Places Around The World That I Shall Never Forget

Places Around The World That I Shall Never Forget

By |2017-03-25T00:59:15+00:00January 20th, 2014|Perspectives, Travel Tales|96 Comments

Around the World
Who would have thought that sitting on a stone wall in the middle of the jungle would play such a role in my life? It was 1999. It was Angkor Wat, Cambodia. It was the location where I first decided that a life of indefinite travel might be the life that I was looking for.

And as that random idea slowly became reality, and the years of wandering around the world passed by, I made sure that I never forgot that stone wall. I made sure that I never forgot the mesmerizing, ancient temple that was in front of me at the time or the dense jungle, the first jungle I had ever seen, that surrounded me.

While I always talk about the people I meet being the most rewarding aspect of a life of travel, let’s face it, sometimes people can truly ruin our day. Since I started traveling, I’ve been vomited on, spit on and hissed at. I’ve been peed on, yelled at, chased down the road, pickpocketed, threatened, shoved and hit by a car. I’ve been ripped off, tricked, cheated and just absolutely screwed over.

I still love people of course but man, I must admit that I’m also grateful for those special places out there, those spots and locations around the world that have provided me with some time to just be alone with my thoughts, those spots and locations that have etched themselves into my memory or have changed the course of my life forever, for one reason or another.

That wall, that temple, that jungle at Angkor Wat, Cambodia, back on December 31st, 1999, is one such example for me.

This post is to celebrate the locations that prove so meaningful to each of us during our adventures. And it doesn’t matter how well-known or unknown a particular place may be or what other people think of the place either. All that matters is that a single spot on this planet had a major impact on our life at some point in time.

My Favorite Spots Around the World

It’s not every day that I find myself in the middle of nowhere, in Yemen, standing on a massive rock jutting far out over a valley below, with a view so appealing that I could have spent one month right there without moving or ever closing my eyes. Why would I want to close my eyes when I had such a sight before me?

Bokur viewpoint, Yemen

Luckily, however, I didn’t spend one month there in the end. If I had, I would have missed the opportunity to stand in a location that even fewer people will ever get a chance to see, a place so spectacular that even six months after my visit, I still had a difficult time believing was real. The only reason I know it wasn’t actually a dream is because I still have a piece of my boarding pass from my flight to Socotra Island

Qalansiya, Socotra Island, Yemen

Other locations have forced me to realize how lucky I am to be traveling, how lucky I am to be in a place that I never would have known about had I not thrown that backpack on my back and taken that first step into the world…

Magura, Romania - hiking

That might be the Piatra Craiului Mountains above, in the heart of Romania or surreal Fanning Island, Kiribati, an island of 300 people way out there in the middle of the South Pacific, both of which have helped shape who I am…

Fanning Island, Kiribati

There’s no way I can explain the feeling I had when I spent a couple of days along the too-gorgeous-to-be-real Napali coastline on the Hawaiian island of Kauai or when I drove from Darwin to Broome, straight through the most absolute nothingness I have ever seen, up there in the northwest of Australia, or when I just sat under the trees in the zocalo of Valladolid, Mexico, listening to the sweet tunes of a mariachi band, all while observing, and welcoming, the thoughts, the questions, the answers, the inspiration, the clarity, that those surroundings provided me.

And as I stated in my last post, you can call me a tourist for visiting, and enjoying, Las Vegas. Well, you can also call me a tourist for stating that I’ll take that touristy cable car up to the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa any day, or that I’ll gladly contemplate life while looking out over the magnificent New York City skyline from 88 floors above the ground.

NYC from 88th floor

I’ll also always remember, as a younger, more naive traveler, crossing that rickety foot bridge over the Hunza River, just outside the small village of Passu, Pakistan. I remember stopping for a few moments half-way across, wondering if I was still on planet Earth as I stared at the magical Karaokaram Mountains, and knowing full well that after a visit into this remote, unchartered land, my life would never be the same again…

Passu, Karaokaram Mountains, Pakistan

So, as I sit here today and allow my mind to wander through the years behind me, I instantly recognize that, from the Geirangerfjord in Norway to the Gros Morne National Park outside of Cornerbrook, Newfoundland, from the brilliant views of colorful Bundi, India while high up on the hill above town to my stay at the remote Bengstskar Lighthouse in the Archipelago Sea some 25 kilometers off the coast of Finland, I have repeatedly been inspired by so many remarkable places that I have visited during my travels.

