That defining moment....

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Re: That defining moment....

Postby mojowp » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:19 am

I find that the defining moment for me is when the plane door opens and I'm standing at the top of the stairs and smell the air.

Every country I've been to has a "smell" unlike home. It always takes a moment not to notice that "smell" anymore.
It's the journey, not the destination.

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Re: That defining moment....

Postby ballu » Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:00 am

I just returned from an overland tour in Africa...for me the "Wow, I'm really in Africa" moment occurred when the truck came to a screeching halt because there were a bunch of giraffes in the middle of the road.
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Re: That defining moment....

Postby nikimarcotte » Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:37 pm

Mexico City - the ride from the airport to the hotel...thought i was going to die, but at least i was in an SUV while most other vehicles were VW bugs..nobody paid any attention to lanes and traffic lights(the first time i had ever seen "GRIDLOCK" ) where everybody just keeps honking and inching forward and even go the wrong way down one way streets to get ahead of somebody else. my driver could also carry on a conversations looking AT me instead of the crazy traffic around us. I now associate honking horns with foreign countries..as soon as i hear multiple horns, i know i am away from home. our horns are severely underused in Saskatchewan except for wildlife encounters or near misses.

Costa Rica - was sitting at little cafe in Montezuma when the capuchin monkeys would come right out of the trees and steal stuff of our table..the proprietor called them banditoes and had to distract them with bananas so that they would leave my breakfast and table condiments alone. went back everyday i was there just so i could watch the monkeys while i ate. awesome...definitely was no longer in my own backyard:)

Egypt - being driven through cairo with random mules pulling carts was the first clue...but it was definitely pulling to the outskirts of the city and suddenly seeing the pyramids that totally said "WELCOME to EGYPT"
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Re: That defining moment....

Postby amazon0313 » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:59 pm

I love landing in a new country. I just love that excitement. I have this big goofy grin on my face when I can finally let my guard down.

Costa Rica: driving along the highway to the hotel only to pass a cow slung across the back of a motorcycle. Ok, maybe that was just random. But very funny. Seeing the monkeys just lounging around in the trees was pretty bizarre. And I woke up to the "dogs barking" only to realize it was howler monkeys. That made me smile in the wee hours of the morning.

Peru: In the taxi ride from the airport, watching our driver squeeze between cars that he had no business squeezing between.

Bolivia: realizing the reason the homestay room was so cold is that the roof we were ducking to avoid bashing our heads on was actually just a tarp. :P (The homestay is one of my all-time travel highlights.)
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Re: That defining moment....

Postby mrzeszow » Tue May 19, 2009 3:55 pm

Great topic, and it brings back so many great memories.

Costa Rica, on my 2nd day finally getting to La Fortuna, sitting in my rocking chair on the porch, and watching the lava flow down the volcano. That moment finally struck me as being somewhere special.

Mexico, exiting the airport and being struck by the heat wave, the music, and the massive chaos at the airport (all that chaos seemed to be controlled somehow). Everyone seemed to be in a great mood. I loved that feeling. Often airports all seem to be the same, and I feel like cattle being herded through different lines and checkpoints. This was very different.

Santorini, after an over night ferry ride I arrived in the early morning to be greeted with a horde of people with signs yelling and pushing, trying to get your attention. I had never experienced this and was completely thrown off guard. Wasn't quite sure what was going on. Took a fellow traveler to lean over and explain that they were trying to get us to stay in their homes/hotels/lodges. I had been traveling through mainland Greece for a few days already, but that moment was when it really hit me that I wasn't home anymore. LOL, by the end of the trip I felt like a local haggling over room costs with the best of them. Smiling when I saw the look of surprise on other backpackers' faces, realizing that must have been what I looked like on my first day in the islands.

The Netherlands, on my 3rd day in the country taking a train from Amsterdam to Rotterdam, I was sitting in the smoking section on the train (which in itself was a shock to me) and watching a business man pop open his briefcase and start rolling. I realized that even though Europe always felt a lot like home, I was definitely not home anymore.

England, similarly to Holland, the moment was when I first stopped by a pub in London. I was rushing to finish my beer so I could make it to a show, when the bartender leaned over and told me not to hurry and just take it with me. My eyes must have gone wide with shock. Being so Canadian, instead of listening to him and taking my beer with me, I instead took the time to question him in disbelief. I still smile when I think back to that time. My friend and I took our beers with us, but for the rest of our time there whenever we walked the street with alcohol we still felt like hiding every time we saw a cop, like we were guilty. Cops must smile when they see us tourists red faced, waiting to get questioned.

Poland, I had always thought I was a fairly good driver. Aggressive enough to drive in NYC and Toronto without a problem. But it took driving 130kms an hour on a little country road in Poland to realize that I still had a lot to learn when it comes to driving outside of North America. I was driving 130, but the guys who passed me on the shoulder and in the oncoming lane, at the same time, were definitely driving much faster. Wow, I felt like a beginner at that moment.
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Re: That defining moment....

Postby TravelFun » Tue May 19, 2009 6:24 pm

My excitement sets in on the flight when the pilot announces we have 15mins to land...yeahhhhh, I'm here!

