"No title" smirnofforiginal's Profile
What can I say on my homepage? I love to travel! I want to see the four corners of the world... only somebody said the world is, in fact, round and therefore has no corners...
There is possibly nowhere I do not want to visit and, where ever I go - the "small people" (my two sons) come too. From birth they have been dragged from pillar to post and are very seasoned, little travellers. The best thing about that is they will go anywhere, try anything, meet anybody and have no prejudices. They work on the principle that a smile is the world language... and how right they are.
I like to travel independently. There is so much fun and excitement in the plotting and planning of a trip; huddled over maps, dog earing pages in the guide books and circling all the places to go... and I want to see as much as I possibly can whilst I am there; I don't just want to see the land and the people, I want to touch it and smell it. Ultimately, I guess I want to understand it a little better.
Rarely is a trip ever straight forward and it does not, on many ocassions go to plan... but that is all part of it. When things go a little wrong it is not always a positive experience at the time but THAT is all part of the journey and the experience...
My time in Mexico will always be special to me; seeing Uxmal rising majestically from the jungle before slinking, silently back into it... and the heady, intoxicating smell of wild coriander on the neverending path to Dzibilichaltun - that smell always transports me back.
Enjoying boiled eggs for breakfast, alone in the beautiful and surreal isolation of the Dead Vlei was every bit as wonderful as waking up on the deck of a traditional Thai junk to see the sun rise and the migrating jelly fish swarming by, in their masses... with no other person around...
...standing on the castle steps, watching the sun of a new day gently appear over sleeping Prague... it's like having the world to yourself for a time.
And there are moments when I know I share the world with others... getting beaten up by a gang in Paris, thrown into the midst of a riot in Brussels or simply being squished between the throngs of tourists on their automated quest to get to St. Mark's Square or Mont St. Michel as quickly as possible and with no thought for another...
There are times when it is wonderful, wonderful to share this world... when I (heavily pierced at the time) met the Karen tribe and we stared and smiled at one another wondering which of us was the most curious! Or when my 'delightful' children taught the children of the Bedouin how to "armpit fart"....
There are some bad people - We have had a gun pulled on us and, yes, I sadly have fallen the victim to a scam which left me so angry because I should have known better... I really should have! Where was my brain?
Mostly I have found that people share a universal kindness. When one of my children (3 years at the time) fell very ill in Tunisia (pus on his lungs) nothing was too much for anybody - everybody wanted to help him; to help us. When we arrived late in a tiny, remote village in Spain with nowhere to go, hungry and tired, the whole village woke up and rallied around, reopened a restaurant, made up beds... and I have met people who have nothing but have shown more generosity than some of the people I have met who have it all...
Possibly the most 'interesting' place I have been to and explored has to be Chernobyl...
Most surreal : Driving through a (deserted) swamp, complete with mist, in Mexico when a zebra walked across the road. Very twin peaks - Progresso was a freaky streaky place!! apparently these days Progresso is firmly on the tourist route with cruise ships to boot... such a shame!
Most unexpected : In Belgium when the Gilles came out to play. Dressed in their tradtitonal costumes with ostrich feathers swaying, they pelted us with oranges!
Most magical : At the end of a (long) day in Disneyworld Florida, on the steamer to the car park, one of my sons (two at the time), between falling asleep, looked up, saw a shooting star, pointed and said "look Mummy it's Tinkerbell". For that little moment I bought whole-heartedly into the "magic" of Disney!!!
Most sad : Seeing 2 dead St. Bernard dogs strategically placed side by side on a motorway in the Alps with two Gendarmes standing over them, slently shaking their heads in disbelief.
Most cool encounter : in the jungle, having a rest when a baby spider monkey came and sat with me! He softly placed his hand on my knee and remained a while before disappearing back into the canopy.
Nicest person met - Marcen, a Tunisian in (strangely enough) Tunisia although Abdel in Cairo was a strong runner up... oh and Mahavir in India... he's on VT and is also now my Facebook buddy and friend!
Most horrible person met well, after years the big, fat, timeshare American (in the Everglades) was finally overtaken, with no contest, by a big, fat Afrikaaner in the Caprivi!
Funniest moment - after believing we were driving across Zimbabwe we stopped to get direction to be told we were, in fact, in Zambia - haha who swapped the ferry!?!?!
bored yet ?
I have so little spare time that ashamedly I have many tips to finish as well as many to start creating but I hope that the tips I give are of help to those that read / need them.
I am not a VT member to shout about where I have been or what I have done. It is a genuine passion for independent travel that brought me here, keeps me here and makes me write my tips.
It is not always easy to get hold of the information required or to decipher what that information is... often when I travel, despite being saturated with info, I think to myself "if only I had known this before I got here... why was this information not available to me?" and it is from this point of view I try to write my tips (I think!).
I am mostly easy going and friendly and if I can help anybody I will try to which I believe is what VT is all about...
We all have our own individual ways in which we travel...
I am never going to be a package-holiday person and, from experience, travelling with children, I shall never again be somebody who jumps off the plane with a map, a book, no plans and with the attitude that I will see where the wind blows me!!! Been there, did that and had a miserable disaster!!!
I try to respect other peoples travel ideals and I try to be sensitive to their values / requirements... I hope in turn others will afford me the same courtesy - if I post a question in the forum and I don't take your advice or I ask for more in depth advice / information... don't get upset and shout at me... challenge me, if you feel the need... but don't be rude!
...a big mind see small things...
So, I would like to thank everybody who is here on VT who makes it a nice place to be.
I especially would like to thank those of you who take time out of your busy lives to offer me advice, knowledge and information, as well as general chit-chat regarding places I intend to visit.
Safe and happy travels to you all...
...the journey is the reward (Chinese proverb).
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