Life experience is something gained a number of ways.  As we go through life, opportunities often present themselves in ways we don’t anticipate as well as though our own planning and determination.

Not all life experiences are positive, but sometimes we may be lucky enough to experience what I like to refer to as a special snapshot of life; a Zen “moment in time” if you will.

It recently occurred to me, after a rather unpleasant travel experience, that the greater lesson in life is that you can’t let the negative incidents that occasionally occur deter you from exploring and enjoying the world and life.

It is in this spirit of reflection that I’ve listed (sorted by region, then in no particular order) some of my most treasured life and travel experiences from my thirty-plus years thus far.  These events aren’t listed lightly, they represent moments in my life where I have marvelled at the world and really felt alive.

Life Achievements

  • Getting married

There’s no easy way to underscore the importance of meeting your life partner, and then eventually marrying him or her; pledging a lifelong commitment which imbues you both from the past to the future and everywhere in between.

  • Becoming a Parent

Until the moment my eldest son was delivered, I could never quite understand why that moment is so cherished and so long remembered.  This single achievement, which happened less than five minutes drive from our home (at the time) burns deepest in my mind.  The event was so profound, we repeated the feat 19 months later when we welcomed our second son into the world.

Everything else

Africa

  • Touching the Khufu pyramid in Giza (Cairo, Egypt),
  • Face-to-face with Tutankhamen’s mask at the Cairo Museum (Cairo, Egypt)
  • Descending into an early Christian burial tomb (Alexandria, Egypt)
  • Taking in the new library of Alexandria(Alexandria, Egypt)

Asia-Pacific

  • Hiking across the Great Wall of China (Beijing, China),
  • Passenger in a glass bottomed boat atop the Great Barrier Reef (Townsville, Australia),
  • Snowboarding on Hokkaido (Hirafu, Japan)
  • Watching a live concert at the Sydney Opera House (Sydney, Australia),
  • Braving sub zero temperatures at the Ice Festival (Harbin, China),
  • Watching a key matchup on Center Court at the Australian Open (Melbourne, Australia),
  • Shopping for Anime in Akihabara (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Driving across the Harbour Bridge in a convertible at night for the first time (Sydney, Australia),
  • Riding the peak tram up to the peak at Mount Victoria (Hong Kong, China),
  • Admiring the Forbidden Palace from Tiananmen Square (Beijing, China),
  • Walking to the Chiang Kai-Shek memorial (Taipei, Taiwan),
  • Visiting Purple Mountain and the Ming Tombs (Nanjing, China),
  • Exploring the wonders of Jenolan Caves (near Katoomba, Australia)
  • Watching Siberian tigers hunt prey (Harbin, China),
  • Viewing Magna Carta at World Expo ‘88 (Brisbane, Australia),
  • Walking above the dig site at the Han museum/visiting the Terracotta Warriors (Xi’an, China)
  • Bungee jumping  at the Marina (Gold Coast, Australia),
  • Riding through the tea fields at Long Jing (HangZhou, China)
  • Blown away by the sheer complexity of the Tokyo subway (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Yelling out a huge ‘kooee’ at Echo Point (Blue Mountains, Australia)

North America

  • Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan (New York, U.S.A),
  • Watching a bald eagle swoop through traffic on the interstate (Seattle, U.S.A)
  • Ice skating in Central Park (New York, U.S.A),
  • Exploring active lava flow on the Big Island (Hawai’i, U.S.A),
  • Watching a major league baseball game at Safeco field (Seattle, U.S.A),
  • Going snow shoeing on top of Grouse Mountain (Vancouver, Canada),
  • Drawn in by the historical magnitude of Dealey Plaza (Dallas, Texas),
  • Inspecting the deck of the U.S.S Missouri (Pearl Harbour, U.S.A)
  • Riding Space Mountain with my family at Disneyland (Anaheim, U.S.A),
  • Walking the deck of the U.S.S Intrepid with Manhattan as a backdrop (New York, U.S.A)
  • Walking Hollywood Boulevard for the first time (Los Angeles, U.S.A),
  • Watching fireworks at English Bay (Vancouver, Canada),
  • Riding the rollercoaster at New York, New York (Las Vegas, U.S.A),
  • Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, U.S.A),
  • Gliding on top of the Colorado river at the bottom of the Grand Canyon (Arizona, U.S.A),
  • Walking in from the concourse at old Yankee Stadium (New York, U.S.A)
  • Living through all four seasons (Vancouver, Canada)
  • Watching the Cowboys beat the Jaguars in one of the most modern football stadiums in the world (AT&T Stadium, Dallas, Texas)

Europe

  • Standing beside the Parthenon atop the Acropolis (Athens, Greece),
  • Standing awestruck in front (and inside) of the Pantheon (Rome, Italy),
  • Sailing down the Grand Canal (Venice, Italy),
  • Crossing the Westminster Bridge listening to the chimes from Big Ben (London, England),
  • Marvelling at Gaudi’s Segrada Familia and Park Guell (Barcelona, Spain),
  • Being caught in a student protest march (Palermo, Italy),
  • Wine tasting in the Medoc (Bordeaux, France),
  • Watching the Barbary apes on the Rock of Gibraltar (Gibraltar, U.K.),
  • Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (Santiago, Spain)
  • Ascending the Eiffel Tower (Paris, France),
  • Climbing to the abbey at Mont St Michel (Brittany, France),
  • Sailing out of Southampton harbour on a large cruise ship (Southampton, U.K.),
  • Eating the perfect Greek lunch in Plaka (Athens, Greece),
  • Entering St Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City),
  • Rock climbing on top of the Mediterranean Sea (Brilliance of the Seas, just south of Rhodes, Greece)
  • Visiting the ossuary chapel (Evora, Portugal)

Middle East, South America & Antarctica

  • Have not visited (yet…)

Travel related items left on the bucket list:

  • Visit Maccu Piccu,
  • Visit Petra, Jordan,
  • See a glacier (Alaska/Canada),
  • Visit Moscow and St Petersburg
  • Drink beer in a Munich beer hall,
  • Play golf in South Africa,
  • Sail down the Danube,
  • Visit Legoworld in Denmark,
  • Drink Guinness in Ireland,
  • Ayer’s Rock (Uluru), Northern Territory, Australia
  • See the Christ Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro,
  • Visit the Galapagos islands
  • See the Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C.
  • Visit Easter Island