Australia outback
Nearly Dying In The Outback

Nearly Dying In The Outback

A moment lived in Australia by Ross the Explorer, a traveller from United Kingdom

When I landed in Alice Springs a massive smile stretched along my face. I was about to see the Outback, who would not be excited!

I had 48 hours to kill before I headed to Uluru (Westerners tend to refer to this place as Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon.

The day after arriving I chucked 1.25 litres of water and my camera in my backpack and went to Mount Gillen. In hindsight I should have packed 3 litres of water and told someone where I was going.

I left at 12.30, it was going to be a 4.5 hour walk (including the walk to the mountain itself). I eventually got back at 9.30pm. It turned out to be a very long 4.5 hours.

When I arrived at the base of the mountain I realised that it was going to be a steep climb. That was no problem, I was up for a challenge. After about an hour I was near the top. Getting to the top required me to do some climbing.

Once I had finished the climb I was treated to breath taking views. Alice Springs is surrounded by nature. I sat at the top for a while getting my breath back and taking loads of photos (and selfies).

I walked toward the cliff edge to make the climb down. Then it became apparent that I had no idea how I got up. It was really unclear which part of the cliff I had previously climbed up. I could not work out the path down, all the paths looked as if they just led to death. After much looking and observing I finally found the right path.

I carefully made my way down this path. I was making good use of my hands and feet. I would be lying if I said I was not scared. Then it became apparent I was not on the correct path! I saw the correct path and decided to crawl along the cliff edge onto the correct path. I did not want to stand up and risk falling to my death. I had to crawl through a thorn bush which was fun. Then I had further bad luck. It became apparent I could not crawl onto the correct path. I realised I had to go back to the top and start again.

When I was back at the top I was looking at the cliff edge and just had no idea how to get down. I decided to walk down the other side of the mountain. It was going to make the walk far longer than planned but I had no other choice.

I walked, slid and climbed down the other side of the mountain. According to Google Maps at one point I was walking through a river. I did not see any water.

I eventually got to the bottom of the mountain but had no idea how to get back to the main road. Frustratingly Google Maps would not work at the bottom of the mountain. I started walking along a dirt track. I thought it would eventually lead to the main road.

It started getting dark and I started to feel completely lost. I picked up my pace and kept walking on the dirt track. When it became pitch black I called the police for assistance. The phone operator was going to speak to his manager and then call me back. Before he did this my phone died! Great!

I kept walking and eventually got to a sign which read ‘No Trespassing’. I sighed deeply and started looking for alternative routes. In the distance I saw what looked like cars. I assumed it was some people off roading on a dirt track. I headed towards the ‘dirt track’. I bumped into a sign which had ‘100’ written on it, it was dark but I could tell it was a speed limit sign. I looked around me and I realised the ‘dirt track’ was actually a proper road.

I stood at the side of the road and frantically waved when cars came past. Two cars drove straight past me and I felt gutted. Then fortunately one of the cars turned around and came back and asked if I was okay. I was lost, dehydrated and it was pitch black. I was not okay!

He told me to jump in the car, he said he could give me a lift home. I got in and started chatting to the guy. According to him the town had recently had a problem with Aboriginals committing car crime. It was his words, do not throw the racist card at me. I asked him why he stopped for me then, I asked if he had seen I was not an Aboriginal. He said ‘I didn’t see your appearance but I am a big bloke and have a gun on the back seat’! He could clearly defend himself if he needed to. The guy dropped me off and I thanked him a million times.

The next morning I woke up and realised I was coated in cuts and bruises. At least I was still alive! A lot of lessons were learnt after that ordeal!

This traveller has a blog : Ross the explorer

credit photo : Ross the explorer

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From a spoilt to the postcard backpacker

From a spoilt to the postcard backpacker

A moment lived in Thailand by Kate, a traveller from Czech Republic

“Wow, you’re cool! Alone? Are you crazy? To travel 6 weeks in oriental SE Asia! You’re really good! Is it ever safe for a woman? Well mainly, that you survived, the plane did not fall with you, nobody robbed you, raped etc.” The most common reaction of the family and friends of mine to the question how I enjoyed my trip to the other side of the globe. “And didn’t you travel there to see a friend?” It’s possible to make a life decision within 24 hours? I will be traveling alone and enjoy it BUT what if!? Also, can you think of a million reasons why not? I had about a thousand of them that were running through my head. My brain paths worked at 120 %. Then I saw myself in my mind how I will go defeatedly back to the Czech Republic.

