The Places We’ve Seen Because of this Hobby

When I suggested this topic to my editor, I thought it would be a piece of cake to write. We’ve been all around the world. We’ve visited  70+ countries and at this moment, I’m at a loss of how to explain how much these experiences have meant to us. I joined Flyertalk in 2001 at 50 years of age. We traveled mostly in our 50’s and always used miles and points to keep the cost to a minimum. We’re grateful we did it while we still had the energy, mobility, and curiosity.

Our first overseas adventure was a trip to Iceland on a $64 mistake fare. travel by car. Go to the Blue Lagoon, be ready to pay big prices when you get there and from what I hear now, its a bit more touristy than when we went.

I get asked all the time what my favorite country is. My wife and I immediately answer exactly the same: New Zealand, the south end of the South Island. Queenstown, Milford Sound, and the surrounding area. The scenery is as stunning as you’ll find anywhere in the world. We’ve been three times.

We got on a historical site kick for a couple of years visiting Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, The Great Wall of China and Terra Cotta Warriors. We did Beijing as well and enjoyed being one of the few Americans in town for the 90th Anniversary of the Communist Party. May rural Chinese were in town for the celebration and we were told on more than one occasion that we were the first Caucasians they had ever seen. I was considered a Giant and Katy a Witch with her curly red hair.  I went back to Beijing again with the same local guide, Jenny, and she took me to a local museum. Again I was the only Giant in the building and I had the opportunity to sit in the middle of the floor with a group of about third graders and try to talk to one another. Those gifts can never be forgotten or replaced. Don’t miss Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat if you are into those types of locations. Great sites, sounds, customs, costumes, and memories as well.

And I think the location that caught me most by surprise was Iguassu Falls. We stayed at the Sheraton in the Park within walking distance. We headed out early one morning down the path towards the falls. We ran into a young man emptying garbage cans along the pathway.  He got out in front of us and out of sight for a while. When we caught up with him he was sitting on a step of a scenic overlook admiring what I have described as what I expect the Gateway to Heaven to look like. It was just him, and us, and the full overview of the falls in all their glory. I’m not ashamed to admit that view brought tears to my eyes and I’ll never forget it.

We can buy fancy cars, big houses, and diamonds, but things never meant that much to us. Those sites, those sounds and those feelings of utter awe and joy are the treasures of our lives.  I’m so glad we have instilled the travel bug in our children. They are following in our footsteps.

Go see the world. It is a beautiful place to see.

[Image: Flickr/Colin Capelle]

Source: frugal travel guy

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