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Magic travel moments…

March 13, 2017
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… don’t look like this. At least not for me typically. Because the reality behind such pictures are the crowds, the noise, the pushing, the souvenirs made in China surrounding you at major sights like the Golden Rock in Kyaikto. No doubt, the light was perfect. So was cellphone reception: I received a skype call from my parents just after I took this pic! At least the locals heard some Hungarian probably for the first time in their lives.

Usually I don’t have a photo of my best travel moments. The unexpected encounters, the great views, the deserted beaches and jungle sounds, the conversations that stick with you. Like my all time favorite chat with the Ghanian farmer back then.

Or I do have a photo but because I am somewhere remote, it takes several days to have internet again, so I don’t write about them, digitally forget them. Here are two recent exceptions that I was able to document and I can’t believe I haven’t written about them so far.

Diving in Raja Ampat


This is where I started my SE Asia round trip and I still can’t believe it. It was so beautiful that I am pretty much avoiding the beach ever since. Experienced divers I meet everywhere confirm that it won’t get any better than that. So why bother? I have hardly swam in the ocean (except for scuba or freediving) since Raja Ampat because I have above imagine to compare it to. Crystal clear, warm, calm waters with fish soup underneath and manta rays swimming up to the surface to greet you. I feel extremely humbled and privileged for the fact that I was able to stand there knee deep in the South Pacific and take that picture and I think it will fill me with joy for the rest of my life.

Fiji


Talking about the South Pacific. I was sitting at this bar in Taveuni, looking out towards the west, watching the tide roll in with Vanua Levu island in the distance. Everything was so vast. And I had this constant loop in my head: I am here, now. I really did make it to Fiji. I really learned how to dive. In Fiji. I am looking at the South Pacific ocean. Me. Here. Now. Here. Now. Herenowherenowherenow. Wow.

I must have been sitting there for hours. I started to cry. It was dark when I realized I will have to walk home along the highway. I didn’t mind. This picture is the background wallpaper on my phone since then.

The Wailing Wall, Jerusalem

My last story is old and without a picture. This must have been around 1996, on our family trip to Israel. I was fifteen if the year is correct, and actually very sick. Walking through the winding streets of old Jerusalem, exhausted in the scorching heat, I suddenly glimpsed The Wall! Shining bright, almost blinding it is in my memory. I had seen it so many times on the news, usually with angry young men throwing stones from both sides. And here I was. It was a symbolic, magical moment for me, despite the crowds.

And then there is the story of traveling on my own for three days in northern Ghana, something I will have to expand on again in a separate post. The memory keeps coming back now that I am in Myanmar, with flashbacks to rural life around 50-100 years ago elsewhere or now, here. To discover a world “without 90 degrees angles” as I usually summarize it, was most likely a once in a lifetime experience in retrospect. I am sure it is not like that anymore there and it is not like that anywhere I am likely to go now or in the near future. But who knows, maybe I will see that somewhere again some time and it will be one of those unexpected, magic travel moments.

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