BUT I’ve faced a life challenge! ME, the first time ALONE in Asia! God, maybe I’m crazy?! I collected the last bits of courage to take a deep breath. I let the feel of the thrill from the unknown flow through my body, the feel, which has been ruled by a fear so far. How big of a little fool am I, I have no idea at the moment. I’m lovingly opening my heart to the knowledge of a new country culture. My steps lead me forward into the unknown across the bridge of fear. I didn’t have an idea where I will sleep tomorrow, who could cross my path and where the wind will take me. I only knew one thing. It will never be the same from right now at this moment.

It is late afternoon. The sun burns white beach and I’m sitting in a cozy beach bar, where I’m enjoying a delicious fresh coconut cocktail. Like the waves gently impinge the coast of the island, the birds twitter and form a common siren with the sound of ocean effervescence. So I am smoothly letting my thoughts kidnap me away into the past. “The 1994 has been written. My puberty during the fame of the musical band Kelly Family. How surprising was the fact that I had done far crazier things, just so I could follow their concert tour through Europe daily. I used all transportation options, including hitchhiking. I loved the feel of freedom and space when you did not know, who you will meet, what you will discover, where you will unfold the sleeping bag to go sleep that evening. The following 10 years, I have dreamed about satisfying this feel again. “

“Madam, madam…” From the deep contemplation, I am awakened by the impulse of the waiter. I am given another great chilled coconut cocktail. The sips of coconut milk are so delicious that it’s easy to forget about the outside world. Again I am immersed in the thoughts about the decisions in the past few weeks… “And now, after 10 years, when I was standing face to face in this chance, I was paralyzed with fear. But why was that? Perhaps because I am an adult? As we get more and more mature and advanced, we deal with unimportant things. We are accustomed to our convenience in the comfort zone. Our point of view of courage is controlled more by head than by heart…” I’m sipping the last sip of the coconut milk. I know that my decision was correct. I listen to the heart more, my heart, the heart that experiences my joys but also worries with me daily. I do not regret for a second! At the same time, it has been the craziest and coolest step forward on this fateful crossroads of life. I have gone beyond my comfort zone to find freedom of my life story. The story that I want to write with a pen filled with the experiences that I lived in the moment, here and now!

The sun slowly conjures a symphony of colors on the surface of the ocean. I am cheating on my favorite coconut cocktail with a delicious mango shake. Traveling in a backpacking style, with eliminating extra kilos to the minimum necessary evil on my back, it is a wonderfully liberating feel. Nothing ties you up. You are as free as birds. But it does not change the fact that I like giving gifts to the family and friends of mine, the souvenirs from my travels. I am coming back to the roots of our grandmothers, several decades back, to the days when the world was ruled by the postcards. “Still two hours remaining until the departure of the night bus”, I’m telling myself. The heart is already crying with Thailand-sickness, the time to send the last postcards from Thailand. I’m pulling a couple of them from my backpack. With the pen in my hand, I’m hardly pushing a glistening tear in my eye which falls and rolls down on the last postcard. Tomorrow morning it will only say from Malaysia. I feel in my heart that I’m not giving my last bye from Thailand.

At the time of the advanced technology, where everything is carried mostly electronically, I forgot how a little thing, such as a postcard, can make you happy and create a smile up your cheeks after a very bad day. When out of nowhere, from a mailbox, something other than a bill to pay falls out on you, it really feels priceless. Every new adventure is asking for more and more of them. When your grandmother calls to you, how it conjured up a smile on their cheeks, it warms my heart for a long time :)

This traveller has a blog : Cover the Road

credit photo : wikipedia.org

 

USA road trip
Amazing USA road trip

Amazing USA road trip

A moment lived in USA by Tigrest, a traveller from Estonia

That trip was all I could think about for the 10 months. Finally, it was the day – we boarded our first of 4 flights and made our way to the USA. First time to take an 11 hours flight. I was trembling with excitement – when we finally stepped out of the terminal building in SFO. It was warm, moist air that felt different. Everything was different than back home (it was winter and freezing -5 degrees).

