When I was asked by Christina from Jandal Road to share my top 3 travel memories as part of a Blogger Relay Competition, running parallel to the Olympics, I was stumped. I could have easily thought of 30 travel memories, but just 3? Similar to the Olympics, it’s a mental challenge (bloggers get off of the physical challenge, although our fingers do get quite the workout). Like the Olympics, there are great rewards at stake. Instead of aiming for an Olympic gold, Team BLUE is aiming for one of the fabulous prizes being offered by Lowcostholidays.com - an iPad 2, a digital SLR camera and walking boots. And perhaps more importantly, blogger bragging rights!
Shark Diving at Cocos Island, Costa Rica
Identifying my favorite travel memory was easy. I had signed up on a 10 day dive trip to the Cocos Islands, located 600km off the coast of Costa Rica. Its one of the few places in the world where large schools of female hammerhead sharks congregate. I was in awe the first time I saw a hammerhead shark with their odd shaped head and strange way of moving through the water which looks like more of a wiggle, than a swim. I was even more in awe when I saw 80 of them! Not only did they not try and attack me, but they completely ignored me for the most part. Just going about their shark business, which does not involve looking for people to attack as the media would have you believe. It was also on this trip that I met my now German husband – who reminds me of my favorite travel memory every time I look at him.
The Galapagos is one of the few places on earth where animals have no fear. My favorites were the blue footed boobies. The babies were celebrities in the making! They knew their way around a camera, working their angles and expertly posing on their poop covered rock that they never left. I loved how they made the best out of a shitty situation! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist). I was also fortunate to meet the Galapagos’ most famous resident – Lonesome George before he passed on. But like any celebrity, he couldn’t be bothered with his lowly fans on the day that I visited. Nor was he up for a photo opp on the second or third day that I visited either. He really did live up to his “lonesome” reputation but despite his lack of photo cooperation, I loved him anyway and am grateful that I had the opportunity to meet him. RIP Lonesome George.
Outer Hebrides, Scotland
The Outer Hebrides are wild. They’re also the most remote place I’ve ever been. I volunteered for 10 days aboard a sailboat conducting cetacean surveys. I saw my first Minke whale, learned that young Risso dolphins love to show off, counted more than 50 basking sharks in one area alone, while honing my bird identification skills. I was also introduced to a new activity – island bagging! Our captain had a goal of bagging all the uninhabited islands in the Hebrides of which there are over 100. His enthusiasm was contagious and soon I was helping him plan a route so that we could bag as many islands as possible. It was hard work, sometimes boring work when there were no wildlife sightings, but I loved knowing that I was making a difference. I also loved the camaraderie with the other volunteers. We were from all walks of life, but bonded over our common interest in animal conservation, one of whom I’m still in contact more than 5 years later!
See my tips on Keeping Travel Memories Alive for how you can keep your own travel memories fresh.
Now that I’ve shared my top 3 travel memories, it’s my turn to pass the torch to Cathy from Traveling with Sweeney to share her travel memories which I’m looking forward to reading.
To follow the greatest collection of travel memories by passionate travellers, follow the hashtags #BloggerRelay and #teamBLUE on Twitter.