Geirangerfjord, Norway

Bengtskar Lighthouse, Archipelago Sea

And these are the kind of places that, for me personally, didn’t simply make for good photos. These are the kind of places that had such an impact on my life, both due to the location itself as well as the period of my life that I happened to come across them, the kind of places where I distinctly remember a change, maybe a change in my way of thinking or in my beliefs or maybe a change in my goals or dreams.

Yes, I love the people I meet every day during this adventure of mine, but heck, I sure won’t forget many of the places I’ve been to either.

And I’m certain that every traveler would say a similar thing.

What are some of the special places that have had a major impact on your life? For those who have yet to travel, what are some of the places you absolutely can’t wait to experience?


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  1. Naman Kumar October 3, 2018 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    You know I have always believed that things happen for good and a single instance can change your direction of life! Being a traveler is a bliss and nowhere you can find this kind of satisfaction! Great post Earl!

  2. Felicity June 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    Glad that you put the Geirangerfjord in Norway on the list. I wonder whether you’ve been to Preikestolen in Stavanger or not…it is a spectacular place.

    What about Mt. Bromo in East java- Indonesia? and Raja Ampat islands (Papua-Indonesia)…. hoping that you will have chance to go there, or have you?

    • Wandering Earl June 24, 2014 at 12:28 am - Reply

      Hey Felicity – I’ve been to Stavanger and Preikstolen actually, another beautiful place of course!

      I have not been to Java though, one day…

  3. Nate Webb February 21, 2014 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Hey Earl!

    I know I’m a little late to this post, but this was very well written and speaks to all travelers. By far one of my favorite posts. I remember sitting on the rocky shore of Corniglia, Italy watching the waves crash and feeling the mist fly by with some of my best friends, contemplating my life and finding out that I wanted something more than the 9-5 american dream that many of my classmates dreamt of. It is because of wanderers like you and many others that I hope to one day (in the near future) travel for a living and (crossing my fingers) start a successful travel blog. Thank you for everything you do!

    Nate Webb

    • Wandering Earl February 21, 2014 at 2:25 pm - Reply

      Hey Nate – You’ll make it happen if it you stay focused on that goal!

  4. Ross February 20, 2014 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Wow. Those photos are brilliant. That photo on the bridge in Pakistan looks extremely dodgy and the rock in Yemen is class. Great post.

  5. Tyler February 18, 2014 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Hey Earl,
    I LOVE your blog man!! I only check out a few on a regular basis and your one of em’! I am currently beginning what will hopefully be a very loooooong travel in May starting in Oz. My own blog is brand new and in its juvenile stages but any advice for an aspiring travel blogger would be much loved!! Thanks!! Tyler.

    • Wandering Earl February 20, 2014 at 4:45 am - Reply

      Hey Tyler – Congrats on your upcoming trip and on your blog as well! If you want to send me an email through the site, we can discuss your blog in more detail.

  6. Caolyn James February 17, 2014 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    I also really enjoyed your post about being up in the clock tower for an hour & a half, and how it cleared your mind. Being around water, or somewhere up high does seem to help with clarity. Somebody told me once that a lot of spiritual communities are situated in such places. It may be the negative ions! Here’s a mainstream article about it:

    Myself, I am dreaming of swimming in the cenote in Yucatan some day. Any trip with lots of swimming and maybe some high places too … perfect.

  7. Juliachou February 16, 2014 at 1:49 am - Reply

    you have been to a bunch of amazing places. I am planing to go to kirabati, this places seems surreal !

  8. Stendhal February 9, 2014 at 2:16 am - Reply

    This is a great post and i totally agree! The moral of the story is you will really never know what place will have an impact in your life! Keep on rocking Earl!

