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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


The Great Barrier Reef





Tonight I created a horcrux in the Arctic Circle

I knew it would happen a few times on this journey, I just wasn’t prepared for how it would feel this time. I know that If you know what a horcrux is then you probably associate it with all things negative. When I read the word “horcrux” in those books that have forever left their mark in literature, I thought it was a beautiful power that had simply landed in the wrong hands. The idea of splitting off a fragment of your soul and tucking it away in time and space, a moment or even a person, so that that tiny fragment might live forever is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read and one of the most beautiful thoughts I have ever encountered.  I have the spirit of a traveler and the heart of a hopeless romantic, so I have actually been creating horcruxes since before I knew there was a word for them. Mine have generally been created in places or moments, but there are also a very few people that I have left a piece of my soul with; none of whom I have ever actually dated.
I met a woman in Prague who told me that she had left her heart at the gate to the Fjords of Norway and she had been trying to get back ever since, not to reclaim her heart, but to simply be reconnected with it for a bit. This is how I feel every time I leave a piece of my soul within a moment or a place or a beating heart. I know these moments in time and these corners of the earth and the few beating hearts I have entrusted with this honor will forever hold their sliver safe and protected.
The first horcrux I remember creating was in Dundee, Scotland. Actually I created two there; one inside a place that my moment in time will live forever in and the other in a beating heart who I can only hope thinks of me fondly as often as I do him. My horcrux list has grown significantly over the years. There are three men who will forever protect a miniscule, but not unimportant piece of my soul. One of them might read this and should he, he will know that I am absolutely talking about him. That horcrux was written in the stars. One of them will most definitely read this and believe instantly that I am talking about him, though he’ll never know for certain; but oh he’ll believe it. The third one will most likely read this and will have absolutely no idea that he is currently in possession of a tiny sliver of me. He might think for the tiniest of seconds, “Is she… Could she be talking about me?” but then he will brush it off and wonder why I’ve never mentioned my horcruxes to him before. I also have a friend unlike any other who will also forever protect a tiny sliver of me.
The list of places and moments is actually quite longer than the other because moments in time aren’t aware that they can refuse your affections. They just are and allow you to just be. Tonight I will add The Arctic Circle to a list that includes Scotland; Prague; Sedona, Arizona; New York City; Memphis,TN; The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, Long Beach Island, NJ, Stonehenge, The Giant’s Causeway in Ireland and the Grand Canyon.
I have been sad for the better part of a year and tonight my heart is filled to the brim with joy, prospect, warmth, excitement and positivity. Tonight I stood on Deck 5 of the Hurtigurten Ship under a sky that was filled with the Northern Lights for almost three hours. I took pictures until I thought my ungloved hand might break off and then I just stood there and watched because I know that the pictures will never be as great as it was to be there underneath them. Both of my parents wanted to see the Northern Lights and now I truly believe they have. I stood with two German Women who’s names I never learned and we watched in amazement as we became part of a fortunate group of charmed individuals who have now seen the Northern Lights.
As they got brighter and stronger and actually began to dance, I felt as if the earth were filling me with every single ounce of its positive energy. I felt like I was receiving a gift that so few people receive or realize they are being granted.
While they continued, one of the women managed to ask me why the Northern Lights? Why was I desperate to experience them? To be honest, besides the fact that both of my parents wanted to see them (which I explained to her) and it seemed like the right thing to do; I truly had no idea until I experienced them. In that moment in time I realized that my desperate need to see them, and the reason I planned my the first leg off my Journey in such unadulterated haste, was actually a calling. I was being called here through tiny sounds in the wind and ripples in the seas and whistling in the grass so that I could come and have my cup refilled. In the last four hours, I have not been sad. I have been absorbing the earth’s energy and I only walked away from the majesty of the lights when my cup began to run over. It would not be fair after all, for me to absorb all that the spirit of the lights has to offer.
I am not saying at all that I am healed. I’m not certain that I can ever truly heal, only evolve, but for the first time in a long time, I have been recharged. I’m certain that I will need to be recharged again and again both on this adventure I am currently undertaking and also in everyday life for as long as I shall live it, but right here and now I am full of hope and joy and endless possibility and that is why I will say to everyone: if you get a chance to Chase the Northern Lights, do it. If you are standing underneath them and you can’t get your camera settings right, or someone is texting you, just stop. Look. Experience. Feel. Just be there in The moment.  The post card you buy will inevitably be far better than your picture anyway. Feel the spirits of the earth as the lights fill the sky with their dances.






Fond Memories

Last night after a relaxing, yet wonderful day one I began to be overwhelmed by some serious emotions. However the more I replayed my day and 2015 in my head the more they began to dissipate.
Yesterday after two flight delays, a cancelation and a rebooking, I actually made it to Oslo. I left Memphis, TN on the 29th. Flew into Newark. Took the bus to JFK where my amazing roommate met me with the rest of my things. I got on my Norwegian flight and made it safely to Oslo, on time and no worse for the wear. I checked into my adorable hotel and went out to see what I could see. I wandered around the old city and the new. I was famished so I ducked into a bar only to learn the only sustenance it offered were spirits. I allowed myself to be warmed by a glass of Jameson, made friends with a delightful bartender and then went off in search of something a bit more sustainable. I had a mediocre dinner and then returned to my room at 4 when the darkness had finally set in for the day.
After a two plus hour fight with my new selfie stick and the hotel internet, I finally gave up on my video log shenanigans for the time being and drifted into a slumber.
While I slept my, mind was full. It raced and I woke very often in the night. I kept springing awake from my slumber with questions or just a simple jolt. “What time is it?” “Did I miss my flight?” “Why does my phone have two times on it?” I wrestled with sleep and odd idiosyncrasies of the subconscious. When I awoke, I was excited, but also a tiny bit grumpy. However the grumpiness only lasted until I went downstairs and saw the hotel breakfast.
I was swept away to Prague four and a half years ago. The gigantic rolls with the little black seeds that I filled with salami and cheese. The meats and fruits and yogurts my friend and I would stick in our bags for later even though the sign clearly said we couldn’t.  It was a blissful deja vu and for a brief moment I was not in Norway, traveling alone for self reflection, but in the Hotel Europa in Prague, surrounded by the fantasmical ghosts of Prague society and the faint scent of parties and days truly gone by.
I ate my breakfast and was filled yet again with the wanderlust that has become as much a part of me as the heart beating inside my chest. Today I head farther North in Norway, to Tromso where I will dine in a gourmet restaurant in the center of town and explore; then tomorrow I will embark on my two day Arctic Cruise. I’m sure I will get tired eventually and weary, but no matter what, I am here and my spirit feels better than it did yesterday. Which I guess is more than anyone can hope for anyway.