With my trip now being 45 days away I have decided to countdown my favorite travel memories of all time. I'm not complaining they are the best things that have ever happened to me on a trip, but they are things that when I reflect back on them I cannot help but smile. Some are stupid, some are fun, and some are crazy….and some have just stuck with me throughout my 24 (almost 25!) years, for who knows what reason.
10. Sliding down the shark slide at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas.
It was my senior year of high school and my best friends 17th Birthday weekend, and we were in the Bahamas. It was an amazingly beautiful day and a day we had decided to use to explore the busier side of the resort. We were after the side of the resort where the slides, tourist and cruise people seemed to congregate. As Melissa, Lindsey and I sipped our virgin strawberry daiquiris and giggled over the fact that we had packed a Birthday cake in Tupperware and iced it with our hands for Lindsey's Birthday we prepared to stand in line to go down the slide. The slide was meant to be used with a tube and ended with you going through an almost lazy type river that went through a shark tank. AMAZING right? Not so much if you spent the last week of summer watching Shark Week and are terrified of anything that has a fin. I thought I could handle it, I mean I only got a little bit nervous while walking through the tunnels at Sea World, shooting through on a tube would be easy, right? Not so much. After shooting down the steep part of the slide I slowed to an almost crawl as I traveled through the shark tank. It was then that my fear of sharks and claustrophobia started to make itself known. As I slowed to an almost stop I noticed a shark (who in my mind was a Great White) LAYING on the tube. LAYING ON IT. In my mind there was no way that this could possibly be safe. With my butt still firmly wedged in the tube I stood up, bent over double and RAN out. I noticed Lindsey and Melissa watching me through the glass laughing to death as I ran for my life. When I finally reached the end of the tube I jumped for freedom into the plunge pool. Looking back I realize I was never in danger, but looking back I realize I would never put myself in that position again. My near-death experience in the tunnel was enough. Because even if that tube wouldn't crack and kill me I have a feeling a heart attack would.
9. Hiking in California.
To start off, I have no idea where this took place. I know we were outside of Los Angeles and were hiking along a river. I know I was in 4th or 5th grade and we were in the woods, up a mountain walking along a stream. I know that it was my brother, my dad, my mom and I. I also know it was around Spring Break because the Oscar's were going on while we were in California. This being said, as my brother, dad and I climbed across a slow moving stream to a giant rock to pose with our Dad for a picture we were just smiling, waving and enjoying the beautiful, crisp day. Everything was going fine until we had to climb across the river back to the bank. It was then that my dad slipped and fell and scrapped his knee/shin…it was then that he shit his pants. I guess he wasn't feeling well that morning and had the runs, and the fall, combined with his upset stomach made holding it in not an option. However, this is not the best part of the story…or the most memorable. Of course after my dad informed us of his predicament we got into the car to drive into civilization. My dad requested that we never share this story (SORRY DAD), and was of course grumpy about the whole thing, while my mother, brother and I attempted to hold in our giggles. It was then that the commercial came on. I have noooo idea what the radio commercial was promoting but I remember exactly how it began. "Do you have dirty underwear?" This of course caused Johnny, my mom and I to burst into giggles at the fact that our Dad was currently navigating our car to the closest bathroom to rid himself of his dirty underwear. And this is a family vacation memory that will forever stick with me.
8. Cama, Cama, Cama, Chameleon The Westin Hotel, St. John Island – U.S. Virgin Islands
To set the stage it was May 2008, and I had just officially graduated from the College of Charleston. My best friend Carolyn had received a week stay at any Westin Resort for a graduation present and Derek, Caitie, Carolyn and I traveled to St. John Island in the Virgin Islands to celebrate our accomplishment. We had packed our best friend dresses, and were ready for an adventure and adventure is what we got. It was our last night in St. John and we were feeling no pain. I had to leave earlier than the others so I was trying to contain myself. However, Derek was not exactly following my lead. We had spent a long evening at Woody's partying with the locals and enjoying our time. Anyways the time has come to leave and we catch a shuttle back to our hotel. At this point and time Carolyn, Caitie and I are literally carrying Derek. Now, I must explain to you something about these taxi/shuttles, they don't really have any doors, they are open on the side kind of like a jeep but they have multiple rows, like the parking shuttles at Disney. We get Derek up into the taxi and he promptly collapses to the floor of the shuttle and remains there for the entire ride back to the Westin. We get to the Westin, pull Derek out only have to him collapse on the lawn in front of the Westin, a lawn which is home to many HUGE iguanas that the Virgin Islands are famous for. Derek opens one bleary blue eye and is starring at a iguana which is inches from his face….it is then that Derek in his most hilarious state begins singing "cama, cama, cama, cama, cama chameleon" I to this day don't know the real words or if those are the real words, but I know the song and I know the tune and Derek's perfect timing and crazy self happened to say it right then, and this is a travel memory that I will never ever forget.