  9. Betty February 5, 2014 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    Earl, thanks for another inspiring post. What incredible pictures! One place I won’t soon forget is the region in Michoacán where the monarchs migrate to in the winter. I was there 2 weeks ago at the El Rosario and Sierra Chincua Biosphere reserves and seeing the monarchs huddled en masse on the oyamel fir trees and fluttering when the sun came out, was truly magical. Another place is Erg Chebbi in the Sahara at Sunset. Stunning.

  10. […] Places Around The World That I Shall Never Forget from Wandering Earl […]

  11. Jaunting jen February 3, 2014 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    Earl, this is ne of my favorite posts of yours! Awesome!

    • Wandering Earl February 5, 2014 at 5:47 am - Reply

      Thank you Jen!!

  12. Laura @ RoamFarAndWide February 3, 2014 at 2:41 am - Reply

    Walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain changed me. It gave me a new confidence about traveling.

    Crete is my special place. Sometimes there is no explaining why you feel so “right” in certain parts of the world. It was in Crete that I declared that I am never going to return to my old life. New paths have to be made and I am willing.

    Namibia is next on my list. I leave in a week and I am giddy with excitement.

    Great post. Got me thinking.

    • Wandering Earl February 5, 2014 at 5:49 am - Reply

      Hey Laura – Enjoy Namibia!!

  13. Tati February 1, 2014 at 1:34 am - Reply

    Earl… I have being reading your posts and various other blogs trying to prepare myself for the worst that can happen during my travels. However I can’t seem to form a scene where I will be “peed on”! How does one live through that? lol

    • Wandering Earl February 5, 2014 at 5:40 am - Reply

      Hey Tati – Just go to India and you’ll see what I’m talking about 🙂

      • Crazy Sanchez February 19, 2014 at 4:26 am - Reply

        Indeed. When you wrote “Since I started traveling, I’ve been vomited on, spit on and hissed at. I’ve been peed on, yelled at, chased down the road, pickpocketed, threatened, shoved and hit by a car. I’ve been ripped off, tricked, cheated and just absolutely screwed over,” I was half-expecting you to add “and that was in my first hour outside of Delhi airport.”

        It also would have made me chuckle if you’d said “And that was in the my first week in Switzerland.”

        • Wandering Earl February 20, 2014 at 4:35 am - Reply

          @Crazy Sanchez – I could see how one might think that! But luckily, that was all over a 14 year period instead 🙂

  14. Round the World we go January 30, 2014 at 7:52 am - Reply

    What a great post! Those photos are just as inspiring as your words. Cannot wait to fulfill my needs for RTW travel!

  15. Mark Mitchell January 29, 2014 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Great post….The Mountain Hostel in Gimmelwald, Switzerland. Rustic little place tucked away high up in the Swiss Alps, only reachable by cable car, but wow is it worth the stay! Absolutely awe-inspiring, nothing like waking up in the morning, walking outside and being smacked in the face with pristine beauty of the top of the Swiss Alps. It’s like visiting the inside of a postcard…images that will never leave me, one of those places that just force you to sit back, breathe deep, and be thrilled to be alive

  16. Nick January 29, 2014 at 12:22 am - Reply

    The beaches and cliffs of Cabo de Gata in Spain have to be the most beautiful and awe striking places I’ve seen in my life. I haven’t been to many places YET, but to end a trip to Almería by seeing the incredible landscape next to the vast Mediterranean Sea had me speechless. I had a hard time leaving because I could have just stood there all day to gaze upon such perfection! The rocks, the water, the setting sun, the warm sand, the mountains behind me; there’s nothing else I could have asked for that day! That time spent on the coastline will forever be a reminder of why I must continue to travel. It was a flawless end to an ideal trip.

  17. Kabamba January 28, 2014 at 8:52 am - Reply

    Robben Island Cape Town was the epitome of my visit to Cape Town in 2013. I will go back.

  18. Sergio Romero January 27, 2014 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    One of the most recent life changing moments which has truly proven to shift the direction of my life that I didn’t expect prior was spending New Year’s Day on a motor boat with two other beautiful souls in Syracuse, Sicily. The light that glistened a silvery light onto the surface of the water from the over-cast sky changed me so, so much that I did not extend my teaching contract this semester in Rome, Italy and I’m well on my way to travel the seven seas, literally.

