TOP 10 TRAVEL MOMENTS

First of all, it has taken me AGES to get this post put together because 1) to me, "moments" are specific points in time which eliminates putting down a trip as a whole, 2) it's really difficult to narrow everything down to ten specific moments, and 3) forget about putting those in any sort of order.  But I've finally done it.  Amanda over at Rhyme & Ribbons did a post on her top ten travel moments and it got me thinking of what mine are.  SO after many days of thinking this over and facebook-stalking myself for pictures, here are my top ten travel moments.

10.  Road trip to San Francisco with my sister

Two summers ago, I had the awesome opportunity to go shadow the Stage Manager of the National Tour of Les Mis whilst they were in San Fran.  My sister and I took the opportunity to road trip it down there and stay with our cousin who lives just outside the city.  I know this is a top ten "moments" list, but try as I might, I just could not narrow this down to any one defining moment - driving (soooooo slowly, my god) down the Oregon Coast, visiting wine country with my sister and cousin, exploring SF, shadowing at the Orpheum, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge... it was an all around awesome trip.

9.  Walking the Long Walk at Windsor with Jess

I'd always meant to visit Windsor, and I was really glad my friend in London, Jess, wanted to go with me.  We spent a few hours touring the castle, but the part I remember most from this day was walking the Long Walk.  It was this 2.5 mile path from the palace gates to a massive statue of George III.  We resolved not to look behind us at the palace until we reached the end, and not only was that an awesome sight to see, but I loved walking the path and just talking while enjoying our surroundings.

8.  Finding the best cupcakes in NYC with Carmen

My first trip to NYC was with my best friend, Carmen.  Carmen loves cupcakes.  Who am I to say no to cupcakes?  We made it our mission to find the best ones in the city.  Not only was it fun to explore all parts of NYC (or as many as we could in a week), but it was awesome to do so with my BFF and cupcakes.

7.  Experiencing Norway for the first time with my family

In December of 2010, I visited Norway with my sister and cousins.  It marked my first trip to Europe EVER.  First stamp in that passport, baby!  We visited family in Drammen and Oklungen, family friends in Larvik, and explored Oslo.  My fondest memory was walking through Larvik - the way that everything was absolutely blanketed in white, but the blue skies, bright sun, and early sunsets made everything seem like a dream straight off a postcard or something.  Absolutely stunning.

6.  Standing inside Notre-Dame with a service in progress

Of all the moments I remember from Paris, this one seemed most deserving of a Top 10 spot.  When we visited Notre-Dame, there was a service in progress.  I wasn't expecting it, but just looking around the cathedral at the stunning architecture and stained glass windows, combined with the hauntingly beautiful sound of what sounded like the monks singing in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, I got the chills down my spine and felt like I was on the verge of tears.  It was surprising, but powerful.

5.  Walking through Auschwitz-Birkenau in torrential rain

I've never experienced a moment of perspective so clearly as I did when touring Auschwitz, specifically the second part of the tour at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  It was absolutely abysmal weather, and we walked around there for an hour in a half in the rain and mud, feet soaked through, jeans wet and clung tight to our legs, no hood or umbrella.  Anywhere else, it would have just plain sucked.  As it was, it did plain suck, but considering where we were and what conditions were like for the people who experienced it... I've never had a clearer perspective on how fortunate life is than in that moment.

4.  Watching the [Rio?] Parade along the Thames in London

I honestly have no idea what this parade was (we think it was to celebrate Rio as the next summer Olympic host, as the London Olympics had just finished), but it was one of the first really amazing memories I have from London, and one that sticks out in my mind when I imagine my time studying abroad and the first moments in which I realized just how much I love London.

3.  Exploring Krakow nightlife with strangers from my hostel

The whole of my Poland trip was significant to me, and still is, because it was the first time I traveled completely solo in a foreign country, with only a backpack of my belongings.  This, the second night, stands out in particular to emphasize that for me, because I was able to go out in Krakow and experience some of the nightlife, bar hopping around the Old Town with some people I shared a room with at my hostel, whom I'd only just met the day before.  It was a really great experience, not to mention a really fun time!

2.  Pony trekking through the Welsh moorlands

I've been riding horses since I was a little girl, so obviously, as a "horse girl" and general Anglophile, this makes the list.  Aside from the fact that I was riding horseback through a part of Britain, the part that made this truly spectacular and special enough to earn the #2 spot was the atmosphere - stunning views of Wales and the coast, sharing the experience with friends, riding all day long, passing wild horses only a few meters away, and staying at the most adorable bed and breakfast in the world.  Not only one of my Top 10 travel moments, but also one of my top riding experiences as well.

1.  Midnight Matinee with Kelly

Of course my favorite travel moment would take place in London.  This particular moment was the high point of an entirely incredible night during my summer interning in London in which my friend Kelly and I stayed awake to see the midnight showing of Midsummer Night's Dream at The Globe, then walked along a deserted Southbank while the sun eventually rose.  In those moments at sunrise, on a high of having just spent an awesome night at The Globe seeing a terrific show and staying for the cast and staff after-party in the theatre, standing on the stage, then walking along the Thames without a tourist (or anyone) in sight to soak up the beauty of the city we both love... that moment was the most serene, surreal, yet euphoric moment I've experienced while traveling, even though I was right at home.

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