Our Top 7 Travel Moments of 2014
This year seemed to pass in the blink of an eye, but not before we squeezed in a few visits far from home base. On this orbit around the sun, we traveled to Scandinavia – an area of the world we’d never explored before, returned to Thailand – one of our favourite countries, and headed back home to Canada for a nostalgic road trip through interior British Columbia.
When you travel, there are always highs, surprises and disappointments, and 2014 was no different. Here, our favourite moments from the year.
Being awe-struck by the Warship Vasa in Stockholm
Sweden’s Warship Vasa is the only authentic 17th Century warship surviving in its entirety, in the whole world.
At the Vasamuseet in Stockholm, we stood in awe of her soaring 57 metre high main mast, feeling truly humbled. Knowing that the unfortunate ship sank on her maiden voyage, made the experience all the more poignant.
Dogsledding in Norway
Desperately trying not to fall off the sled, as we raced through the snowy landscapes of Finnmark with 11 time Finnmarksløpet race winner Sven Engholm, was maybe the most exciting thing we did during our 3 week adventure in Scandinavia.
5 hours later, despite being bruised and sore from my many falls off the sled, I found myself wishing that the day would never end.
Being tickled by Tallinn’s Old Town
We ended up in Tallinn almost by accident, when our initial plan to visit St. Petersburg backfired, and are we ever glad it did.
Tallinn was perhaps the biggest surprise of our travels this year. Full of atmospheric cafes, authentic buildings and cobblestone streets, this Medieval Pearl of Europe was affordable, incredibly well-maintained and a blast to explore. We spent literally 3 days just wandering happily around the wonderful old town, with stops for good coffee and Russian pelmenis along the way.
Flying business class between Seoul and Bangkok
I usually maximize my airline points, by taking as many economy flights as I can with them, but when I found out that a business class ticket between Seoul and Bangkok would only cost me 30,000 Aeroplan points, and cost the same as a regular old economy class ticket, it seemed like the perfect time to treat myself to a little luxury.
From dedicated lines bypassing Bangkok’s way out of control immigration lines, to airplane cabin serenity, to actual cutlery and plates, flying business was everything I’d imagined it would be and more.
I’ll have a full post about this eventually, but suffice it to say that getting an honest to god latte on my Asiana flight from Bangkok to Seoul pretty much sealed the deal. Now if only I could figure out how to travel that way all the time. 😉
Getting clean and lean in Koh Samui, Thailand
Though Thailand’s Andaman islands are usually associated with perfect beaches, heavenly meals and scandalously cheap massages, they’re also a major centre for detoxing and fasting. And that’s precisely why I headed there.
After 14 days of no food, countless bentonite clay and psyllium husk shakes, and more colonics than I care to think about, I emerged lighter, brighter and feeling full of energy. It’s definitely something I’ll be doing again, and regularly.
Cherry picking in the Okanagan Valley
Fruit orchards and wineries dot the Okanagan Valley’s fertile landscape like lights on a Christmas tree. And though we spent our fair share of time sampling vino in a few of the area’s outstanding vineyards, the standout experience of our travels was cherry picking at Dunrovin Farms.
Perhaps it’s because cherries are as expensive as gold in Korea, but standing on a ladder beneath the blinding sun and picking as many cherries as we wanted, I couldn’t help but feel like a kid in an unlimited candy store.
Living it up luxury style in Whistler
You don’t tend to associate the winter wonderland of Whistler with balmy summers, but when we had a chance to stay in my little brother’s amazing timeshare on the Nicklaus North Golf Course, we jumped at the chance.
With total serenity, close proximity to Whistler’s enticing restaurants, and the majesty of nature all around, it was a fantastic (and luxurious) way to end our British Columbia adventure.
Where did 2014 take you? What were YOUR top travel experiences of the year?