As for other defining moments then it has to be when I see/do/experience 'the reason' I chose the particular destination. Like I chose Egypt for the Pyramids, Rome to spend my birthday at the Colosseum, Antarctica to cross that polar circle, Sicily to see and trek a live volcano...oh there are too many to write here :wink:

But the most common feature no matter where I've travelled that differs from home (London) is the local food. Even though there's less cuisine choices on my travels but it's the freshness of the food that just gives a completely different taste and experience. I absolutley love the food and try local places as much as I can...not to forget the drinks too. Ah, also walking around with a phrase book and trying to decipher the local language...real fun (ok sometimes frustrating, I should learn more beforehand) but a smile goes a long way :P

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Re: That defining moment....

Postby travelling_on » Wed May 20, 2009 12:23 am

In 1961, I saw a slide show of Petra and last year in 2008 I finally walked down the canyon and saw the Treasury starting with the keyhole view and the gradual unveiling....I have travelled extensively but this was the culmination of all my travel ambitions.
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Re: That defining moment....

Postby rajansaveslives » Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:57 am

Of Budapest was being chased through the night by Hungarian mafia after we did runner from a cabaret club after they tried to charge two friends and I £600 for 6 domestic beers.

To be legless, broke and in fear for your life at 4 am in the morning was pretty exhilarating.

Our hotel was only around the corner from the place - so you can bet we left the country ASAP!
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Re: That defining moment....

Postby DanielBMe » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:40 am

Well now I can add something here.

On my recent trip to East Africa, a group of us were doing a hike in Hell's Gate. we were at the bottom of a ravine or canyon. High above us in the canopy of trees there was a crashing of branches when all of a sudden a very large Baboon came flying down the canyon swinging on the branches on the way down. I grabbed a pic of that. He land about 20ft from us. We all just stared at him because he was huge and though "Wow, very cool"...until he started running towards us (well more like a gallop of some type). Then it became Holy Sh$t! See we were told that Baboons can be very dangerous and sometimes will even try to grab your camera or backpack. So we were in shock a bit.

So he galloped towards us and came right up to us, no more than say 3ft away and just looked at us, then turned and walked right past us and down the road. Now while he was running towards us, I managed to move my hands slowly to my camera which was strapped around my neck and started snapping pics without aiming. Once he ran by us and I felt safe I grabbed my camera and snapped a few pics of his backside. The guy was big!

That's when I realized I was in East Africa!
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Re: That defining moment....

Postby AdamfromCanada » Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:18 pm

DanielBMe wrote:Well now I can add something here.

On my recent trip to East Africa, a group of us were doing a hike in Hell's Gate. we were at the bottom of a ravine or canyon. High above us in the canopy of trees there was a crashing of branches when all of a sudden a very large Baboon came flying down the canyon swinging on the branches on the way down. I grabbed a pic of that. He land about 20ft from us. We all just stared at him because he was huge and though "Wow, very cool"...until he started running towards us (well more like a gallop of some type). Then it became Holy Sh$t! See we were told that Baboons can be very dangerous and sometimes will even try to grab your camera or backpack. So we were in shock a bit.

So he galloped towards us and came right up to us, no more than say 3ft away and just looked at us, then turned and walked right past us and down the road. Now while he was running towards us, I managed to move my hands slowly to my camera which was strapped around my neck and started snapping pics without aiming. Once he ran by us and I felt safe I grabbed my camera and snapped a few pics of his backside. The guy was big!

That's when I realized I was in East Africa!


Ahhh...the baboons. In Kenya we always seemed to have run ins with them. They were all over our campsite in Samburu...one charged at me screaming, I yelled back at him and that ended in a stalemate. The tour leader told me not to go near the monkeys, "They bite." Then one snuck in to the outhouse while one of the girls was in there and threw something small and hard down on her head. One even jumped on the van as we were loading up one morning.

At Nakuru is was more of the same. A big male ran right up to our picnic table and stole a loaf of bread from right in the middle of our entire group. The drivers were all on the other side of the vans and as they told us many times, the baboons don't fear Mzungu (white people)!

Then at the lookout point above Lake Nakuru, one of our vans stopped and as one of the guys got out of the side door, a big male jumped in on his seat. The guy's wife was suddenly face to face with him, while the girls in the back of the van were as far back as they could get...he looked at the girl in front of him, looked at a bag of chips, looked back at her to see if she was going to go for the bag, then snatched it and ran off.

I'm really interested to see if the Southern Africa baboons are nearly as aggressive, although I'm hoping not to have so many close encounters.
Feel free to check out my travels on http://www.adammallonphotography.com
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Re: That defining moment....

Postby mitsu1 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:08 pm

Sitting on the side of a mountain just outside of Lasa, Tibet. We went to check out meditation caves and on the site we just happened to arrive during an all day traditional Tibetan Opera Festival. There were hundreds of people all along the valley listening to the entertainment and having picnics. In one of my rare moments alone I sat on the mountain side people watching and Yak watching. All of a sudden I heard a Donkey hee hawin' like crazy. I looked over to the other side of the valley to see a Donkey (with a full load) charging across the countryside with an 8 year old boy in close pursuit. All I could think while I chuckled was, Wow, this would never happen back at home. Welcome to Tibet!
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Re: That defining moment....

Postby joepigpen » Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:09 pm

After a daylong trip to Katmai National Park to look for bears, we finally called it a day and started hiking back to the float plane -- which was the same direction the last grizzly bear of the day was heading. We followed the bear at a respectful distance, laughing and talking the whole way. After 10 minutes I reminded my friends we were still following the world's second-largest land predator. Only in Alaska.
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