Whenever I start talking to people about my travels, one question usually ends up being asked, “which one was your favourite trip” or “which places were your favourite”. This question is so difficult to answer because each place I have been has given me memories and an opportunity to grow as a person.
It’s impossible for me to choose just one place or trip, but here are a few so far.
I travelled to Mbarara, Uganda with a fellow teacher-in-training to volunteer at an international school for two months while I was in teacher’s college. The school was started by a woman who fled the country during Idi Amin’s rule and eventually ended up in my home town and working as a high school teacher.
When she retired, she felt called to move back to Uganda and help raise the next generation to be strong and independent to help them avoid having to sell themselves for money especially with the AIDS crisis.
We arrived in Entebbe around 3am and met our driver. He woke the man sleeping in the currency booth so we could get some money to buy essentials until we could get to the bank. It was an odd experience to see a worker sleeping ont he job and then to wake them up at such an early hour of the day.
The drive took a few hours and as the sun started to rise I began to see various animals. I realized zebras were as common there as deer are where I live or kangaroos are in Australia.
Enid was so sweet and had a meal waiting for us. It was my first meal in Uganda and it was entirely Ugandan. I was apprehensive at first but quickly grew to really like the food there. Matoke and groundnut sauce are two things I crave and want to go back just to eat those.
While I was there I was able to go to the Queen Elizabeth National Park twice and see many African animals in their natural habitats. The first time was with the entire school all squished into 1 tour bus. Let me tell you, this would not have been allowed in Canada, but it was fun.
The second time was with a group of students from Dalhousie University who were studying non-profits that we had met. We stayed overnight in cabins on site. The bathrooms were not in the cabins and so we had to go with a buddy and make noise on the way if we had to go out at night to scare away any animals.
It was pretty nerve-wracking and I swear we heard a hippopotamus outside our cabin at one point. It was something large that’s for sure.
Overall I enjoyed playing with the kids and conversing with the teachers. I met some great people in the town and drank a lot of Chai lattes. I even had my hair braided by 2 women there. It took 6 hours and some of the students had to bring me food because I wasn’t allowed to get up except to use the washroom in order for them to finish in one day.
I could live in Uganda, even with the power outages that occurred daily.
On the same trip to Uganda, I planned a stopover in Egypt. It had been a childhood dream of mine to go to Egypt because I was so enthralled with the ancient culture. I refused to sit in the airport for the 12 hours when I knew there was so much to experience in Cairo.
We had a 12-hour layover on the way to Uganda and so I booked a private tour on the spot at the airport for me and my travel partner and we were whisked from the airport off to see the pyramids. Our driver was awesome and he and I chatted about the different number system they use there and he helped me figure out how to read the numbers on the licence plates.
We were taken to a stable and given the choice of riding a horse or camel into the pyramid complex. I very quickly chose camel since I had never experienced riding one. It was a really weird feeling to be up so high and just relaxing as the animal took me where I wanted to go. They were quite impressed that I felt comfortable enough to ‘ride like a local’.
When we entered the pyramid complex I was shocked to see we had the entire place to ourselves. It was an incredible moment I will never forget. I got to see everything in all it’s grandeur without a bunch of other people around. It was a dream come true.
After spending 7 weeks in Uganda we arrived back in Cairo to take a cruise on the Nile. Our cruise only had about 20 people on it because it was the middle of summer – a time so most tourists avoid due to the heat. It was over 55 degrees Celsius in the sun and 45 degrees Celcius in the shade. I had a pocket-sized thermometer with me just because I was curious how hot it would be and it only went to 55 degrees so I am not sure how hot it actually was.
It had been a childhood dream to go to Egypt and see all the history and I was not disappointed! I saw so many things I had dreamed of seeing and I even helped with preservation efforts at Kom Ombo temple. It is amazing to know that some of the painting done thousands of years ago will be preserved for years to come because of me.
I moved to Australia during a summer in university to work as an Au Pair for 4 months. I ended up in a town outside of Melbourne and met some really wonderful people who helped me settle into life in Australia.
I had so much fun and experienced so many things here. I even got to go spend a day with various Australian animals including platypus which is one of my favourite animals. I think it’s just because they are such unique animals.
I spent the last week of my time in Australia up in Cairns at a hostel where I went snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef and swam with a shark without a cage and also spent a day with an Aboriginal family and made a didgeridoo. Bringing that home was quite an experience at customs!
In 2016, my mom and I travelled to England for a family ancestry trip. My goal was to visit the archives around the country and learn what I could about my family who had lived there. We also included a lot of historical sites to break up our archive time and we also spent a day touring The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Brother’s Studios in London.
I learned a lot about my family and the communities they lived in, especially about my third great-grandma. She was abandoned, along with her two brothers, by her mother shortly after her father’s death and eventually ended up being sent to Canada as a British Home Child.
I was able to see the area she lived in and learned a lot about the way it would have been during the time she lived there. I was also able to visit my fourth great grandfather’s grave. It was a great trip!
European Backpacking Trip With My Dad
In 2017, I surprised my dad with a two week trip to Europe for his 60th birthday. We decided to go in August and so I was able to go to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo – a must-see if you enjoy music and culture – We went to eight countries in total thanks in large part to our Global Passes from EURail and ate a lot of gelato and crepes.
It was such a fun trip to bond with my dad. I wish we could do it every year! One of the countries we visited was Germany and I loved it so much I went back in November to visit a friend and see the Christmas Markets.
While each of the 24 countries I have visited, and trips I have been on, has special memories I will remember forever, these five are my top choices when someone asks what my favourites have been.
Now I put the question to you, which trips have been your favourite or most memorable and why?
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