The staff here at Essential Travel are all strange and interesting in their own way, but everyone has one thing in common: we love to travel. It makes sense, since writing about the travel industry is what puts food on our tables.
So this week we took the time to pose the question to one another: What was your best and worst travel experience, and where is your dream destination...? Read our first instalment below.
Featured Blogger: Frances Bailey
Favourite Holiday Experience
Puffin-Spotting in Harris
I went to the Outer Hebrides to visit a friend, her husband and their ferret. For those of you who don't know, the Outer Hebrides are the outer western isles in (or more accurately near) Scotland, and they're not that easy to get to from London. After a plane ride, a bus ride, a bumpy ferry ride and a three-hour car journey, I arrived at the magnificent isle of Harris with its heather-strewn cliffs and waters so sparkling blue they could rival any tropical island. Of course it was July at the time, but days that last until 10pm are a novelty for a girl from Pretoria who is used to dusty dry summers and clockwork daylight hours.
I learnt a few things on that trip - some people still shoot pheasants for dinner, ferrets smell REALLY bad (especially if kept indoors) and it is possible to have an incredibly unique holiday in one week. Some of the highlights included spotting puffins and learning to fish on a small boat in the loch, shooting clay pigeons (or rather missing clay pigeons) and becoming acquainted with the warm island folk. The only drawback was that I entertained serious fantasies of becoming a crofter and buying a few highland cattle, but you know the old adage: "once a city girl.."
Your Worst Holiday Experience
A Muddy Music Fest
The phrase "worst holiday" may be a bit of a contradiction in terms, but I'd say my most uncomfortable holiday was a particularly rainy Easter weekend at Splashy Fen. Splashy Fen is a music festival in Underberg, a town in KwaZulu Natal that has the magnificent Drakensberg as its backdrop. It features many up-and-coming, as well as established South African artists and is a popular spot for ageing hippies and families. The worst experience bit came in when by night two every single item of my clothing, as well as our tent, was sopping wet and caked in mud. Coming home to a hot shower has never felt so good.
Your Dream Destination
Italy For Beginners
Unbelievably, I am yet to go to Italy. But truth be told, the entire Mediterranean would feature at the top of my bucket list. The reason I want to go there is the same reason it's always teeming with tourists: history + culture + beauty + atmosphere is hard to recreate artificially. I think you can never visit all your dream destinations in your lifetime - once one is ticked off, another three will appear on the list - but I do hope to see the Mediterranean in this lifetime still.
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