My Travel ABC’s (what are yours?)

Hello again! Here’s a small challenge for all of you who enjoy love traveling – the traveler’s ABC’s. Here’s my version!

A: Age you went on your first international trip

Alone? I was 10 when I went to visit my cool Auntie in London as my birthday present! We ate ice-cream for breakfast ;-)

B: Best beach you’ve been to

One really special beach for me is in Greece on the island of Amorgos. It’s called “Agia Anna” and it’s a hidden and quiet place with rocks and stones with fun waves to roll around in. I also liked the beaches in Tanzania, Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

Playing in the waves in Greece

Playing in the waves in Greece

C: Cuisine (favorite)

I simply loooooove Thai food! The spices, colours, vegetables and soups… YUM!

D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why

Tanzania, I was working as a volunteer there and got to spend time with the locals. The people were extremely welcoming and showed me how to live, dress and eat their way. Getting to talk to Maasai people and see how the Hadzabe tribes live was amazing. (Mongolia and Sri Lanka are the other two in my top 3!)

Tanzania 2008

Tanzania 2008

My least favorite so far is Beijing. That town has too many people, too many cars and a horrible amount of pollution. I was couching and the rain water on my skin felt slimy! (It’s still a must-visit place though, the Forbidden City was beautiful.)

Beijing was interesting but too polluted

Beijing was interesting but too polluted

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”

In Sri Lanka we were lucky enough to be invited to a 14-yearold girl’s coming of age party. It was held in a small village in the woods and we were the only white people there. The locals were singing, dancing, eating and drinking all night. The villagers were very keen on sharing their stories about the Tsunami and the civil war of Sri Lanka. After the party we slept in a local home.

The party in Sri Lanka. Only the men get to dance - the women sit with their babies and watch

The party in Sri Lanka. Only the men get to dance – the women sit with their babies and watch

F: Favorite mode of transportation

The train! It’s fast, safer than taking a car and you still get to see the views.

G: Greatest feeling while traveling

Seeing or experiencing something you never even knew existed! I also enjoy meeting people and learning about their cultures.

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to

Either the Valley of the Kings in Egypt (over 40 degrees Celsius) or Athens, which we visited just when the heat records broke (43 Celsius) in 2007!

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where

In Gambia there were friendly ladies selling fruits on the beach. They always wanted to play with my hair and hear more about Finland. On my last day one of the ladies, Binta, went specially to the market to find me a mango even though it was not mango season! She also gave me a small bracelet as a thank you for supporting her business.

My local friend Omar preparing some Baobab Juice in Gambia

My local friend Omar preparing some Baobab Juice in Gambia

J: Journey that took the longest

HA-HA! The Trans-Siberian/Trans-Mongolian journey was a long one. Taking the train from Finland and ending up in China was quite an experience. The longest time I spent on the train in one go was 4 days!

Somewhere in Siberia

Somewhere in Siberia

K: Keepsake from your travels

I like my bow and arrows which I bought from a Hadzabe bush boy in Tanzania. I also have a colourful Sri Lankan mask to protect me, an original hat of the Fula tribe in Senegal, and lots and lots of postcards! In the end the most important thing is photographs and the memories you bring back from your trips.

L: Let-down sight, why and where

The “Lac Rosé” in Senegal… That lake is supposed to be pink, but when we arrived it was just a normal salt lake. It was not very big either.

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel

I’ve always loved traveling but at the age of 17 I really got into it when I was traveling in Thailand with my dad. That trip helped me realize that the world has so many colourful stories to offer.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in

Sleeping in a yurt in Mongolia was the best! It was so relaxing to be in the middle of the nature with a view to the stars. (And I also liked all the little huts we lived in when in Borneo!)

My favorie "hotel room" in Mongolia

My favorite “hotel room” in Mongolia

O: Obsessions while traveling

Taking photos. I might capture 10 pictures of the same thing until I’m pleased.

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where? 

…Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Thailand, Tanzania, Kenya, Egypt, Gambia, Senegal, Mongolia, Russia, China, Sri Lanka…. and even Finland!

Q: Quirkiest activity you’ve done and where

I once milked a Mongolian horse and then ended up drinking “Airag” with a local family. This drink is fermented mare’s (horse) milk and you can imagine what it’s like to drink that stuff!

