10 Modes of Transportation I Took On My Trip Around The World

10 Modes of Transportation I Took On My Trip Around The World

#1 A Camel in India

While exploring the Rajasthan region of India, I was most excited when I found out I would be taking a camel ride through the desert. I have wanted to ride a camel in a foreign land my entire life. My camel, whom I named Hump Phrey did not disappoint. I sat on him while he was lying down, and when he stood up it was a terrifying ride to the top. Camels are a lot taller than I imagined while he was on the ground.We trekked through the desert as the sun was beginning to set and he was very interested in kissing the camel next to me.  Our journey ended on a hill where we watched the beautiful desert sunset and then Hump Phrey’s human family invited my group and I in for a delicious Indian dinner.

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Hump Phrey the Camel

#2 A Snowmobile Sled in Norway

In Norway, I had the opportunity to stay in the snow hotel and take a king crab fishing excursion. In order to get to the frozen fjord where the fishing would take place, the group and I suited up and boarded the snow mobile sled. It was a trailer with four bench seats that each sat four people. The snow mobile, with the help of the man driving it, pulled us out into the center of the fjord, and surprisingly it never occurred to me that if the ice were to get one tiny crack in it, we were all doomed. However I don’t think that in -40 degree weather,  in a land in which the sun had not actually risen in 14 days, we were in any danger of this happening.

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On the Frozen Fjord

#3 The Tuk Tuk in India

Every ride I took in Tuk Tuk was a different adventure. We had to stop for cows, though that was the only thing anyone stopped for. Once our Tuk Tuk got stuck stuck in a giant traffic jam in Udaipur. People on the streets, along with dogs and goats, were climbing over the Tuk Tuks just to get through. The Tuk Tuk in front of us had somehow locked up with the one next to it, coming in the opposite direction.The side pieces were connected and there was no good way to rectify the situation. The tiny, narrow, curvy streets only made things worse. I did notice, that no one seemed to get angry. People were laughing, and carrying on as if they had nowhere to be. If this were in New York, someone would have killed another person by the time the traffic was flowing again.

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Tuk Tuk Traffic Jam

#4 The Ten Person Snorkel Boat in Pape’tee, Tahiti

When I showed up for my afternoon snorkel excursion in Tahiti, I was a bit shocked at the, um, conditions of the boat. A tiny aluminum boat, with exactly enough room for ten plus snorkel gear was waiting for me. However, when on an adventure, one must go where the adventure leads. I hoped as I boarded this boat, this particular adventure would not lead to my death. Fortunately it did not. The ten of reached our destination, in some of the bluest water I had ever seen, and the snorkel was on. I saw lovely multi-colored fish and a beautiful coral garden. The boat did exactly what it was supposed to do. It did not sink and it got us safely from point A to point B, so I’d say this mode of transportation was also a success.

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The Dive/ Snorkel Boat

#5 The Cycle Rickshaw in India

If the Tuk Tuk was an adventure, the cycle rickshaw was a feat indeed. Each one seats two on a bench, and the more luxurious ones have a small bench with a “security bar” in the back, facing the oncoming traffic. I rode in cycle rickshaws facing both directions and I am not sure which one was more entertaining/ terrifying. One of the pros is that it is much easier to come to a screeching halt when a cow stops in the middle of the road. One of the cons is that everyone in traffic, including the cows, is moving at much faster pace than you, especially if you have squeezed four people into the ride. Poor rickshaw drivers. They work all the time and some of them even sleep in their tiny rickshaws so they never miss out on a money making opportunity.

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Cycle Rickshaws

#6 The Radiance of The Seas, Cruise Ship

I had never been on a cruise before. I had no idea what to expect, and I was not disappointed. I had never even been to a resort, so when people compared being on a cruise to being on a floating resort, I had no reference point. This ship had 13 decks, 10 restaurants/ eating areas, 8 bars, shopping for days, a spa, a salon, two pools, a rock climbing wall, a casino, and so many other nooks and crannies. I was overwhelmed at the places to go and the mile long activity list. However, between themed dance parties, bingo and basketball, I managed to make incredible friends. I also managed to make friends with one of the bartenders, which is always good advice, and eat some of the most delicious food. I’m not sure I can afford the Cruise lifestyle very often, but those 18 nights at sea from Sydney to Honolulu, stopping in New Zealand and French Polynesia were certainly incredible.

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The Radiance of the Seas

#7 The Overnight First Class Sleeper Train from Jodhpur to Jaipur in India

If we were in first class, then I would be very interested to see what the lowest class car looked like on this train. That being said, I do love a good jaunt in an new vehicle. There were actually “beds” in the form of bunk beds, but each one had three numbers on it. If you didn’t have the foresight to purchase all three tickets, then you were likely to be cuddling with whomever also had a ticket for your bed. Our group had an entire cubby to ourselves, and two of them had the privilege of getting an entire bed to themselves. I was so amazed at the goings on of the trains in India. People would run across the tracks, climb on the train and board through an open window. People in the stations would stand near the train windows and sell you a variety of items while the train was in the station. Other people would get on with a cardboard box of various food and sell it while walking up and down the corridor of the train. The trains passed through remote villages and vibrant towns. They were over crowded. It is almost impossible to use the bathroom on a moving train while squating over a hole in the ground and looking at the tracks passing beneath you. However, without the details, adventures would be so boring.

