In this latest top 10 series, I will be covering my top 10 favourite experiences during my 380 days of travel around the world.
Here is a list of Ten Top 10 I will be covering in this series:
- Horrible Experiences
- Favourite Experiences
- Life Lessons
- Hikes and Treks
Before leaving to travel around the world, I had absolutely no idea what sort of travel style I would enjoy. So I thought to myself…why not try a bunch of different stuff and see what makes me really happy.
I then tried numerous different things. From doing city walking tours, hikes, biking, kayaking, volunteering, sight seeing, and working abroad.
After trying a bunch of different stuff, I soon learned I didn’t like doing too many activities. I often got criticized because I didn’t do a lot of activities like biking, kayaking, food tasting, taking classes but truthfully, I did not enjoy them!
Instead, what I really enjoyed is a good adventure (usually from trekking or overland trips), collecting world wonders, visiting as many countries as possible, doing volunteer work and interacting with locals and living abroad. Below is specific 10 experiences I have fond memories of during my 380 days of travel around the world:
My top 10 favourite experiences during my 380 days of travel around the world
#10 – Overland travel through Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana
Travelling through Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana was a love and hate relationship for me. I hated getting jammed in a van that is suppose to fit 12 people but they put 20 in it instead (with all windows closed and no AC). Also, I ended up being stranded in the middle of the Guyanese jungle after our smuggling driver got caught by Guyanese officers.
While this experience was clearly dreadful, it’s also one of the ultimate adventure I have ever been in. Strangely enough, every time I look back at it, I never once regretted undergoing such a painful journey. And I now have so many interesting and funny stories to tell after going on this challenging overland journey.
Because of the interesting stories I gained from overlanding the Guianas, I put this experience at number 10 of my top favourite experiences during my 380 days of travel.
#9 – Taking the bus all over Colombia
People say Colombia is a very dangerous country and I should avoid travelling there. I mean, Pablo Escobar was from Colombia and his Medellin Cartel was one of the worst drug cartel history.
Contrary to conventional reports, Colombia is one of the safest country I ever visited. I travelled from one city to the next by taking the local transportation. Since I love going on adventures, I found it exciting to take the local bus from one city to the next!
I got to see many places that foreign tourist don’t normally frequent. And I also got a chance to debunk the myth that Colombia is a dangerous country to travelled to.
I literally took the bus from the Ecuadorian border all the way near the Venezuelan border. If you ever go to Colombia, I recommend going on a bus journey across the country, you won’t regret it.
Because of the adventure filled time I had in Colombia, I put this experience at number 9 of my top favourite experiences during my 380 days of travel.
#8 – Visiting European friends all over Europe
Before leaving to travel around the world, I spoke with an experienced around the world backpacker to get some advice. One of her tips to me was to go to Europe last because most travellers you will meet along the way are Europeans. As you make friends with fellow backpackers, some of them will invite you to come visit them in their home country.
I listened to that helpful advice and went to the European continent as my last stop during my one year around the world trip. My itinerary for Europe consisted of visiting every single European friend that invited me to come visit them in their home town. And it was one of the best decisions I ever made!
Normally when you travel around the world, you will never see the people you befriended on the road. I decided to put a stop at the temporary friendships and visited the Europeans I met along my journey.
I ended having a blast visiting all the friends I made and they showed me around their city and gave me the local experience. It was amazing and I’m hoping some of those friends will come to Canada and visit me so I can also show them around.
Because I was able to reunite with my European friends I met during my journey, I put this experience at number 8 of my top favourite experiences during my 380 days of travel.
#7 – Travelling to Mount Roraima and Angel Falls in Venezuela
Travelling to Mount Roraima and Angel Falls has been a dream of mine for the longest time. I don’t know why but there was something about going to Venezuela that really piqued my interest. Perhaps because the country is a dangerous travel destination and I’m attracted to extreme experiences. Or most likely because Mount Roraima is simply beautiful and that Angel Falls is the world’s highest waterfalls.
Either way, I loved the adventure when I finally found a way to travel in Venezuela safely.
I was in awe when I saw Angel Falls right in front of me. And trekking up Mount Roraima is literally a dream come true.
Because of the adrenaline filled trip through Venezuela, I put this experience at number 7 of my top favourite experiences during my 380 days of travel.
#6 – Doing Workaway volunteer work at a hostel in Guatape, Colombia
While I was travelling, a blog reader asked me if I have ever looked into doing Workaway during my trip. I didn’t know what workaway was so I looked it up. Turns out Workaway is a website where you can secure volunteer work abroad and in return, your host will provide you a free place to stay and typically, at least one meal a day.
Immediately, I signed up to join the Workaway website and ended up securing a volunteer gig right away. My first assignment was in a hostel in Guatape, Colombia.
The experience was simply amazing. I vividly remembering the most perfect morning a person can ever have. You basically eat a delicious breakfast on the top floor of the hostel while overlooking the most serene looking lake. I often spent time blogging on the top floor of the hostel while admiring the view of the magnificent lake.
During work days, I got a chance to interact with the locals who was working in the hostel. They taught me how to speak Spanish and I learned more about their life and culture. I also befriended some of my fellow volunteers and explored the town with them.
Because of the wonderful time I had volunteering in Guatape, I put this experience at number 6 of my top favourite experiences during my 380 days of travel.
