Five travel experiences that never get boring
When you’ve been on the road a while things can start to get a little…repetitive. I don’t mean to say that travelling gets dull, just that it takes a little more to excite you. It’s like being a junkie (I imagine) - the longer you’re an addict, the bigger the hit you need to get high.
Take waterfalls for example. When you’ve seen Iguazu Falls and swam underneath the most picturesque little fall you can imagine (in Costa Rica) it’s going to take a hell of a lot of fall to make you pay US$20 for a taxi followed by three hours of steep hiking to see a regular old waterfall. Even though, if you were on a typical two-week holiday it may well have been the highlight of your trip.
But there are some things that I simply never tire of:
1. Starry skies
Starry skies are one of nature’s greatest shows. Miles away from any light or air pollution, preferably at altitude, the skies are at their clearest and I never get bored of gazing up at those millions of specks in the black. Likewise, seeing a shooting star never fails to send shivers down the proverbial. Even watching the blinking lights of an aeroplane flying overhead can send me into spasms of the imagination: where’s it going?; who’s on board; is it going to crash?
The brightest skies I’ve ever seen: White Lake (Mongolia), the Gili Islands (Indonesia), Isle of Skye (Scotland), Tayrona National Park (Colombia), Manitoba (Canada) and Rajasthan (India).
2. Volcano views
There’s something about a perfect cone soaring solo from the earth. (Please read that sentence in context…) Volcanoes have something incredibly ancient and powerful about them: the Incas made sacrifices as near the crater as possible; they are an opening from what seems like the very centre of the earth; and there’s always that element of danger – are they going to choose the very moment you’re there to erupt? It’s worth pointing out that I’m usually perfectly happy to sit and look at them and feel very little desire to climb to the top.
My top volcano views: The perfect snow-capped cone of Cotopaxi (Ecuador), the wild peaks of Nacional Parque Lauca (Chile), and the twin volcanoes of Isla Ometepe (Nicaragua).
Top ten pages on OT
1. Five alternatives to South America's top destinations
2. Hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro
3. Responsible travel on the Inca Trail
4. The Ten Commandments for night bus travellers
5. Touring the Pantanal with the world's most hardcore guide
6. The two month slump: Colca Canyon, Peru
7. Images: South America roundup