The next day we took a local flight down to Phoenix. Another change in climate – hot, desert air. It felt like vacation. I loved the difference and enjoyed every moment of our new adventure. Rented a car and off to California – real road trip!
San Diego struck with a smell of weed everywhere we went. The people were nice though and God, did I love the beach. It’s just like in the movies!
Next stop – Los Angeles. The city of dreams! I never imagined it would disappoint me so much. Hollywood, nightlife – it’s all so unnatural and expensive. Universal Studios was cool – way better than expected.

Las Vegas was so cold and windy when we got there. So the overall experience was spoiled. But the next morning we got Cirque du Soleil tickets and loved the show. In fact, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It’s magical!
It was time to say goodbye to Vegas and head to our next point – Grand Canyon. The nature is just stunning. I have no words to describe just how powerful and breathtaking this place is. You truly feel tiny when the walls of the canyon come around you as you descend to the bottom. I really loved the trails – they let you see the true beauty of the Canyon from inside.
In Flagstaff we had our best BBQ ever. Found this place on Google Maps by just searching for bbq restaurants. I swear I can still feel the taste of this amazing meat! It was one of the reasons to visit USA in the first place.

On our way back to Los Angeles we stayed at a little oasis called Palm Springs. Since Flagstaff (and Grand Canyon) are rather cold in March, we were freezing during the night. Driving through the desert, the temperature started to go up rapidly and soon we found ourselves in 90 degrees heat. It was such a relief to finally check in at a motel and dive into a pool. The evening ended with amazing pasta in a local Italian place.

Our flight back was scheduled from SNA (Orange county). When we arrived at the counter, the lady made a sad face and told us we won’t catch our connecting flight to Dallas. There was not enough time as our first flight was late. Oh well, that couldn’t be good. We were stuck in USA and had to take 4 flights to get home.
To our surprise, the lady made a huge effort and spent the next 40 minutes figuring out how to get us home.
I can’t imagine how, but she managed to book us seats on a Lufthansa flight directly from LAX to Frankfurt and then directly to our hometown. So two flights instead of four! All we had to do is go to LAX now.

Easy enough, when you receive airline vouchers for taxi and food. Upon check-in in LAX we were offered to take the next day flight for a compensation. On some other day it would actually sound great, but we were just so tired of the trip and eager to get home soon.
Our amazing 2 weeks holidays ended on a fantastic, easy and comfortable A380 watching movies, eating and napping :)

This traveller has a blog : Tigrest

credit photo : Tigrest

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Best day ever syndrome

Best day ever syndrome

A moment lived in Sweden by Georgina Mckimm, a traveller from United Kingdom

One Van and No Plan

On February 22nd 2016, I moved into my VW Caddy and have been living in it ever since. One Van and No Plan is literally what it says on the tin! I live in my van (Callie the Caddy) and just take each day as it comes. Check out what I have learnt and experience along the way!

Living in a van, every single day is an adventure, every single day something amazing happens and without prompt 3 words just keep falling out of my mouth – BEST DAY EVER! I find myself saying it every day, something as simple as being sat having breakfast and an old guy that speaks no English comes over and offers us fresh berries that he has just picked from the field across the road “BEST DAY EVER”. Then the next day a van pulling up next to you for their midmorning coffee break, popping out and chatting to you for half an hour then leaving. Suddenly you have a whole new set of knowledge on Australia and New Zealand, a bottle of red wine and a pack of cookies “BEST DAY EVER”. The complete and utter kindness of people in this world really melts my heart. During my time in Sweden, I felt this more than ever.

Setting off for the day in the van not knowing where you will be sleeping that night is always exciting. You kind of just stumble across an amazing spot at some point during the day and are like yep this is awesome let’s sleep here tonight. So on this day, driving over a bridge onto an Island in the middle of the lake was exciting at first. Then once you are deep into the woods and driving down lane ways that look like your driving into a horror film, you start to question yourself. Should I turn around? Is this even going to lead anywhere? Are my low profile tyres going to make it across this terrain? But me being me I have to drive and see, as you never know what could be waiting at the end of the road. I’m so happy that I did not let fear get the better of me as this is where the road leads to…
A mini beach on an Island in the middle of nowhere. “ BEST DAY EVER”

So what do u do next? You strategically reverse the van onto the beach and sit back and chill. That was until about an hour later a 4×4 truck comes down, so I go over and start speaking to the guy just to double check I wasn’t in his way. He was like no not at all, the only reason I came down was because we saw your English number plate as you drove past earlier and wanted to invite you to our house for a drink.

