Time spent using public transportation are good opportunities to reflect on previous travels. One does not always get to do this; when you are addicted to travel you are often thinking about your next trip even during your current trip.
I came up with a list of my top 3 favorite trips and the one “trip from hell”.
Trip to Nepal I took in 1996 – this trip really turned me on to International travel and the hardships I personally faced in the Himalayas were life changing. I also made friends for life from this trip. If you have some time to kill, you can read more about this here: http://www.davestravelcorner.com/articles/nepal/19.htm
#2 Oman and Yemen two years ago. We rented a Humvee and drove all over the desert and into the mountains through small roads, forging across huge rocks, rivers and insanely narrow *steep* roads with this type of vehicle. The freedom of this trip was huge – we were in the world’s largest desert, the Desert of the Empty Quarter and we were able to drive nearly everywhere we steered the vehicle. Tracks led off from the one main north south paved road. These dirt tracks – next to a sign identifying distances to the next city were barely visible. The cities were hundreds of miles away across the desert! We spent all day driving in the desert near the Saudi Border and we saw no other people or cars on the severely rutted roads.
Entering Yemen without prior visas was done under the cover of darkness – where we had to abandon the car on the Oman side and jump in a small van which would take us to the next town. There were no hotels in the next town so after spending several hours with men inside a small house drinking tea and eating we finally were rescued by the town’s chief of police where we slept in his house next to all his AK47’s and other nasty looking weaponry. We spent our time in northern Yemen being shuttled between towns by the chief of police of each town!
An extended trip through Argentina and Peru several years ago which involved lots of shopping, wine tasting and then mountain climbing and of course altitude sickness (you gotta know me to understand that one!). We visited deserts, jungles, the ocean, and some of the most beautiful jagged mountains on the planet in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca. We climbed glaciers and trekked to a stunning aquamarine lake fed by glaciers and a waterfall.
#1 Trip from Hell
This was a trip to the East Coast and Florida I took in the closing year of the 20th century. These parts of the USA as it were, do not have too much to do with the hellish trip, rather it was the circumstances that were involved. I had just wrapped up building a solar car from scratch with a team of about 30 students over 3 years, putting hours upon hours of effort into this project, extending classes for another year and just barely completing vehicle in time for the race. We raised nearly $200,000 in money and materials and had the support of the univeristy. We all had no sleep, lack of food and water after driving 58 hours straight in shifts across the entire continent. After making it through a number of qualifiers some of our electrical systems prevented us from racing. A call to the University’s president from John F Kennedy’s gravesite resulted in leaving a message on his personal voice mail with the bad news. We were utterly exhausted the entire trip.
For more punishment, we then trailered the car down to Florida where it was in the middle of July. Florida during this time of year can pose some problems. We were greeted in the Everglades with thick black swarms of mosquitoes which dove in to attack you and got in your ears, nose, eyes and any orifice they could. Running from the car to the bathroom was a unique challenge and then trying to use the urinals presented further problems with the black clouds following you indoors. Oh yea!