We enjoy travel of all kinds, but some of our favorite trips have been ones that have pushed us out of our comfort zone. There can be many different factors that make a certain trip create a little more tension than other trips. It isn’t that we get nervous about the trip, it is more that we are more anxious prior to our arrival and typically we settle in as soon as we arrive and start our adventure. It could be due to the language barriers, differences in culture, or even safety concerns. Oddly enough, we probably seek out these trips more now than visiting some other traditional travel destinations that people go to, especially from the United States. In no particular order, these are some of the places that we have visited that caused us to be a little apprehensive.
Chennai in Southeast India – We have talked about this trip many times as it was the trip that changed the way that we wanted to explore the world. The experience was truly amazing and we saw so many different temples and learned as much as we could about the local culture. Whether buying silk in Kanchipuram or heading to the coast to visit the ancient temples of Mahabalipuram, the trip was very different than anything that we had done previously.
Cochabamba and La Paz in Bolivia – There were several things that made this one of the best trips we’ve ever taken to a destination that many people don’t consider. It was our first opportunity to stay at an ecolodge and explore part of the Amazon Rainforest, which we did from Cochabamba. After a week of memories in the heart of Bolivia, we then went to La Paz where we able to take a tour that took us to Tiwanaku and then off to Copacabana to see Sun and Moon Islands. The different things that we were able to see combined with the people that we met really made this trip stand out.
Vietnam and Laos – Although many people travel to Vietnam, going to Laos was certainly a unique experience. Just traveling half way around the world can make a trip a little nerve-racking even if we’d read a lot about the culture before arriving. Seeing Halong Bay and taking a couple of tours into the countryside of the Ninh Binh Province were definitely highlights. Going to Vientiane in Laos, though, was a completely different experience. Even though the two countries border each other, there is no denying that they are worlds apart in many ways.
Egypt – Although it is definitely a destination that has attracted many tourists throughout the past hundred years, but we went shortly after the political unrest that caused Western tourists to be a risk. Other than having to have a police escort to visit Cairo’s Old Town area, we certainly never experienced anything that would have caused us concerns. Whether touring Cairo or taking a cruise down the Nile River to visit Luxor and Aswan, it was certainly an incredible trip. As amazing as the pyramids are to see, we were certainly glad that we took the time to explore even more of the country.
Regardless whether you travel to a place that feels completely natural or to one that makes you see the world in a new light, all travel is rewarding. There have been other trips that have pushed us either culturally or in other ways, but these are some of our favorite travel memories.