"This is the first time I have had time to really get to know Americans (my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers) from other parts of the country and try to understand their point of view on political issues, ethnic traditions and all around general way of being."
"I was astounded to discover these people who had so little, expressed so much joy. I grew up in a society where material possessions were meant to equal happiness."
“If we would do everything our way we wouldn’t be doing much here, so we are embracing it as much as possible.”
"At this point I was desperate for money and so I started working in the hostel for free accommodation and took on any other jobs I could get."
Jess holidayed for two weeks without taking a single photo (the above image is from a previous trip!). Here's what she learned.
"I had never visited a communist country before Cuba, and the reality check was unavoidable."
Despite the incessant homesickness and the daily challenges, I was happy. I could feel my brain expanding by the minute. Everything was new and interesting and I knew I was going to be forever changed – and that in itself felt strangely exhilarating.
"It wasn’t until the trip got closer and people starting telling me stories of others failing to reach the summit (including professional athletes) that I started to get concerned about the physicality of it."
"It was amazing. I spoke French in Cannes where we visited mid-film festival. Having 'done' Rome before, we whizzed around the main attractions in three hours. I adored Croatia, and with all inclusive meals onboard I ate a lot and relaxed by the pool when we were cruising."
“A faint glow emerged on the horizon, a welcome change from the blackness of the night. Slowly, the landscape lit up. Never had I been happier to see the sunrise. Tears pricked my eyes and a warm glow flooded my body. I was so proud of myself for making it this far. But I still had a long way to go."
"The sun rose beautifully but we had only sailed a mere 3-5 km towards land all night! We were a little closer and I thought to myself, “Ahhh it’s going to be a good day”. It’s hard not to think that way when you have such beautiful scenery. I made Franco and I our usual stronger-than-crack type coffee and some breakfast, feeling elated. Then I walked up on deck, all smiles. But Franco had an air of sorrow and melancholy about him. The wind was dying again…"
"The biomes are impressive displays of scientific prowess and artistic beauty. But what impressed me most about this tourist attraction - often referred to as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ - was the spirit in which it was created."
"This cyclone of self-guilt leads me down all of the other times I’ve made similar decisions; charging into environments without maybe fully appreciating the circumstances until completely immersed without any way to back out. The first thing that jumps out at me is something that has shadowed my life over the past 7 years."
"As you watch the donkeys carry on their way, all you really want to do is follow them to where they are going."
“Penguins?” she looks at us incredulously. “You went to see the penguins?” (kind of a mix between ‘why would you do that?’ and ‘is that a thing?’)
“Wiping my eyes, I made a promise to myself that I would use all the information and education I have been lucky enough to receive to educate, advocate and spread the message of conservation, animal protection and education to as many people as I could.”
"...we darted through the darkness in hidden alleyways, crossed time-worn bridges and passed glittering canals. Little did I know at this point that Venice already had me under its spell."
"I’m not sure if it was the alcohol or the fact that we were all a little emotional about returning back home the next day, but when Vincento explained to us that to him, Palermo, his home town, is 'magic', something clicked in me."
"As we arrived at the resort from our homes across Canada, there was something so magical hearing your name screamed out in excitement across the lobby, arms open in true embrace, laughter and yes, some tears, as we finally were brought together from the cold north to the tropical heat. How cool is that? Being so far away from home yet feeling so at home? Bliss."
"Mel and I lay on the beach and talked about life, swam and surfed constantly, met new friends and generally made the most of living in such a magical spot for a short moment in time."
"The course weaved around the city, and gave me outstanding views of the Seine, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Grand Palace, Chateau de Vincennes, and of course I could see the Eiffel Tower in the background at many different points. It was a bit surreal, seeing all of these iconic landmarks that I had only ever seen in books and movies. Sort of like running through a fairy tale…"
"When I tell people I ran across Africa, they awkwardly change the conversation. It’s as if they think, she must have said the wrong word there, no one runs across Africa!"
“My heart sank as I watched her mouth the words ‘there is no way you are going to make your flight so you can just relax’. Relax?!? Forget that! I grabbed my passport and boarding pass from her (crotchety old) hands and set off on The Amazing Race: Toronto Airport Edition.”
"I depleted all the Euros I had on me (ready to be converted into Serbian Dinar when I arrived) to catch the next connecting flight to Zurich. Strong winds above the Swiss Alps left the pilot unable to land which meant I had to backtrack to Ghent if I wanted to get to Serbia at all. Sixteen hours later I arrived with no money, no luggage and almost no life left in me."
"While visiting these spots, it occurred to me that taking a selfie with a giant monument or a minuscule masterpiece is, you know, really embarrassing. Not to mention logistically awkward. What trumped the embarrassing solo selfie for me, it turned out, were the numerous meals for one I had to embark on."
Thank you for visiting! Here you will find a collection of travel stories from women around the world. We post new ones each week and every one is as unique and varied as the next. Enjoy!