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Some people keep journals as a way of practicing gratitude. Though I don’t do this, the idea got me thinking about fleeting experiences in my life for which I am thankful and have never forgotten. I thought I would share just a few here.

Many years ago I visited Malaysia. I was travelling on my own and largely playing it by ear. Memory escapes me as to whether it was on someone’s suggestion along the way or because of something I'd read –  the only thing that matters is that I visited Long Beach on Perhentian Kecil. This is by far one of the most magical places I've ever been. One night in particular there was a full moon that was so close you felt that if you reached out far enough you could actually touch it. I had never seen a moon that could illuminate an entire beach. Eating freshly caught fish, while sitting on the sand and being serenaded with Bob Marley songs, was an incredible way to enjoy it.

Several years ago when I was living in Montreal, I was part of an outdoors club. It was common to go to the Eastern Townships, the Laurentians, and the New England states for cycling or hiking on a regular basis. One particular weekend we went riding in Vermont. It was a perfect blue sky, sunny day. At one point on the route, the tree-lined road steepened as it led straight to a pristine lake in the distance. Enjoying the gaining speed and the wonderful view, something caught my eye on the roadside. As I quickly got closer I realized it was a cub waiting for me before crossing the road. Mother bear was not in sight and I was not afraid. Feeling protected by the speed of my bike, I looked the little bear straight in the eye.

I've mentioned here before that almost three years ago I visited Peru. The trip was the culmination of months of fundraising for MS Climb. None of it was easy. Fundraising had been challenging and stressful and I almost didn’t believe I would make it to the trip. Fighting cloud cover the morning of the last of four days of camping and hiking, our group gathered at a point along the trail. Our guide, knowing how spectacular the view could be, invited us to wait patiently for the clouds to pass. We did. Disbelief that I actually had achieved the fundraising goal, combined with the sheer physical challenge of the hike, and the beauty before me, overwhelmed me when I saw Machu Picchu. When the clouds eventually parted, they revealed one of the most majestic views I've ever seen. Tears streamed down my face.

These are outstanding, unique, special memories that will stay with me forever. It's funny how it doesn't have to be about the "big" stuff. In fact, these moments often happen when you least expect it. Care to share some of yours?


  1. Wow, those are some amazing moments. When I think of some amazing moments I've seen while travelling, the list is long.

    What comes to mind:
    1. In Bolivia, walking up one simple flight of stairs for the first time at such high altitude. The feeling of my lungs and body straining in the sight of something that looked so simple.

    2. In the northern islands of Panama - being invited to snorkel around one island that looked untouched by two much more experienced men. Seeing the corals and fish life combined with that "could be" possible by people who knew what they were doing was incredible to watch.

    3. On one of many cross-Canada drives, I had to get from Vancouver to Calgary to catch a flight.. I left Calgary in mid-afternoon, which would ensure a late night trek through the mountains. I didn't make the best time that night because it was like driving through an open zoo.

    4. The location I can't recall, but it might have been somewhere in Alberta. A small town. While driving, I came across a rather large moose. He/She didn't move or otherwise stay anywhere but the middle of the road. I stopped the car and let him/her pass and moved on.

    5. In the Dominican, having coffee at a small spot so high in the mountains there that it's in the clouds. The coffee tasted uncommonly great.

    6. While too many to tell about the Dominican - one of my favourites was helping a young boy, Giancarlo, fix his bicycle. At that time I spoke zero Spanish and he spoke zero English. The mix of kids gathered around and lack of anything that resembled tools make this spur-of-the-moment situation fascinating and real. I was able to get the bike into a better place and he rode off happy.

    7. In Memphis, Tennessee some years back. I must have been randomly told I looked like Elvis a number of times. I really got a kick out of how crazy those guys are about him - and how obvious it was that I was Canadian.

    8. Speaking of Canadian - while backpacking in Bolivia, I came across a Dutch woman who seemed relieved to have found a "real" Canadian as she had come across to many "Fake Canadians". I felt like I needed to show her my passport.

    Just a few of so many wonderful memories :)

    1. Thanks for taking the time to share so many great memories Kevin! Like I always say, there is nothing in life that can replace travel and all that we learn through the adventures it brings. The list is plentiful, but this is a good start!! By the way, love your number 5...


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