Since travelling around the world, I got a chance to experience a variety of travel experience. Some travel experience is good while some are bad. Amongst the midst, there stand five types of travel experience that created a positive emotional response in me. I don’t get emotional easily but these five travel experience definitely did it.
VIDEO – 5 Types of Travel Experience That Will Melt Your Heart
1 – Volunteer Work Abroad
During my one year trip around the world, I did a few volunteer work gigs. I was in Colombia at the time and noticed that my funds may not last me the entire year. My friend Gloria sent me an email suggesting to do volunteer work through Workaway and I signed up right away!
My first gig was doing volunteer work in a hostel in Guatape, Colombia. I quickly became friends with the owner and a few volunteers. It was such a touching experience when the kitchen staffs treated me warmly and tried teaching me some Spanish. The owner of the hostel is still my friend to this day and I’d love to return again to visit him.
I also did volunteer work in Poland teaching English to adults and teens. It was a heartwarming experience listening to the teen’s stories and to the adults that showed me around their hometown. Doing volunteer abroad is not perfect. I did have one experience that wasn’t pleasant. But for the most part, it was a pleasant surprise and I ended up befriending many locals, and fellow volunteers.
2 – Encounters with Kind Strangers
Many times during my travels, I ran into kind strangers that helped me out. From the time a couple helped me find a bus station in Colombia to my roommate in the sleeper train buying me a metro ticket in Prague. There is definitely more good people than bad in the world.
One encounter that really touched me was when I took a train between Belgrade in Serbia to Podgorica in Montenegro. I befriended the guy that was sitting in the same train car as me and we instantly became friends. We chatted for up to 8 hours until he got off on his stop.
He was struggling financially and had to visit his parents to save a bit of money until he can get a job. But, when he noticed I had no food, he gave me his last sandwich. This man didn’t have much but he was still happy to share what he had. To this day, I will never forget that act of kindness.
3 – Couchsurfing
While I haven’t done much Couchsurfing, I’ve done enough to know it’s a pleasant experience. The first time I did was in Calgary, Alberta where a couple hosted me and even helped me run a travel hacking talk in a local bar.
Since then, I felt that Couchsurfing was safe enough for me to try again.
During my time in the Netherlands, I couchsurfed at this Dutch couples home. They made me feel at home and fed me tons of delicious food. They are backpackers themselves and knew the financial constraints of doing long-term travel. So, they were more than happy to keep feeding me knowing that when you’re on a backpacker budget, you often don’t eat much. I’ll always be thankful to these friendly couples who gave me a home for a few days.
4 – Overland travel in Africa
The first time I travelled overland in Africa was in South Africa. I ended up driving on some really bad roads in an area called Coffee Bay. While my trip here had some serious problems later on, the first part was as heartwarming as it gets. Many friendly African kids would wave at Karen and me with a big happy smile as we drove past them. Karen commented to me that these kids don’t have much but they look happier than most people who are fortunate enough to live in Canada.
When I travelled to Rwanda back in 2019, I can’t describe the joy I felt when little African kids ran out of their house and waved happily at me, Karen and my sister. The friendliness of African locals is something that always stays with me.
5 – Meeting travel friends again in their home country
Many times when you travel and make friends, you never see those friends again. They become your friend for that moment or that city or that hostel. Not for me, I actually took the time to visit several of those friends I made. And, I’m glad I did as it’s one of my favourite things to do when travelling.
One of my favourite moments was visiting my Russian friends in Saint Petersburg. We’ve been through a lot together when we trek Mount Roraima in Venezuela and did that horrific overland travel through the jungles of Guyana where I ended up with a smuggler. It was a heartwarming reunion with my comrades at that moment.
I’d love to go back and visit my friends again. I think anyone who travels shouldn’t feel shy to reach out to friends they’ve made when travelling and actually visit them.
The most important thing you learn when you travel is that the people you meet are what creates that lasting memory. You can travel to a country that might be perceived as boring. But, if you travel or meet the right people, then that experience will be a fantastic one.