    Earl, your blog posts are always a breath of fresh air to the soul. I’m very glad you’ve had many transcendent experiences while pursuing your passion. I too hope to have many more.

    • Wandering Earl January 29, 2014 at 9:26 am - Reply

      Hey Sergio – Seems like quite a powerful experience you had…anything that changes the course of our lives like that is something you will never forget I’m sure. Thanks for reading as always!

  19. Kate (The Lost Londoner) January 26, 2014 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    My moment probably came when I was in Barcelona and I had this overwhelming urge to stay there and learn Spanish. I wondered what I was actually doing with my life and worried that I couldn’t change it as rapidly as I would like.

    This year I’m travelling for a year across Asia and Australia. I absolutely cannot wait. Reading about your adventures spurs me on through the fear of leaving my secure life behind.

  20. Erin January 26, 2014 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Hella inspirational. Thanks for sharing and for continuing to challenge me to pursue a life of travel!

  21. Banker in the Sun January 26, 2014 at 7:34 am - Reply

    What a list, and pictures to match! The name of the game is inspiration. Norway and Yemen are definitely at the top of my list, and I love how you always include a location back in the States.

  22. Jesse Logister January 26, 2014 at 4:49 am - Reply

    What a nice blog post, and such beautiful pictures. Thank you so much for the inspiration. I am also full time traveling, and places like the one you show in the post are the reason why I get up out of bed every day, to explore the world, motivated to discover and being amazed.

    I always love places which are not easy to reach and make me feel like I am at the end of the world. For example Cape Reinga in New Zealand, or more recently Pantai Kerachut (turtle beach) in Malaysia. Other places that always gives me goosebumps, are the skylines of Tokyo and Yokohama. Getting introduced to Japan changed my life tremendously.

  23. Jennifer Kolbuc January 25, 2014 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    Great round up! There are some places that you can just never forget. Have to say the Bolivian Salt Flats was one for me. It is truly a surreal landscape, a photographers dream! Even though it was freezing cold and we’d been on a 3 day tour living on basic food supplies and cramped into the back of a 4X4 all day, finally arriving to the salt flats made it all worth it! Photos just can’t do this place justice.

  24. Nina @ WhereintheWorldisNina January 25, 2014 at 8:22 am - Reply

    Absolutely beautiful Earl. Exactly. It’s not just about the awesome photos or cool sights. It really does matter what it does to your soul when you are there. What period in your life… What about that place that speaks to you. For me, it was Pai in Thailand. 🙂

  25. Pavan Meshram January 25, 2014 at 6:23 am - Reply

    Great post man! Amazing places! Some of the pictures are breathtaking! I liked the picture of the Geirangerfjord in Norway and also loved the Fanning Island in Kirbati! They are paradises on earth! Simply amazing!:-)

  26. Megan January 24, 2014 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    Man am I glad you wrote this post. I obviously love meeting new people on my travels, but I do think natural landscapes captivate me a bit more. When I’m completely awestruck by something, it forces me to chill out a bit and really appreciate this life.

    My two most recent life-changing places include the Kaçkar Mountains in northeastern Turkey, and being proposed to on top of a random mountain/volcano somewhere in Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland. Both were completely devoid of people (other than the ones I was with) and I remember feeling so calm, so content.

  27. Owen January 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    It sounds cheesy but this is post really is so inspiring ! I cannot wait to start travelling further afield again – Socotra Island looks almost other-worldy !

    Cycling down a volcano in Bali has to be my favourite travelling moment, although forgetting to put an SD card in my camera is also one of my biggest regrets !

  28. Barbara January 22, 2014 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    Fantastic post, I felt as if was traveling along with you as you described each of this amazing locations. I would have to say watching the sunrise on the summit of Haleakala, Hawaii was life changing to me. Another would be standing on a tiny bridge with my husband in Venice one evening just watching the gondolas glide by us in silence – pure joy!

  29. Carmen January 22, 2014 at 9:30 am - Reply

    So true that there are some moments in time that you certainly remember forever. One of ours would be watching the sun set in Porto, Portugal and deciding to live a nomadic lifestyle. A few months later we quit our jobs for good and now we’ve been on the road for nearly 8 months, loving every moment.
    Great post, thanks for sharing.