My turn next! - Mongolia

My turn next! – Mongolia

R: Remote place visited

The Danum Valley rainforest in Borneo. I’ve never been so far away from home, yet in a real rainforest like that!

Danum Valley was a magical place

Danum Valley was a magical place

S: Scariest moment experienced

I was terrified in Sri Lanka when we had a young driver taking us to and back from the town of Kandy. He was driving way too fast on the mountain roads and passing other cars on the wrong lane without seeing what’s behind the bends –even when it was pitch black outside! I screamed a couple of times and for sure didn’t get any sleep.

T: Touristy thing you’ve done

Taken a trip through a Finnish tour-operator to go and see the Egyptian pyramids. Sitting in a bus filled with Finnish tourists listening to the bad jokes of our guide was not that exciting.

Just a small pile of stones ;)

Just a small pile of stones ;) – Egypt

U: Unforgettable travel memory

There’s only one travel moment which has made me cry and laugh at the same time. This was in Tanzania when we arrived at the primary school where we were going to do volunteer work for two weeks. After 4 years of waiting for this moment there were 700 children running across the school yard to come and welcome us. They ran next to the bus shouting and screaming full of excitement. Once we stepped out of the bus they started singing an African welcome song and offering us flowers. They made us sign and dance with them all day. It was not hard to see how much they appreciated our help, and it was a wonderful start for our volunteer work in Tanzania. My best school day EVER!

The kids in Tanzania liked to play with my hair

The kids in Tanzania liked to play with my hair

V: Visas, how many and for where?

Being European I don’t need to apply for visas often. Mongolia, Russia and China did require them though.

W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?

French wine is good and otherwise I don’t drink much alcohol when abroad.

X: eXcellent view and from where?

Either this…

Adam's Peak - Sri Lanka

Adam’s Peak – Sri Lanka

or this…

Mount Kinabalu - Malaysia

Mount Kinabalu – Malaysia

Z: Zealous sports fans and where?

The French like their football! It was the world cup final in 2006 when I happened to be in France and watched the match from a big screen in the middle of a field. Watching Zidane’s last moments on the pitch and then the faces of the French spectators was funny. Unfortunately France didn’t win.

In Finland we also have the letters Å, Ä and Ö, but I guess you can’t turn those into English words!

So that was my very own travel ABC, but what would yours look like?

EDIT: Letter “y” went missing. Years spent traveling: 23!

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18 thoughts on “My Travel ABC’s (what are yours?)

  1. “Taking photos. I might capture 10 pictures of the same thing until I’m pleased.” Täällä sama, mutta onneks se on mahdollista nykysillä kameroilla! Mua ainaki jää ärsyttämään jos kuvasta olis voinu tulla hieno mutta olikin menny pieleen ja kuvia on vaan yks :D

  2. Love the photo of Danum–that was an amazing place. Can’t believe your first solo international trip was at the age of 10. That’s pretty cool. You’ve been to some really cool places. Are you getting packed yet for your move?

    • Thanks! Danum really was incredible, a beautiful place where every day is different. I’m happy you made it there too! The world is full of cool places to see, it’s just hard to find the time (and money) to make all the travel dreams come true! :D I’m slowly working on my to-do list, there’s around three weeks left in Finland. Yikes!

  3. Hello, Anna! You have a priceless amazing travel experience in your memories and I also admire the way you share it with your readers and it’s beautiful and very remarkable to notice your sensibility and kindness to interact with people from so diverse cultures and places!
    Best regards, F. :)

    • Hello and thank you for leaving such a nice comment! I’m pleased to hear you’ve enjoyed the post :) Meeting people from diverse backgrounds while traveling always teaches something new and brings important experiences. Have a nice day, F!

  4. Awesome post!!!!!

    I will definitely research more about the beach in Greece as I am headed there in a couple of months.

    Scariest moment in Sri Lanka? I think mine would be the same! Hahaha. They do drive crazy there and I thought I will not get out of that place alive. :-)

    • Nice to hear you liked the post.

      Greece is an amazing country, really beautiful and full of cool places (and many different kinds of beaches) to visit! Hopefully you will enjoy Greece as much as I did! The islands are all a little different.

      And yes, the driving in Sri Lanka really is scary. Fun to hear that I’m not the only one who thinks the traffic is craaazy there. I am also wondering how we survived alive! :D

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