It’s time for another travel meme! This time, the theme is “my top 3 travel memories,” a relay-style meme being run by lowcostholidays.com in which bloggers are placed on teams and “pass on” the theme to another teammate at the end of each post. Big thanks to Aleah from Solitary Wanderer for passing the Team BLUE baton to me!
So. My top 3 travel memories.
Kind of a broad, generic topic, don’t you think? And also really impossible to decide on. I mean, how can I possibly narrow down years of incredible travel experiences to just three memories? The answer is, I can’t.
So I’m taking a different approach. Instead of my generic top 3 travel memories, I’m instead going to share with you my Top 3 Bad Weather Travel Memories.
Whether we like it or not, the weather can have a huge effect on any travel experience. If the weather outside is frightful, chances are that our moods are, too — and it often means we don’t fully appreciate the experience (or maybe we don’t even get to HAVE the experience) because of the rain or snow or searing heat.
I’ve had plenty of bad-weather travel experiences over the years. I’ve been snowmobiling in a blizzard in Iceland, and sweated my way to the top of the Acropolis in Athens on a day so hot that they shut the whole place down. I’ve been to castles in the rain, hiking in wind so strong that it literally would blow you over, and to beaches on days too cold to go swimming.
Having something as unpredictable as the weather influence or even ruin travel plans really sucks.
But, as someone who always tries to look on the bright side of life, I have had some pretty memorable travel moments that took place in less-than-ideal weather.
3rd Place — Ottawa in winter
Last winter, I decided I needed a vacation. But, instead of escaping to somewhere warm like the Bahamas or Mexico, I went the opposite direction: north, to Canada.
In case you weren’t aware, Canada is flippin’ COLD in the winter. I spent 5 days in the capital city of Ottawa, where it was below freezing every single day.
It was impossible to go outside without multiple layers on. And even then, the snot would freeze inside my nose and my legs would be numb from the wind within 15 minutes. But this didn’t stop me from having a great time in Ottawa.
I photographed a snowy Parliament Hill, visited museums, ate lots of soup, explored the Byward Market neighborhood, and more. Yes, it was cold. And yes, I felt like a marshmallow walking around with all of my layers on. But, at the end of the trip, I only had good memories from my frigid few days in Canada’s capital.
2nd Place — Doubtful Sound in a downpour
I had gotten lucky on my first and only visit to New Zealand’s famous Milford Sound — I’d landed on a gorgeously clear day to visit NZ’s top tourist attraction, with sun twinkling overhead and plenty of blue sky to be reflected off blue water.
My visit to lesser-known Doubtful Sound a few years later was much, much different.
The road to Doubtful Sound was all rain and sleet. The majestic Southern Alps were mostly cloud-covered, and I couldn’t even fully enjoy the boat ride across Lake Manapouri because of the driving rain. But once we got to Doubtful Sound? Well, I didn’t seem to mind the foul weather quite so much.
Doubtful Sound in the rain is mysterious. It’s quiet. It’s hauntingly beautiful. It’s the type of place where waterfalls cascade out of the clouds and swirling mist distorts the shapes of the mountains, changing each scene before your very eyes. Of the two sounds I’ve visited in New Zealand, I think I actually preferred Doubtful, despite the wet weather.
1st Place — Glacier trekking on a miserable day
The morning dawned wet, cold, and windy — all the trappings of a truly miserable day. Even just walking to the bus stop left me soaking wet and shivering, and I really couldn’t picture enjoying a hike on a giant hunk of ice.
But somehow I was convinced to head out to the Franz Josef Glacier anyway. Yes, the hour-long hike to the face of the glacier was accompanied by pouring rain. And yes, it was cold. And yes, the glacier was mostly invisible when we finally reached it.
But it didn’t matter — because we were about to hike on a glacier! Going out in the elements that day ended up being one of the best travel decisions I’ve ever made.
We were eventually rewarded for our intrepid spirits by the weather clearing up once we got on the ice. The rain stopped, the blue ice shone forth, and the whole valley was covered in hundreds of roaring waterfalls. To date, this glacier hike ranks up there as one of the coolest things I have ever done, bad weather and all.
So, next time you’re faced with bad weather on your travels, don’t fret — it could lead to a much better memory than you’d expect!
And now I’m passing the baton on to Nancie of Budget Travelers Sandbox! Go Team BLUE! If you want to follow along, follow the hashtags #teamBLUE and #bloggerrelay on Twitter.
Do YOU have any good bad-weather travel memories? Share them in the comments below!