Fortunately I've had lots! I'll post some "spiritual" moments memories later on since it's hard to narrow it down to a few.
But there is one moment that stands out, for me, as my Happiest. It was the day I arrived in Tibet! As much as I had traveled, it was always Tibet that was my Dream destination. And finally there I was in Lhasa. I arrived on Losar (Tibetan New Year) and there pilgrims from all over Tibet, dressed in their finery. The first sighting of the Potola Palace was amazing, but it was when I was just hanging out in front of the Jokhang Temple, on Bakor Square, just watching and interacting with Tibetans from all over Tibet that I was at my Happiest! It was like a dream come true and the happiest day of my travel career. (Also since it was Feb. there were very, very few other tourists, which even made the experience even more special).
Hello everyone on TP,
Sometimes I go really up and down spiritually, and I do consider myself to be a really spiritual person. My spirit could just die because of something. Travel, life, I am real and true to things, so that I simply cannot stay and be someone other than myself. Usually travel brings me to freedom; it opens. But it usually is not so much a rollercoaster, a Valley Of Ten Peaks, than it's a steppe, a plateau . ... .. . .
When I was young, I used to go to this Summer Camp out in Alberta, west of Red Deer, near Caroline.... It was in the borreal forrest. We had an option of going whitewater rafting one year. It was one of those things that I had wanted to do for such a long time, and I really looked forward to going... My whole cabin went, and we shared a raft. It was on the Red Deer River, which is not very known for whitewater rafting (in the Canadian Rocky Mountains) as the Kickinghorse river or the Frasier River's, but it had rained for the whole entire passed week, and the waters really rose, so that the rapids were type 4. We brought up the rear, the first aid-rescue raft. All girls, but strong and that was necessary. You see my counsellor was afraid, because her brother had died from drowning, but we weren't thinking about it, maybe, at least I was not. So we got to these rapids named the Gooseberry Rapids, where there is a plate above it that looks placid, but really is six hydraulics dirowed like muffins in a tin, silently in a lure. The girl seated next to me on the edge of the raft suddenly lost her balance. So she grabbed my raincoat (we didn't have wetsuits, just helmits and PFDs ) sleeve, but I wasn't prepared or aware of that exact thing, thus I fell into the water on that side after her, but she went in closer to the raft. Naturally, they got her in first, because it was easier, I think.
I thought, or maybe I was, that I was beginning to drift further away from the raft. So I decided to gently kick behind me, to prepell myself closer to the raft, so they could reach me. But in the process of rescuing her into the raft, I kicked myself into the Hydraulic right behind me. I didn't know. I got sucked in. It happened in a nano-second. Suddenly I was under the water, all instincts. Then I popped up because of my life jacket, and all the Pre came to mind like scripture that you unintentionally memorise in stress. I saw the cliff side on one side and the watery cliff on the juxta-side, going down into the Gooseberry... I thought I was going to go over, so I put my feet in front of me in case I hit a rock, or hopefully the horizontal tree growing out over it, so I could catch it. I thought I was probably on my own, though I could hear them yelling. I kept getting sucked back under, popping up, getting sucked back under, and popping up again. I did not loose a contact (they didn't even move), or forget to gasp, although I almost exploded from lack of air..
You know all of those things that they say on TV, in books, that "my life FLASHED before my eyes!" and all that stuff? None of that happened. But instead I felt a tremendous peace, like a dove, in darkness (I didn't see any light flashing) and that is how I know that it was not my time to leave, I am not going to hell, I do believe in GOD and I have a Relationship with him, if I may be so bold to just go and say it! All of a sudden there was a paddle beside me, and someone, my counsellor and a cabinmate, were shouting at me to grab it. I did. (Somehow I had gotton out of the Hydraulic, I think with one of my lateralling limbs) I had 2 minutes to catch my breath and then I had to help them paddle through the rapids.
I walked to the top a mountain where there was a small abandoned monastry and meditated, then i had a chat with the mountains.
Sounds wrong, but i did.
I consider myself spiritual but as bluewaav said i also go up and down-if this make sense!
Matt its things like this that people think you are mad but if they were to try it themselves! I sometimes go to tell people things but then i think best not! Meditation-god everyone should try it! I need to get into these things much more!
Happiest? Well, even though it was probably the shortest trip I've ever taken, definitely surprising my fiance last summer! I was doing an opera in St. Louis, and he was doing a 12-week program in Ohio. We were given the next night off, so I rushed straight home, booked the first SW Airlines flight to Cleveland in the morning, thought I had everything mapped out (Murphy's law--but I found my way by chance!), caught him totally by surprise, and had a blast! Had to leave the next day, but it was worth it.
Either that, or giggling at pigeons at London's Kingscross station with my kid brother. We spent two weeks travelling through London, Scotland, and Iceland, and had a blast! We just couldn't be miffed about being charged four times over for our train tickets and being thus delayed for two hours--try it! Think like a cheer or a chant (1-2-3-4) "I'm a pige- on, I'm a pige- on" in time with the way they walk. Variations on that include supersonic pigeon ("super- sonic pige- on") for the speedwalkers and fat pigeon ("I'ma fat pige- on") for the ones that know how to get the breadcrumbs! He just kept giggling until I asked him why, and then we were both laughing.
