When I spotted Janet Newenham’s post about a competition being run by Yellow Zebra Safaris to win a luxury trip to Tanzania, I just knew that I had to enter. A trip to Tanzania would be a dream come true, and something that I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember. However, when I read the criteria for entering, I paused. My most memorable holiday? This is going to be really difficult.
Last year we went on the trip of a lifetime, exploring ten countries in just five months. We met so many incredible people, stumbled across places we never knew existed and did things we never could have imagined. So, when I think of memories, there are floods of them rushing back. That’s why I decided to look at this a little differently, and round up a selection of moments from this holiday. Moments that made it one to remember, moments that altered my outlook on life, and moments that made my passion for travel even stronger. Here goes nothing…
The moment… I stopped worrying about the future
I always wanted to go travelling, but I had a good job that paid well and people tried to convince me that I was mad to give it up. At first it worried me sick. What would happen if it didn’t go well, if me and Andrew couldn’t live together, and if I was ruining any chance of a career when I got back. I questioned everything. When I finally made the decision to go, it was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. Life is too short. There really is no point in worrying about the future before it has happened yet. It was the best decision of my life and I am so happy I chased after my dreams.
The moment… I understood the meaning of less is more
When you visit places off the beaten track and away from typical tourist traps, you can really understand the true meaning of less is more. While we were in the Philippines, we met some amazing people. While some of these people struggled to keep a roof over their family’s heads, and enough food on the table to avoid starvation, others spent every hour under the sun working so that they could educate their children. Taking all of that into account, how were they still some of the happiest people I ever met? Simply put, they appreciate life. A life without online shopping, junk food and social media. A life where being healthy is top priority and family is everything. It took very little to put a smile on their faces, but even more so, it took everything to wipe their smile away. This is something that I will never forget.
The moment… I witnessed love at first sight
So many places we visited had dogs wandering around the streets and beaches. While some of these dogs had homes, others were just left to fend for themselves. Anytime I saw one roaming around, I immediately thought of home and also how much I missed my own dog. Spending just a few moments playing with them, or holding them, would give me that little bit of comfort I needed. It made me appreciate how much happiness something so small can bring into your life. These gentle creatures have so much love to give, and want nothing in return.
The moment… we switched off from the world
When we were in Fiji, a thunderstorm hit that completely fried the modem. We had no wifi, and no way of contacting anyone. No social media, no signal. While at first it was hard to get used to, being able to finally switch off and detach ourselves from the world was pretty powerful. We laughed, we joked, we enjoyed the present and eachother’s company 100% – no distractions. I think this was the first time I disconnected entirely and it definitely hasn’t been the last.
The moment… I stepped out of my comfort zone
There’s no denying that I enjoy staying in nice places when I travel. I appreciate a comfy bed and good night’s sleep as much as the next person. But, when we visited New Zealand, there was only one way we were going to get to all the places we wanted to. That was by camper van. So, I sacrificed my king size bed for the back seat of a car, and my bath tub for communal showers… and it was the best decision I ever made! We got to explore so many amazing sights and travelling by camper meant we had ultimate flexibility. It would have been a very different trip should we have chosen to stay in hotels the entire time, and if I’m completely honest, I don’t think it would have been for the better.
The moment… I looked fear in the eye (and survived!)
When I was a kid I had no fear. Nothing scared me and I would take every risk there was. Fast forward twenty years or so and I can safely say that the daredevil in me has definitely gone into hiding. But, when the opportunity arose to do a bungee jump I knew my inner child would be very disappointed in me if I didn’t follow through! While I was indeed petrified, I took the leap (literally!) , and I would recommend that everyone does it or similar at least once in their life!
The moment…I went home with a full heart
For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by Elephants. They were always the animal I wanted to visit most when visiting the zoo as a kid, and even since I’ve grown up, they still enchant me. Not only are they strong and know exactly what they want, they are compassionate, smart, observant and have extraordinary memories. It was a dream come true experiencing a day at an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Here, these beautiful creatures roam free, living a happy and healthy life in the wild.
The moment… I realised forever starts now
Every single day we spent together, I fell asleep with just a little bit more love and appreciation for Andrew. He was there for me through it all. Through all the pains I went through (I was suffering pretty bad…more here) and all the times I missed home. He was always by my side. All of the amazing experiences we shared, and even the things that didn’t go to plan. No matter where our paths led next, he was holding my hand and supporting me along the way. On the plane home it really hit me. This is the real deal, and I’m not letting him go.
When I was a younger, my uncle and his wife jetted off to Africa on their honeymoon. When they returned, I was simply in awe. They shared photos of animals they saw up close and personal, tales of cheetahs hunting in their natural habitat and described the most beautiful sunsets. I knew it was something I was going to do – someday. Fifteen years on, I am still yet to make it there, but who knows…
Winning this competition with Yellow Zebra Safaris would be a dream come true. After taking a look at their Safari Holidays, it sounds like it could even top our trip last year and be the experience of a lifetime. Not only would it mean getting to explore a country I have longed to visit, as an animal lover, it would blow me away getting to witness the Great Migration first hand. I would also have the opportunity to share another life-changing experience with Andrew and of course bring you all along for the ride too…
Keep your fingers crossed for us!