#5 – Doing Workaway volunteer work teaching English in Poznan and Gdansk in Poland
After getting my first taste of doing Workaway volunteer work, I signed up for my next few gigs at Poznan and Gdansk in Poland.
Poznan was a fun experience as I did volunteer work teaching English to adults. We stayed in a hotel where we spent time coaching individual adults to improve their English speaking skills.
After the volunteer period was finished, some of the students showed us around their city and we hanged out at some of their favourite spots.
My next Workaway gig was teaching English in Gdansk, Poland. This time, we taught English to Polish teens. However, this experience caught me off guard because it reminded me so much about life when I was in high school. The struggles and things that these teenagers did was exactly what I went through when I was in my teen years.
I remember strongly how it felt to be a teenager. As a teen, you are often lost and hoping to get some guidance on which direction you should go towards in your life. The teenage years is a vulnerable time because you are receptive to many advice and if someone gives you the wrong information, it could set you back many years.
I personally felt a strong responsibility when I was working with these teens. Many of them were asking me if they should stay in Poland or study abroad after they finish high school. And of course, my answer to all of them was that they should study abroad.
Because of my fond memories doing Workaway volunteer work in Poland, I put this experience at number 5 of my top favourite experiences during my 380 days of travel.
#4 – Living in Chiang Mai Thailand for nearly a month
During my one year around the world trip, checking out the digital nomad scene in Thailand was a must for me. Apparently, many motivated individuals move to this country to work on building online income. Why Thailand? Because in Thailand, people can keep their living expenses extremely low without sacrificing quality of life.
So, when it was finally time to travel to Thailand, I decided to test drive the digital nomad lifestyle in Chiang Mai, Thailand. There, I rented an apartment and spent nearly a month working on my blog just like other digital nomads.
I did my best to emulate how the digital nomads lived here. When I was hungry, I ate street food. When it was time to work, I went to the local co-working spaces. If I needed to exercise, I went to the local gyms. And of course, I went to the movies and took uber rides to places I wanted to go to.
I loved my life living in Chiang Mai, Thailand so much that I actually felt sad leaving this city.
Because I loved my life so much when I was living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I put this experience at number 4 of my top favourite experiences during my 380 days of travel.
#3 – Collecting all new 7 Wonders of Nature
One of my goals during my one year around the world trip was to collect all 7 Wonders of Nature. I am a big fan of seeing natural wonders and wanted to collect them as a personal goal.
The thrill of bouncing from one country to the next as I tried to visit each individual wonders of nature was unforgettable. Some of the wonders surprised me while some disappointed me.
Overall, this experience was one of the major highlights of my one year around the world trip.
Because of the thrill of collecting all the 7 Wonders of Nature, I put this experience at number 3 of my top favourite experiences during my 380 days of travel.
#2 – Collecting all new 7 Wonders of the World
My experience collecting the 7 New Wonders of the World goes hand in hand with my experience collecting the 7 Wonders of Nature. I remember in great detail my last few moments in Asia. After seeing the Taj Mahal in India and Halong Bay in Vietnam, I flew all over Asia to see Jeju Island in South Korea then the Great Wall of China, and finally the Komodo Dragon Island in Indonesia.
Going on this crazy country hopping trip with a tight deadline to fly to South America to meetup with my girlfriend and sisters was the ultimate adrenaline rush for me.
This was a moment in time when I felt like I was the ultimate adventurer!
Because of this adrenaline filled adventure collecting all the 7 New Wonders of the World, I put this experience at number 2 of my top favourite experiences during my 380 days of travel.
#1 – Road trip across South Africa
The most unexpected and mind blowing experience during my one year trip around the world was going on a road trip across South Africa.
South Africa is deemed to be a dangerous country to visit yet so many tourist still come here to visit. I wonder why?
Frankly, it’s because South Africa is so beautiful!
When you drive across the country, the landscape changes dramatically. One moment, you feel like you’re in Hawaii, and then the next moment, it gets really cold that you need to bundle up and wear a jacket.
There’s everything from beach destinations, big city metropolis, mountainous terrain, and arid deserts. Oh, and don’t forget some of the best self driven safari you can ever do!
South Africa is also full of friendly people who are more than happy to talk to you about the history of their country and its culture.
Karen and myself had such an amazing time travelling through this country that despite the fact that I hate returning to countries I been to before, South Africa is a country that I would like to return to one day and do another road trip.
My original itinerary took me from Johannesburg to Cape Town. If I do another road trip here, I would travel from Cape Town going to Johannesburg – basically the opposite direction.
Because of the mind blowing road trip experience in South Africa, I put this experience at number 1 of my top favourite experiences during my 380 days of travel.
Everyone has a different travel style. And if someone criticizes you because you’re not doing things they like, then that’s their problem, not yours.
My preferred travel style revolves around the following things:
- Collecting countries
- Seeing amazing world wonders
- Making travel videos
- Taking pictures of landscapes
- Learning more about local culture
- Doing volunteer work
- Living the digital nomad lifestyle
- Going to exotic destinations that is not frequently visited by tourist
I’m not the kind of person that likes to do tons of activities per day. When someone invites me to go kayaking with them, then go explore the local markets, then go for drinks. I just want to puke. That’s not my travel style at all.
However, if you like doing that sort of stuff, then you should. You should always travel the way you like to travel because you’ll create more lasting memories that way.