My 5 Worst Travel Experiences!

Despite what instagram and Facebook might tell you, travelling is not always glamorous, exciting, or inspiring. Sometimes you get violently sick, or get precious stuff stolen, or you simply get disappointed when your high expectations are not met. So, in the spirit of sharing some “real” travel stories, I’ve (reluctantly) picked my Top 5 Worst Travel Experiences for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

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Ethical Travel Tips

Over the years, I’ve changed my daily habits and become mindful of my lifestyle choices to better suit my belief in eco-friendly, ethical living – and this includes the choices I make when travelling. You’d be surprised at how small, mindful changes can make a huge difference to the environment and to communities you come into contact with during your travels. These are some of the ones I’ve discovered – feel free to tell me about your own tips and tricks!

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An Endless Pursuit for First Times

I arrived in Germany a year ago, in the middle of winter. Having come from summer in South Africa, I was wholly unprepared for the mind numbing freezing-ness of January. As the plane descended, I caught a glimpse of an expansive white and brown landscape – beautiful, and utterly foreign. I got off the plane and literally gasped at the sheer impact of the cold as I walked briskly to the transit bus. My boyfriend (now husband!) was waiting for me at arrivals, and we shared an excited embrace after being apart for almost 4 months. Our trying long distance relationship was almost instantly a distant memory as I went outside to see snow up close for the very first time.

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The Black Forest in autumn

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This year, for my birthday, Marco took me to the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) in Germany for a long weekend. We rented a little Fiat 500 with a sunroof, and set off on Friday the 3rd October for our forest escape. We were incredibly lucky to have good weather (crisp, cool, clear, and sunny) the whole weekend, which allowed us lots of outdoor exploring opportunities. Unfortunately I’d hurt my back a few days beforehand, so I was unable to do any strenuous hiking, but we did lots of walking, and saw plenty of things for one weekend! I’d go back in a heartbeat.

I fell swiftly and deeply in love with the Schwarzwald region, with its kilometres of thick pine and spruce forest, winding and sometimes terrifying mountain passes, small towns nestled in the hills,  squat and imposing farm houses, lazy mountain cows, and rich folklore. I had read a few Brother’s Grimm tales before leaving, and I was secretly delighted by the traditional wooden homes on the edge of the forest – I imagined Hansel and Gretel huddled before a wood-burner in autumn, fearful of the dangers in the woods that loomed behind their small house.

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Fernweh

Two weeks ago, I got my second tattoo. It reads, “Fernweh”, which is a German word that translates literally as “far-sickness”. It’s hard to explain in English, but it’s similar to wanderlust – an intense longing and an ache for far-off places, and the feeling of belonging to a place you’ve never been. It’s also very similar to the Swedish resfeber – the irritability and longing that one feels when life feels stagnant without travel and fresh, novel experiences.

It’s kind of somewhere between the enjoyment of wanderlust and the pain of withdrawal from travel – a drive and NEED to wander and see new things.

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