Um okay, hell Yes! Jumped into the truck and drove up to the house to be greeted by some truly amazing people. Then learnt some Swedish, got plied with rum & coke, had shots of brandy and Swedish beer and then it was apparently time to go down to the lake for a midnight dip! What the hell lets go, no mum I did not drive the Swedish guys 4×4 truck down to the lake, I drove it back! 😂

The morning after being woken up with an offering of an English breakfast ‘BEST DAY EVER’ once again spring to mind! The kindness of these people just amazed me. Ended up actually moving in with one of the locals and not leaving the Island for 4 or 5 days. Just explored the woods, took turns at cooking for each other, listen to their travel stories, play some good old card games and really just got to know one another. It was easy to see why he lived there, you’re there in the middle of nowhere, pure tranquility and a few days in you kind of forget there is a world outside of the Island.
I entered the Island looking for a place to park up for the night and left the Island with the most incredible memories, friends for life and an invite to the North of Sweden.

If travel has taught me one thing, it is that every single day is the ‘BEST DAY EVER’!

This traveller has a blog : Wake up to the World

credit photo : pixabay.com

 

Under Gibraltar’s starry skies

Under Gibraltar’s starry skies

A moment lived in India by Stefano Scilipoti, a traveller from Italy

That day we were damn tired. We were able to chase and catch a bus from Malaga after an awful night. We had slept on the beach. Our bones were such damp we could hear our joints cracking at the slightest movement. We slept clutching our little pouches with essential goods, as we had left the backpacks in the railway station’s lockers. However, in the early morning, Patrick got robbed of his one. It was probably ten minutes or one hour afterward that he groggily opened his eyes to find that the little bag was missing. Then, we were lucky. It seems absurd, but the guy who clearly stole the bag was leaning on a jumble of deckchairs smoking a big joint. And it was keeping it just under his legs. We couldn’t have met a more stupid thief. Well, Patrick angrily headed toward this guy, and he didn’t move at all. Once there, he just asked the pouch back. The stoner guy just let it, trying to say that he found the bag there, obviously lying. Incredibly, checking that everything was still inside – mobile phone and wallet above all, nobody would like to spend a couple of weeks in the Italian embassy trying to have an ID card back – Patrick noticed that only the money was missing, and he walked back to us. I was still clumsily looking for my glasses, which I managed to find a minute later. Francesco, the only Spanish speaker among us, asked the guy to have the money back, with no result. At least, we had everything necessary to fetch our backpacks and head to the next destination. Lesson one: never sleep on a Spanish beach with anything valuable.

After that little hitch, we had a hearty breakfast and another short nap on a random park. A short nap, that means it was almost lunch. Fortunately, we found a cheap bakery where we had a big sandwich with an ice cold beverage for few euros. We finally fetched our backpacks and yes, let’s come back to the bus. After few hours, passing by a myriad of pueblos, we reached La LÍnea de la cóncepcion.

Actually I don’t remember why the bus was stopping right there, but that was it. It was 3 am: not even in the most desolated city we were expecting such a silence. Just the wind was loudly blowing toward the sea. We spent a good time lying on the windy beach, then we entered Gibraltar. Of course, we didn’t know where to sleep, but the idea was that: the airport. We slowly strolled there. Francesco started talking with a guard, asking if it was safe sleeping there. The answer was…bad: it would be closed at night, and even worst, he didn’t recommend the beach as a good place where to rest. At that point, the only option seemed to be sleeping standing on our feet. Furthermore, I was the only one without a sleeping bag, and I was not really in a good mood to screw my bones again, now that they were recovering. Incredibly, the guard went off for a few minutes and he came back with a sleeping bag: he just gave it to me. Damn, in that moment it was like I had just been given 1000 euros!

Even in summer time, Gibraltar can be very nasty at night. We had it. A sleeping bag, a good one! We had our typical dinner with canned squids, mackerels and a stony slice of bread. To drink, a 30°C beer. The night was coming and we had to rest, the day next we had planned to go up on the Rock of Gibraltar. Patrick was too scared – understandable – to have another night outside, please, not two in a row. So we found the only youth hostel in that place, and we spent half an hour chatting with the owner, a Spanglish speaker. We left Patrick and our phones charging there. We were now in two, it was one o’clock then, and we still had to find a place where to sleep. Smoking a cigarette, we went up. And up. And up. Among masonic houses and obscure alleyways, we reached the entrance of a church: the question was now whether to sleep on a bench or find a more hidden place.

