Just a little snippet in a travel magazine I read this week set me off on a path of recollection. I'm not suggesting that everyone's best memories involve travel by any means, but being somewhere out of the ordinary or out of your usual environment even, often contributes to an event or moment that stays with us forever.
I read that Rosewood Little Dix Bay (below) on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands reopened this week, after a 4-year closure. Almost set to reopen in the Fall of 2017 after a long refurbishment, the property was extremely badly damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Only now is the resort back to its best.
26 years ago the property was just named Little Dix Bay, and the news this week caught my attention, because this is where I proposed to Helen. We weren't even staying at the resort, having chosen a villa rental high on a hill somewhere (oh yes, spectacular thunderstorms, another memory), and we'd just randomly decided to visit the resort for lunch on the beach. Well something funny came over me, and clearly the location was so gorgeous that the unplanned proposal followed and the rest is history.
I've already led with one of my top travel memories, but here's another 5...
Top 5 - Where Will You Make Your Memories?
"Wherever you go, go with all your heart." – Confucius
1. Cap Juluca, Anguilla
So following on from the proposal and the theme of hurricanes, our honeymoon some 18 months later involved us enduring a Category 3 storm on the rather flat island of Anguilla just 3 days after arriving, totally oblivious to the oncoming threat. The photo (above) was taken just before the resort informed us that they had run out of plywood to board up the windows, and that we would be moving in to share the villa next door with a 4-person swimsuit shoot crew.
If you haven't heard the story ask me next time I see you, it's a good one. I guess you could call this a travel disaster which we sincerely hope not to inflict on any future clients, but now it's a cherished memory for us.
2. Patara Elephant Farm, Chiang Mai, Thailand
My first close up encounter with elephants (above and below), combined with the first major international trip we made with our children, back in 2009, is seared into my brain. This was the first time in travel that I felt an earnest connection, both to the beautiful creatures we took care of that day, and to my family, as a tighter bond was formed. It's over 10 years ago now, but we all still talk about this day in particular and the trip in general, very frequently.
3. The Streets of Hanoi, Vietnam (above)
The craziest streets you will ever encounter are in and around the Old Quarter of Hanoi. A million+ motorbikes, and almost no cars, leads to total chaos, especially as the traffic lights are basically ignored. The bikes park on the sidewalks, which then means pedestrians need to walk in the roads and this is not the safest scenario by any means. Personally this is a memory of excitement, noise, smells and enjoying the best street food anywhere while sitting on tiny little plastic stools.
4. Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia (above)
Another wonderful family bonding experience, made extra special by the guide we discovered that day. He made us laugh, he taught us the sad history of Cambodia, he guided us expertly avoiding the crowds, and he knew every possible public toilet, enabling me to partake despite a stomach upset!
Chet has become a good friend since and has taken great care of the many clients that we have sent to Siem Reap over the last 3 years.
5. The Kill, Sanctuary Stanley's Camp, Botswana (above)
Although we only experienced this in November, I make no excuses for writing about it again so soon. Whether it was luck or fate or a bit of both, the sight of a pride of 9 lions finishing off two buffalo in very short order was overwhelming to our senses. I distinctly remember looking at Helen in the middle of it all, and seeing in her eyes the same emotions I was enduring ... sadness, wonder, awe and a healthy dose of fear.
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