7. The Giant Chocolate Bar- Hershey Park, Pennsylvania
I don't know what year this happened in. I'm thinking around the time I was in 8th grade. My family and I traveled to Pittsburg to pickup my Grandma Marcy and Grandaddy and go on an adventure to Hershey Park, Pennsylvania and Gettysburg. We rent a HUGE Church van in which everyone in my family had their own row and we took off. The trip was amazing but the best memory of the trip was my chocolate bar. See, I have always loved dessert and my grandfather had mentioned before that he loved watching me eat dessert went I was little. My eyes would light up, I'd smile and laugh and just be the happiest little girl. Well, things haven't changed much I still love chocolate and at this point and time I was on a mission get the biggest chocolate bar possible. Well we found a 5lb chocolate bar at Hershey Park, and I didn't want to open it. My grandfather found it and bought it for me, I hugged it to my chest and walked around like it was my biggest pride and joy…and I never opened it. Well I can't say never, but I one day came home from swim practice find my dad had opened it L. However, I still have the wrapper and the memory of our trip around Pennsylvania.
6. Snowmobiling the Continental Divide – Colorado Christmas 2003.
It was the coldest Christmas ever, Christmas in Breckenridge, Colorado. It was also the most packed Christmas ever. My aunt, uncle, mom, dad, brother and I were saying in a two bedroom 1 bathroom loft and my grandparents were staying in their motor home in a campground a few miles away….meaning it was usually 8 of us in the tiny condo. It was freezing cold and wonderful on the slopes, but only my dad, mom, uncle, aunt and I could enjoy the slopes so one day we went snowmobiling. We all had our own snow mobiles (except my grandmother rode on the back of my Big Johns) and we zipped across the frozen landscape. Snow was deep and we were warned to stay on the paths or else we risk tipping or sinking. Unfortunately I did tip my snowboard once, and my dad ended up sinking when we took a break and he went to the bathroom and ended up sinking his snow up to his armpits! Anyways, the trip was beautiful and the weather was perfect, and as we climbed up the Rockies I realized we were slowly eclipsing the tree line. As we continued to climb the trees began to disappear and the air got the thinner. It was then that we reached the top and my whole family was perched on the top of the continental divide. I wish I could explain the feeling of gazing out and seeing all of Colorado, of the way it felt when my family came together and linked arms and stared down out and over the winter wonderland. It was an amazing site and an amazing feeling that actually warmed me inside and out.
5.Tour de France – Paris, France 2007.
- This is the story of how I accidentally witnessed the Tour de France. This is the story of a girl trying to get to the Musée de l'Orangerie and some how ended up in the middle of the world most famous bike race. It was a beautiful Paris summer day, and I had decided to split up from the other three girls I had travelled to Paris with and instead venture on my own to visit the Musee de l'Orangerie which is famous for the beautiful display of Monet's water lily paintings. Monet is one of my favorite artists, looking at his paintings make me feel tranquil, they make the world a little more beautiful and me a little happier. I was looking forward into walking into the room with the summer light and taking in the beautiful paintings. It was my last day in Paris, I needed to see these! So while I made my way to Musee de l'Orangerie the rest of my group was headed to the Catacombs (a site I was avoiding due to my severe asthma). Anyways, I finally found out where I needed to go and navigated the most difficult subway system in the world and was on my way! When I got off at my stop I slowly climbed the stairs to enter the sidewalk, when I noticed a huge amount of people around me. At first I thought it was a group of people gathering around a street performer, but the roads were closed…..hmmm. It was then that the lead cars and paradesque bicycles. It was then that I put two and two together. The colorful shirts, the fast bikes, the people starring up the road as if a celebrity might appear. It was the Tour de France! The excitement of this realization was quickly squelched by the fact that I was informed that the museum I had been dying to see allll week was closed due to the fact that the race made a giant circle around the museum! There was no way around it, I was not going to see my precious Monet's. However, I did get to witness the Tour de France, and it was exciting – and I am returning to Paris in December/January and will make sure I make it to Monet's water lily. But until then the memory of the confusion, excitement and energy of sneaking up on a Tour de France on a beautiful warm Paris day will forever be one of my favorite memories.
4. Monument Valley, Summer 2006.
It was my brother's first time on a horse. My first time in Monument Valley, and my families first experience with a drunk Native American. It was the Summer I decided to live with my aunt and uncle in Arizona and Colorado and work for them, and it was when my brother came out to visit. We decided to take a trip to the Grand Canyon and to go horseback riding in Monument Valley. My Aunt and Uncle had done it before and had sworn by the experience. You had a Native American guide, he would take you on a tour of Monument Valley and show you the terrain tell you stories, folk tales and traditions and you'd get to see the unbelievable sites. Sounded awesome! We woke up early, left for the meeting point and waited, and waited, and waited. Thinking we were in the wrong spot, we took off looked around and waited some more. Finally our guide stumbled up reeking of alcohol and said he would be our tour guide. Obviously still drunk the night before, he saddled up our horses and climbed bareback on to his and off we went. As we were slowly going up a narrow ridge on the side of a mountain my Indian guide was turning around and flirting with me! I was worried about the fact that we were literally on a path that was about 2 feet wide and he was flirting! Our guide was leading, and I was right behind him followed by my brother, my Uncle Tom, and my Aunt Lisa who is quite good with horses and used to race them was bringing up the rear. It was then the guide told me "I can even ride my horse lying down with my eye closed sleeping." With this being said he laid down, closed his eyes and promptly FELL OFF HIS HORSE! Fell off! On to a tee tiny ledge that led to a rocky ravine below! My horse slammed to a stop and avoided stomping him by the narrowest of margins. Our guide seemed embarrassed and ended up trading horses with my Aunt, I guess hangovers/being drunk effect how long you can ride bareback. My Aunt ended up riding bareback and the guide took over her horse. That day we saw some beautiful sites, some old Native American caves and homes, and we saw our guide fall of a horse piss ass drunk. It was amazing, hilarious and my first travel adventure gone wacky!