We moved forward. Few steps later, I craned my neck over a short wall: there was a paved futsal pitch. Apparently, it was the only choice. Better than nothing! We stepped into slightly forcing the lock. We carefully chose the most hidden corner and we finally took the backpacks off our shoulders. I unrolled my new sleeping bag, the mattress, and Francesco unwrapped his, to be used as a light blanket. I had a very last pinch of my Old Holborn tobacco and I rolled the last cigarette for the two of us. Finally, I stretched on the downy sleeping bag and I squeezed myself to make room for my friend. We were tired but awkwardly happy. I looked up. We were under Gibraltar’s starry skies.

This traveller has a blog : Forever travelling

credit photo : Stefano Scilipoti

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bike ride India
Bike ride in night from Leh to Sarchu

Bike ride in night from Leh to Sarchu

A moment lived in India by Sachendra Pal, a traveller from India

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing”

Many of us have enchanted the beauty of Ladakh and experienced the best of roads between the mighty hills. But there are some patches which really test your driving skills. Whenever you visit Ladakh everyone suggests you to start early and halt somewhere before the sunset because night driving is strictly a big NO! Now there are some of the exceptions and I am one of them. I am sharing the story of my 80 km night ride till Sarchu and it would remain the bravest of journey I ever did.
In order to do some extra photo shoot at Pangong Lake in the morning, I left later at around 09:30 in the morning while my group left early at 07:30. and we had to come to Karu, fill up our Petrol tanks and ride towards Sarchu. So, in total, we had to cover 380 km which was covering the ChangLa Pass, TanglangLa Pass, NakeeLa Pass with around 200 km of Off Road riding.

My group was around 30-40 km ahead of me. With no communication and any place to halt in between, i had to cover 80 km more to reach Sarchu. Now it seems to be the daunting task for me, right? And that too ALONE. A maddening task but remember the saying “When It Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going” After 8 PM there was no light. Through my Bull’s headlight, barely I could see more than 10 meters ahead of me. With shooting stone mountains on my right and long trench on my left, I was riding cautiously at 2nd Gear and my speed could rarely exceed 30 km/ph. With God’s grace, I was lucky to see a rare vehicle after 15-20 mins of driving. I was having strong feeling that what would I do if some strange activity happens or someone with knife come on my way? Add to the worst, each and every ghost story came in my mind. At one point, I felt that someone touched my right shoulder and whispered something into my ears. But i concentrated on driving and didn’t look anywhere else. With the temperature dipping very fast(around 5 degrees), my body was shivering and my hands were freezing. After every 20 min I stopped and held silencer with both hands to get some heat and keep blood flowing.
Little I knew that I was going to pass the NakeeLa Pass (2nd highest pass on Leh-Manali Route) and what followed it was the Gata Loops, 21 Hair Pin Bends. I remember that i was at the top of NakeeLa Pass and a board there stating “Gata Loop Starts”. I could see Tail-Lights of a car right down the hill. Then i asked myself “How much time would it take to pass this mighty hill and catch that car?”. But within few mins that car vanished too. I kept on looping around the hill and it took 20 mins to complete the beautiful hair pin bends. It seemed like I was driving on Formula 1 circuit. That was the famous Gata Loops.

When you complete the Gata Loops, after few km, there comes a bridge which lets you cross the river. Believe me, when I crossed it, the bridge produced a sound that it might collapse soon. Just imagine in the pin drop silence suddenly if you hear a sound what would happen? That sound terrified me a lot and add to the worst, after crossing the bridge I stranded at a junction with no idea what path to chose(There was no sign for Sarchu). Luckily I chose to go right and there I saw a board(sigh of relief).

After riding few km more, just before Sarchu, there was a water passing and i had to drive against that water passing as you can see in the pic.
Finally at around 10:30 PM I found my Adventure Camp and most importantly my group. They had also reached around 20 mins before me. When they heard the voice of my bike, one of my guy came out and waived hand and told me to directly come inside the restaurant. After entering in the restaurant, everyone clapped and applauded me and asked “How did you make it so far? We thought you might take halt somewhere in the middle.” I said, “To catch you all, I came so far!” With that note and temperature dipped to around 2 degrees, everyone Cheered!

This traveller has a blog : The crazy rider

credit photo : Sachendra Pal