My Favorite Travel Moments
Since marriage, Daniel and I have played with elephants and swam with wild seals; we've hung off of skyscrapers, capsized our jet ski, and raced across Canadian trails on our personal dog sled. Needless to say, life isn't boring. We've found ourselves blessed with exciting, colorful opportunities around every corner and we've taken advantage of them! But despite that level of excitement, I vividly remember my two favorite travel moments of 2016 (so far.)
"It was our last day in Québec City and the itinerary had been blocked off for one purpose: wander. With nothing specific to see (except everything), we found ourselves meandering through the charming 'Winter Wonderland' town. White snow topped the cottage-sized gift shops, directly contrasting the bright red ribbons that adorned each door. There was about eight inches of fresh snow to trudge through - and trudge we did, right into the middle of the Old City. There, four carolers sang French carols in perfect harmony. A resting place had been set up in the middle of the town - outdoor lounge chairs were dusted with snow and twinkling lights right beside the accapella quartet. Daniel and I grabbed two chairs in front of the fireplace and I looked around me, lit by a warm glow. The snow was softly tumbling onto my cheeks and eyelashes, I was so bundled up in my winter clothes I could barely move. I could feel the warm fire licking at the soles of my winter boots and - all around me - the town moved on. Tourists and locals floated by; some stopping to bask in the song of the caroler's in the same way I was, others continued on in search of the perfect souvenir or warm coffee. I was lost in the middle of a scene shaken in a snow globe, and there was no other place I'd rather be. I reached across to the arm of the chair beside me, and I grabbed Daniel's hand. There was no other person I'd rather be with, either."
"I could feel myself absorbing the sunlight that had been beating down on me all day. The salt from the sea slicked through my hair and cracked on my skin. My heart glowed; it glowed with the understanding that I had spent the day in paradise. Koh Phi Phi is earth's most beautiful secret - the limestone cliffs jutting out of the turquoise water, the locals' longtail boats dotting the horizon; the perfect postcard. After a long day of exploring - being tossed around by the ocean's waves, swimming with her colorful fish and coral - I was finally still. I found myself in a moment of quiet as our chartered long tail boat - complete in all its rickety glory - rounded the island's crest. We entered the bay that opened up to our hotel and I gasped. The sun had thrown a splash of brilliant pink paint into the sky; it dripped behind the mountains, blending into their silhouette. The boat rocked on the calm blue waters, and I leaned into Daniel's side. The pink sky, the gentle waters, the creaking boat; his heartbeat. Paradise."
The special moments aren't always adrenaline and excitement. Sometimes they are found in stillness; in quiet, contemplative moments when you are finally able to really take in where you are and who you're with.