3. Christmas in Charleston I am guessing it was 1991.
It was Christmas time in Charleston, South Carolina, a beautiful city that was blustery and cold and filled with hope. My whole family had arrived to Charleston in order to celebrate Christmas and to spend time with my Great-Grandaddy gene. Grandaddy Gene was in the hospital battling brain cancer and our family was there to spend Christmas close to him. It had been a long day of hospital visits any my brother who was four and I who had just turned six was a little to young to understand the full gravity of the situation. We knew our Grandaddy Gene was sick and we knew that we were spending Christmas in Charleston to be close to him. The family was a little down but my Great-Grandmother,Grandmother, Grandfather, Great Aunt, Aunt, Uncle, and parents were all there. It was late one night after we had left the hospital and decided to go to dinner. I don't know the name of the place we went but it was very fancy, and was dimly lit. My family was places at a large round table with a white table cloth and candles and we were enjoying each others company and laughing after a long day. To be honest most of the dinner is a blur but I remember feeling, happy, warm and safe, and ordering pecan pie (that was not as good as Grandma Orenes). It was here that some how my family got on the subject of attempting to touch our tongues to our nose. This of course caused everyone to be giggly and forget our problems for awhile as we all attempted to get our tongue to touch the tip of our nose, and of course only my mom succeeded. Finally after dessert we all calmed down and stopped trying to do it, when we looked over and noticed a fussy looking older company attempt to do the same thing…this of course caused our whole table to dissolve back into uncontrollable giggles. This was a rough Christmas but I remember being happy, I remember the electronic fireplace in the hotel room, and the giggles at dinner. I also remember my Grandaddy Gene and being able to spend that last Christmas with him. He died in February but that Christmas was a memorable one, and the memory of my whole family forgetting their troubles and attempting to lick their own nose is one memory that I was forever cherish and file under "happy childhood."
2.A lazy day in Edinburgh, Scotland. Summer 2007.
It was the summer of 2007 and I was studying abroad in London, England. My British Children's Literature class was taking a few day trips to Edinburgh, Scotland and our itinerary was brutal. Class every morning followed by fieldtrips and walking tours. We were constantly moving, constantly going, constantly studying and preparing for what was next. It was a great time and I was learning a lot however, I was exhausted! We were also staying in an old castle which was awesome but not the best for sleeping, creaky, noisy and spooky! Plus A group of us had just spent the day in London before traveling to Scotland standing in line for book 7 of the Harry Potter series (and standing in line and getting HP7 in my hands in LONDON probably should have made this list, in fact I might have to add it or give it its own list!), but we were exhausted and sleep-deprived and working out butts off. Anyways, we finally were given a full afternoon off. After a literary tour of Edinburgh, Scotland we were given the afternoon to do whatever we wanted in the beautiful city. A few of us decided to lay in Edinburgh's Royal Botanical Garden. It was a beautiful site and a beautiful day, in the 70's with a view of the old castle above us, the green grass below us and the flowers surrounding us we lay in the park, read our books, ate lunch, drank tea, and enjoyed our surroundings. We watched a soccer game; little girls run and play, an impromptu (friendly!) boxing match and just enjoyed life. It was sooo relaxing, so joyful and just amazing. It was the perfect afternoon during a perfect yet exhausting study abroad experience.
1. Westminster Abbey, London England – 2006
It was my first Europe experience and I had travelled to London with my best friend Lindsey. Unfortunately the trip wasn't going as perfectly as hoped due to the fact I had caught a severe cold, fever, chills, aches and bronchitis to boot! Lindsey of course being the travel buff she is was keeping me on the a grueling schedule. Wake up early, explore London, come back for a nap and tea, eat and then find food. In reality our naps were usually about 30 minutes and we were usually in pretty early. BUT, it was exhausting being as sick as I was. On the day we went to Westminster Abbey was the best day of all. After visiting Westminster Abbey Lindsey and I decided to sit and relax a bit (hmm my top to memories involve sitting on my butt in a beautiful part of the world and just enjoying life…). Anyways, Lindsey and I sat outside in front of Westminster Abbey playing with flowers, talking about trust (it's about trust in Jesus), and filming probably one of my favorite videos of all time. Despite the awkward couple basically having sex on the grass next to us, it was a great day to wind down and just bond after running all over London for a week.
☆Krystle ☆ Stay tuned for my not so top 10 travelling moments…which are awkward, fun and totally lovable…they just are different…