13 Highlights of 2013

Spiritual sunrise over the holy Ganges river in Varanasi, India

2013 was an amazing year of travel for me. I saw in the New Year in Los Angeles and just days after headed to Istanbul and India – a trip that opened my eyes forever.

I explored Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia and became an Aussie bar maid working in a pub at the heart of a rural Queensland community.

I drove down Australia’s east coast from Cairns to Sydney, ended up spending Christmas working on a farm in Victoria and bought in 2014 watching fireworks in Melbourne so it’s been difficult to pick just 13 highlights of 2013!

Highlights of 2013

Incredible dancing, music and laughter at an Indian wedding anniversary party.

1. Meeting the locals, the colour, music, joy, laughter and love I felt part of at a wedding anniversary party in Khajuraho, India. See A Beautiful Celebration.

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The largest religious building in the world. The ancient Angkor Wat, Cambodia

2. Imagining past empires while exploring the huge, grand temples and ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, Cambodia. See Amazing Angkor

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Being taken in, sheltered and fed by the amazing kindness of strangers near Mai Chau, Vietnam

3. Getting lost on a motorbike in the emerald rice paddies of rural Vietnam and being taken in by a local family who slaughtered a chicken in front us and fed us caterpillars and let us sleep in their wooden hut near Mai Chau, Vietnam. See The Kindness of Strangers

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The Iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, Australia

4. Basking in the sunshine, sipping sparkling wine and soaking up the iconic views of the glorious Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge after driving over 1,600 miles from Cairns to Sydney, Australia. See Sydney on a Shoestring

 

Spending time with these amazing gentle giants in India

5. Meeting the Indian wildlife where cows and dogs wander along the roads and across the beach while monkeys play and I rode magnificent elephants and watched them being washed. See Incredible Elephants

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The elaborate White Temple near Chiang Rai, Thailand is like something out of a fairy tale.

6. Marvelling at the exquisite details on Wat Rong Khun – the elaborate White Temple and trying to work out and understand the meanings behind the contemporary temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand. See Heaven and Hell. The White Temple and The Black House

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India’s Taj Mahal – the most beautiful building in the world?

7. Taking in the splendour and beauty of the ethereal Taj Mahal at dawn that exceeded all my expectations despite being the hype of the most beautiful building in the world. See Can the Taj Mahal live up to the hype?

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The underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

8. Experiencing the surreal underwater world and the variety of dazzling corals and fish on the Great Barrier Reef and seeing the huge gentle giant humpback whales frolicking in the seas off Queensland, Australia. See A Whole New World and Whale Watching in Hervey Bay

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Drinking cheap Bia Hoi in Vietnam

9. Drinking 14p Bai Hoi on a plastic stool taking in the buzzing street life of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and learning to love the chaos of Asia. Hanoi, Vietnam. See Streets Alive in Hanoi

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The beautiful, rustic island of Koh Rong in Cambodia

10. Swimming late at night and seeing the phosphorescent plankton sparkling and lighting up the sea when you move is a crazy and surreal experience on the recently discovered, rustic, backpacker paradise island of Koh Rong, Cambodia. See Paradise Found or Paradise Lost?

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A ride along the beach followed by swimming with horses in Australia

11. Fulfilling a life long dream to ride horses along the beach and then swim with them in the sea on Magnetic Island, Australia. See Animal Encounters on Magnetic Island.

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Sunset over beautiful Udaipur lake

12. Taking a boat ride on the beautiful Lake Pichola, floating past romantic palaces as the sun glitters on the lake surrounded by the ochre hued Aravalli hills in Udaipur, India. See Shimmering Lakes and Romantic Palaces

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13. And especially the feeling of excitement that the world is at your feet and you’ve made all your wildest dreams about to come true!

 

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