Most spiritual is hands down a flight I was on to Scotland two months after 9/11. I watched the sun rise over billowy clouds off to the east, and for the longest time, it almost looked like a far-off city. I was listening to a recording of William Harris's "Faire Is the Heaven" and Beethoven's 9th recorded in 1942 Berlin at the time, and I've never felt more grateful, happy, and at peace in my life.
It was on a bus in Cambodia that was packed with locals and i was sat next to an american guy who had very little understanding on other countries (eg. thought indian food was Thai and that everywhere other than america was 3rd world). for the whole 10 hours journey he was moaning about the cambodians and their local ways and then when we arrived in Phnom Penh and the usual moto and tuk-tuk drivers pushed towards everyone getting off the bus he actually started punching them away. Only punches in the shoulder, but still punching them all the same.
At this point i looked at him and laughed, as everything he hated and moaned about i absolutely loved, and then i realised how much i've enjoyed my trip so far.
Well I thought I would bring my Favorite thread back to life. Around 5 posts ago (over a month ago) I posted my Happiest travel day being in Llasa during Losar (Tibetan New Year).
During my travels I think my happiest times are when I'm at some type of Festival! Many, many come to mind. It's the activity, the uniqueness, the joy or reverence of the people, the constant interaction...I just feel so ALIVE when I'm at a festival!
As far as "spiritual moments" are concerned. I guess thar's somewhat intangable. Sometimes it can be because of the collection feelings of the masses during a religious ceremony. Sometimes just that feeling of "I can't believe I'm HERE" feeling is one I would describe as "spiritual." It certainly does involve a feeling of "AWE." I think for me personally, the so called "spiritual feeling" is most ofter experienced when I'm surrounded by Nature. Deserts and Rock type formantions seem to bring on this feeling many times. Scenery like you would find in Arizona or Utah.
Anyway, on to some specific experiences that come to mind.
I'd say the one place that I have found to be "consistenty spiritual" is the The Shwedagon Pagoda, better known as the Golden Temple in Yangoon, Burma. I've been there during 3 differnt trips, the recent 1994 and 2001. Every, single time I've visited this huge Temple complex, I'm stuck with the feeling of calm, weet-being, content, and happiness. It's a very large complex and I can spend hours there, particulary around sunset, just watching the Burmese, young and old, going about their age-old rituals.
Another experience that I surprising found to be very spiritual was a 4 hour cruise I took down the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo. It was misty and overcast and the rock formations seemed to be of another World. Really, really exceeded my expectations.
A recent experience certainly would qualify. Last year, during my trip to Namibia, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sleep under the stars while at the sand dunes around Sossusvlei. It was an experience I will never, ever forget. I air was pristine, the weather perfect, and I've never seen so many stars in my entire life.
I could see the "milky way" and stars throughout the entire blackened sky. Then to watch the full moon rise over the dunes...just a really special experience.
An evening on the Karawari River in Papua New Guinea, in the middle of the jungle listening to the distant & constant beating of drums fills me with awe everytime I think of it.
One cold, clear, crisp evening in Bukhara Uzbekistan, I definitely had that "I can't believe I'm actually HERE" feeling. I was staying at a guest house somewhere in the Older section of town. Late that night, I took a walk down by a river and there was not another sole around. Again a Full moon illuminating the centuries old, mosaic buildings.
There've been many, many more and it's really nice to sit here and reminisce over some of these moments frozen in my memory forever. Other "special" places like Machu Picchu, the plains of Pagan with Temples scattered in the distance as far as the eye can see, the Valley of the Kings in Eygpt, the list goes on, all providing neverending dividends on the time & effort required to get there.
Well that's it for now, I really enjoy reading through ALL the posts on this thread. Hopefully, maybe now that it's getting a "bump" up to the front of the que, some others members (maybe newer members) will post some of their "special, spiritual, happy" travel moments.
Jeff, I just 'found' this again from your post with the link. I believe your right...this thread actually touches you Thank you for pointing it out. It is well worth the read (again)
"...Another experience that I surprising found to be very spiritual was a 4 hour cruise I took down the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo. It was misty and overcast and the rock formations seemed to be of another World. Really, really exceeded my expectations...
Please let me have comments from your own experience.
My Chinese girlfriend & I expect to visit Guilin (Yangshuo) for 1 - 2 weeks in August 2005. One of my girlfriend's favourite hobbies is cooking. I understand that there is an abundance of hotels / guesthouses available in both places.
Please tell me about where you stayed. Did you notice any available cooking facilities for guests?
I wish I remembered where I stayed, but I was there 10 years ago in January 1995. It was a nice hotel on the bank of a River, right in the city, not far from the Old section of town. It was a regular hotel, so I didn't notice cooking, etc.. I remember that I liked the Old town area of Guilin, windy streets, exotic markets selling every kind of "live creature" for someone's dinner (not mine, I stuck to basic rice & soup, after viewing the market scene). Like I mentioned in my post, the Li river cruise exceded my expectations, and has always been a "travel memory highlight" for me. I also liked Yangshuo and the caves nearby (think they're called the "Red Flute" caves or something like that, but it's a pretty amazing cave complex. I'm sure you guys will really enjoy it down there.