To Do

Jump!

Definitely not my most graceful moment, but one I will never forget. I can’t describe it, you have to check it out on youtube (see video above).

http://www.bungee.ca/ is the website if you want to experience this yourself.

Date: August 2007

Location: Wakefield, Quebec

Join a camel caravan

The only real way to get around the Sahara, especially near the disputed Moroccan-Algerian border, is on camel back (or dromedary as seen in the picture, same difference).

The ride was definitely a lot more rocky than I had expected. You end up swaying with his every step in the sand, and being so high up, the motion is enough to leave you a little queasy. If you close you eyes, you would be dizzy for sure.

Its worth it not to have to walk for three hours in the desert to a tent though.

Date: December 2006

Location: Erg Chebbi, Morocco

Spend an overnight at a Homestay

Living with a family, even if only for a day, is the best way to experience another culture. In Nubia, one family kept baby crocodiles in their living room. Cute in a sleep-with-one-eye-open kind of way. The stay included a great meal, shower and a spot on the floor under an unfinished roof to sleep. Sand lice attacked me during my sleep land left me with a Clingon forehead (yes, I am making a Star Trek reference) the next day however.

Date: January 2007

Location: Aswan, Egypt

Live in a Yellow Submarine

OK, so it wasn’t yellow, and I didn’t live there, but taking a trip on the Atlantis was an EXTREME experience. This 64 passenger submarine takes you deep below the popular beaches to explore the Caribbean coral reef.

Although a little pricey, the entire package includes a boat tour (yes, above water), lunch and then a guided tour underwater.  The views both above and below the water’s surface are incredible.  The views from 150 feet below sea level, even better.

http://www.atlantisadventures.com/barbados.cfm

Date: *** 2000?

Location: Barbados

Trek the Sahara

Yes, I know that I already mentioned the Sahara, but it was awesome. Although I was mentally prepared to not shower and to eat a lot of sand (that would blow onto my plate) I did not expect to freeze. The desert is COLD. Had to sleep under three wool blankets to avoid hypothermia.

Sandstorms + sand dunes = fun

Date: December 2007

Location: Merzouga, Morocco

Take a Gondola ride, even if you’re single

Nothing is more romantic than cramming eight people onto a narrow boat, over polluted water, with a driver who refuses to sing. It’s the only way to afford this tourist trap in Europe, especially after you spent all your money trying to make a phone call and/or buy a bottle of water.

Date: May 2002

Location: Venice, Italy

Crawl into a cave

Les Grouffres de Friaouatto is not for the claustrophobic, or those out of shape. That’s why, realistically, this is something that I should have avoided. But in the spirit of adventure, I put my borrowed hiking boots on and an ugly kayway jacket, and descended into the “gouffre”. My flashlight failed about 10 minutes in, leaving me completely dependent on the guide. My knobby knees also didn’t help with my autonomy when trying to balance myself on the slimy, argyle covered rocks. The overall experience was terrifying, in a good way, but I think I only have the courage to go caving once.

Date: November 2006

Location: Taza, Morocco

Soar!

The most efficient way to see the entire Valley of the Kings was by hot air balloon. Our pilot (navigator?) was amazing, and cute. With very little effort we had a very smooth take-off and landing.

Sights visible from above included: the Ramasseum, the Colossi of Memnon, at the Valley of the Queens, and the entire Luxor country side. All but Hatshepsut’s temple could be seen.

Date: January 2007

Location: Luxor, Egypt

Be a kid again

So the marketing efforts aren’t lying to you. Disney World really is the happiest place on earth. You don’t realize that you’ve spent your life savings to go to an amusement park where you have to wait hours to go on a couple of rides. I think it was possibly the best day of my life.

Date: February 2004

Location: Florida, USA

Live on a Feluca

If you can get over comforts like showering everyday, and adopt new habits like digging your own bathroom on a river bank, then you HAVE to see the Nile from living on a feluca. The crew (same people as the homestay mentioned above) take excellent care of those on board. Amazing meals are prepared on the spot, as you make your way up the Nile from Aswan to Luxor (well, close). The ride is heavily influenced by the wind however, so make sure to pack a book in case you get stuck on the riverbank for longer than you might expect.

Date: December 2006

Location: The Nile, Egypt

Jump off a mountain

I don’t know what 100 euros from 6 years ago would be now… but you know it’s a lot of money. But “paraponting” the act of jumping off a mountain in tandem, without having to pull a parachute cord, was worth every penny.

The 45 minute drive up the mountain is scenic, and the half hour hike the rest of the way to the summit is brutal. But nothing can describe taking a running start and then literally JUMPING off a cliff.

The high altitude helps, you end up feeling a little stoned. Makes the jump easy.

Date: April 2002

Location: The Tyrol, Austria

Swim with dolphins

The largest natural aquarium in the world, Xel-Ha, has more than just swimming with dolphins to offer (although it is the highlight). It also offers amazing food, a natural river that you can lazily drift down on a tube, hammocks (I’m in love with hammocks), peacocks and more.

OK, back to the dolphins. Although you can barely make them out in this picture, you are given a life jacket and the dolphins swim around you as you float awkwardly. That was a perfect arrangement for me since I can’t swim. They do get close enough for you to touch, and you each get an individual photo with the mammal at the end. No sunscreen allowed so get ready to bake.

http://www.xelha.com/

Date: April 2000

Location: (near) Cancun, Mexico

Choose the Rainforest over the beach

If you can head south and be able to avoid the beach for a couple of days, book yourself into Panama’s Gamboa Rainforest resort for a long weekend. Surrounded by lush forest, the resort offers many (expensive) activities that are as unique as they are fun. The night safari, on a boat in search for caymans (kinda like a crocodile) is definitely worth while, and extremely creepy. I took my poor mother on that one. She also accompanied me in my search for Capuchin monkeys, the highlight of my trip!

http://www.gamboaresort.com/

Date: April 2007

Location: Gamboa, Panama

Climb an active volcano

Gunung Merapi isn’t called “Fire Mountain” for nothing. Active to this day, the Indonesians treat her like a goddess, making sacrifices to her on holidays, hoping she won’t erupt again. To be honest, I hoped the same thing, especially since she has been known to spontaneously spew lava from time to time. I clearly do not fall under the category of “people with a moderate level of fitness” especially since I thought the climb was going to kill me in the first half hour. This FIVE HOUR TREK each way is probably the most demanding thing I have ever required of my poor body. Although it is the easiest volcano in Indonesia to climb….

Date: July 2008

Location: Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Fly

My Sunday School teacher took took me on this truly rare experience.  A recreational pilot, he was able to teach me the basics so that I could co-pilot a 20 minute flight.  I was able to take a tour around the island of Montreal, and most importantly, over my family’s house, high school and usual hangouts.  Even though I have fond memories of the experience, I can’t seem to remember any of the details.  It was all very surreal: the take off, the landing, and the mere fact that I was operating a vessel that was FLYING.

Date: 2002?

Location: Dorval, Quebec

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