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The Train Platform

#8 A Wooden Paddle Boat in Vietnam

I had always wanted to visit the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to ride in one of these hand-crafted wooded paddle boats. We floated peacefully down the tiny channel, our boat being controlled by a woman, in one of those iconic Vietnamese hats, rowing us down the river with her oars. I saw people leaving their housing structures, climb down bamboo poles and get into their own boats, heading to work or the market, or I can imagine, any number of places. What an interesting way of life it must be to go to the market every day in your paddle boat?

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Wooden Paddle Boat

 

#9 An Elephant in India

Another mode of transportation I was excited to cross off my bucket list was riding an Elephant. This is another animal I have always wanted to ride in a foreign county. However, I wanted to make sure, as with the camels, that I was riding an elephant who has a good life and is treated like a member of the family that owns it. My tour guide took me to a place that he assured me was humane and the elephants get treated very well. My tour mate and I sat on the elephant in a little cushioned basket. Ernie, the elephant, took us up the hill to the top of Agra Fort. The views were spectacular and the rhythm of the elephant was different from anything, even the camel.

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Riding Along

#10 The Evolution, Cairns’ Number 1 Dive Boat (Australia)

Down Under Cruise and Dive, in Cairns, Australia has one of the best dive boats on the water. I was so impressed with the crew and my initial baby dive, that I signed up to get my Open Water License while on board this amazing boat. It has three levels, bean bags for lounging, air conditioned rooms, a kitchen, underwater cameras you can rent for the day, and state of the art dive and snorkel equipment. I spent three full days on this boat and while actually being a non swimmer trying to get her dive license was extremely challenging, I enjoyed every second of this adventure.

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The Great Barrier Reef

 

 

 

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A Cafe Conversation

This afternoon, in a cafe in Delhi, I had the privilege of enjoying a wonderful conversation with a 62 year old Irish writer. He sat down at my table without any invitation, as if I had been waiting there for him to meet me. We began a conversation as if we had known one another for years; almost as if we were picking up where we had left off previously. As I sipped my coffee, we talked of our travels, of his writing, his homosexuality and the world’s view of such; Ireland and the amazing adventures the world has to offer. We spoke of Greenwich Village in its heyday, as if we had been there together. We mourned the loss of David Bowie and Alan Rickman and I told him of the celebrities I had served drinks to in NYC. Within less than an hour, he knew about the death of my parents, as well as their entire medical history. He knew of every place I had visited, not only on this adventure, but on all of them. As he told me of the many lovers he had taken around the world, his eyes lit up as his mind danced with their memories and his heart fluttered at the thought of each and every one. I have mentioned travel horcruxes before, and by the joy behind this Irish man’s eyes, he knows about them; all too well. However, after he spent a few moments lost in memory, he informed me that he could never fancy actually being in a monogamous relationship because he genuinely enjoys being alone. “We only get one life that we know of,” he said, “so we might as well enjoy it.” We discussed politics, religion, and science and all of the notions that modern society has forced us to shy away from in conversations; especially with strangers. Yet, he wasn’t really a stranger to me, at least that’s how it seemed. We discussed the Kardashians and how shameful it is when we are here in India, surrounded by so many hard working people who are living in complete poverty, just simply working themselves to the bone in order for survival of the most modest and humble form.
He was intrigued when I told him of the love my parents had for one another, saying that he couldn’t actually grasp loving one person so intently everyday; forever. I told him that he had clearly never met my parents.
Then we spoke of all the places and people and moments with which we had left a tiny sliver of our hearts. I told him that I call them horcruxes and he liked that very much. Between his many years of travel and many countries and my comparatively few, the two of us have many people, places and moments in time that are protecting tiny slivers of our hearts.
We spoke of how easy it once was to travel to so many beautiful places that are now so heavily restricted. He told me that if Bosnia wasn’t on my bucket list already, then it should be added immediately, as he considers it one of the most beautiful places he has seen. He asked me how many horcruxes I had created on this journey and to be honest, there were more than I had taken the time to tally up. In Norway, as I stood under the dancing spirits of the Northern Lights; in Sweden in an apartment in Linköping with two friends I barely knew until I got there and we became family; in Belgium as I was feeding goats, watching amazing sun sets and becoming sisters with a girl while we bonded over TV, cigarettes, and beer while discussing matters of the heart; and now in India. India, I told him, has been very special. I won’t leave just one sliver of my heart with my time in India. There are four wonderful people (now family) from Scotland and an amazing tour guide (also now family) from Mumbai who all are now each protecting a tiny sliver of my heart. Within moments, a piece of my heart just leapt to each of them without my consent, because those slivers knew they would be well taken care of. I have also left slivers on a camel ride through the desert, at a revolving restaurant 25 floors up in Delhi, in Dharavi, on a late night motor bike ride through Mumbai, while dancing at the wedding party of absolute strangers in Udaipur after accidentally stumbling upon their party and in a very tearful Moment at the Taj Mahal, which is the main reason I chose India. It was the only place out of the United States that my mom had wanted to see her entire life.
Eventually, as it came time for my new friend to bid me farewell, he finally told me his name; Charlie. Charlie, the Irish writer from Donegal who leads a very nomadic, adventurous life while writing most of his pieces in Gaelic. We didn’t names in order to have a most interesting conversation. We were friends the moment he picked my table to sit down at. Knowing one another’s names was simply a formality as we departed. We didn’t need the small talk of asking basic questions because we immediately delved into the heart of all matters. Life, death, love and adventure.