giant's City State Park in southern Illinois. While I'm not a tradional religious man, I had a moment, an epiphony of clarity. I had just called my brother and had a good conversation with him about philosophy and how we view the world. I asked myself a question, "what's my idea of heaven?" It occured to me, that my idea of heaven would be a world very similar to earth, a natural place of wonder that I could explore at my leisure without all the unnecessary crap that has this one bogged down.

Then it hit me. If my idea of heaven is a world very similar to earth, and all I wanted to do was explore it at my leisure, it occured to me that I already had it! Heaven on earth already exists for me; I just had to realize it. With that, it was like I was plugged into an electric current I'd never felt before, I could see the world in a whole new light, hyper sensitive to the colors and smells and everything. I felt I understood the world, maybe for the first time. It was always flowing, and circular. For every ying, there is a yang. Like a big oak tree, for all the branches you see above ground, there is a hidden world of the same magnitude underground with its root system. I was jazzed and It was amazing.

Later I read a passage in Eric Blehm's The Last Season, “There was magic in these mountains. After a couple of weeks rangers experienced a slowing down. Randy called it a decompression; a transition from the fast paced and crowds of civilization. Once in a wilderness, a zen-like calm heightened their senses exponentially with each passing day. Even skeptical rangers admit that an unmistakable zone comes with time and solitude. Randy had likened the quieting sensation to religion- ‘a theology not found elsewhere’ he wrote in his log book in 1966. He had struggled to explain these sierra moments… only experienced when still…and surrounded by and conscious of the country.”

I think I experienced the same thing during my 3 month road trip, and that day it hit me on a higher note.

15. Posted by jayway (Budding Member 15 posts) 6y

Marrakesh, Maroc. First time I saw how little a life counted for-- ---

16. Posted by SuperBrat (Full Member 107 posts) 6y

On a 3-month volunteer expedition in Borneo in 1998, being amongst people who had saved and saved in order to be able to get on a plane to the other side of the planet so that they could cut a trek through a thick jungle, create an indegenous herb garden for future genrations, help build a school so kids wouldnt have to walk miles or be trapped when the river swelled, build a canopy walkway in the remotest part of Sabah, climb Kinabalu, live in a cowshed, share stories and compare footrot. I saw my country and the joy of travel in a completely new light after that.

17. Posted by madpoet (Respected Member 413 posts) 6y

Calais. Stepping of the hovercraft from England, entering a country where nobody spoke English, for the first time. I mean, of course I knew that they don't speak English in France, but I thought it would be like Montreal, where they only pretend not to understand English. ;) It was my first experience of culture shock, however mild. (Nothing like coming to China, later, but still a shock.) I was a naive 19 year old, then. Now, I think I'm pretty much immune to culture shock, but I still feel the rush of arriving in a totally new place, facing a new culture and new challenges. I hope I never lose that.

18. Posted by mim (Travel Guru 1276 posts) 6y

Good thread! Plenty of cheese on top

one that sticks out,
I've got a few...travelling through the Karoo in S.A I remember being really struck by the shortness of life in the face of such seemingly everlasting and solid mountains, but in a good way, in a, I'm part of this world for a short while but life is beautiful.

19. Posted by zaksame (Respected Member 571 posts) 6y

Mine would have to be a train station in Kenya... Sultan Hamud, I think. I left the train to try find something to eat but couldn't find anwhere. A tiny girl was watched me from the doorway of her home, a circular mud hut. She watched me so intensely and then disappeared inside before emerging with her daily food, a bowl of maize porridge, which she du;y offered to me with a great big smile. God damn if I didn't cry!

[ Edit: Edited on 20-Jan-2010, at 15:42 by zaksame ]

20. Posted by Jennifer G (Budding Member 725 posts) 6y

it would be travel on the road from Benin-Cotonou into Lagos, life at stake and nightmare throughout the whole journey