  30. Jenna January 22, 2014 at 6:22 am - Reply

    For me there are also a few significant travel experiences I’ve had that I feel have changed me forever. Wading through flood waters in Inle Lake in Burma, scuba diving and bbqing with newly made friends in Alexandria, Egypt, avoiding election curfew in Zimbabwe, riding motos through the Ugandan countryside… for some reason all of these experiences stand out in the same way you mentioned. There was a surreal and permanent change that took place through the experience of them. Travel is absolutely incredible 🙂

  31. Amber January 21, 2014 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    For me, Cambodia also holds a special place. It was when I fell in love with both traveling and Asia. And, now I live in Asia!

  32. Jeff January 21, 2014 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    I really loved going on safari in Africa, especially in Namibia. I also have been affected by the Middle East, as I really love the culture, desert and people of the region.

    Your posts on Yemen make me really want to go there.

  33. miki January 21, 2014 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    ah i get so frustrated trying to explain this to people! once again you’ve summed it up perfectly! but the places that i feel changed my life were the plains of swaziland in africa – where i decided that travel photojournalism was what i wanted to do, and what i would do. and right here in australia – the cape byron lighthouse in byron bay – sitting with two new met backpackers and deciding that it doesn’t matter that everyone thinks I’m crazy and dreaming too big. if i say i want to travel, I’m going to travel. i think that lighthouse was the first time I’ve ever noticeably felt complete, and ever felt so happy.

    • Wandering Earl January 23, 2014 at 5:52 am - Reply

      Hey Miki – I know that lighthouse well myself…and congrats on your decision to turn travel into a lifestyle. Once you feel that moment of pure happiness, it’s hard to give up your goals at that point!

  34. Kathy January 21, 2014 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl!
    I’ve been following your blog ever since you told me about your life long travel adventure siting next to me on that flight from London to Miami in mid-November, hope you remember me 🙂 We had a great time in Miami, and ate at some of the places you recommended!

    Your blog is a real inspiration, and I have admired your thoughts, laughed with your funny stories and touched by your honesty! Although we never got around to write a blog ourselves while backpacking in Peru and Chile, I’ve started to write travel letters to family and friends. So who knows, maybe some day I will get around to write that blog.

    We are now back home, and I’m already starting to get that itchy-feeling of “must get out there again”! In the meantime I will have the amazing experience of our recent trip. We visited some amazing places in Peru, but little can be compared to the feeling of crossing the Inti Punku (Sun Gate) of Macchu Picchu, after a four days of very though hiking, struggling with altitude, and getting the first glimpse of one of the New 7 Wonders of the world. Or hiking in Chilean Southern Patagonia. After several days of terribly bad weather, we arrived exhausted to the amazing Torres del Paine. So beautiful, so serene, so quiet, I felt in peace and united with the magnificent nature. It was a truly life-changing experience. Lofoten in Northern Norway is another place that made such an impact on me.

    I agree that Geirangerfjorden and Table mountain are amazing. Great post!

    Let me know if you ever come back to Norway/ Bergen 🙂

    • Wandering Earl January 23, 2014 at 5:59 am - Reply

      Hey Kathy – Of course I remember and I had no idea you were following the blog!

      And that’s great to know that you had such a rewarding trip, so full of seemingly challenging but incredible experiences. I really do need to visit Macchu Picchu one of these days soon!

      I shall let you know if I end up in Bergen at some point as well 🙂

  35. Mina Mahrous January 21, 2014 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    Amazing post Earl! And definitely amazing places. Just one question, when you say you were more naive when you crossed that rickety foot bridge, do you mean naive for crossing it or in general younger and more naive? I’d definitely give it a try if I had the chance! Would you do it again?

    Anyway, places that changed my life include sitting on that rock in cape Finisterre, Spain, after finishing the camino de Santiago…I believe I spent there a bit more than an hour just lost in my own head.

    I hardly remember any names, but several Indonesian mountains. Just standing on top any of them and taking in the breathtaking view makes me wonder how sad I would have been if I hadn’t decided to travel!

    • Wandering Earl January 23, 2014 at 5:55 am - Reply

      Hey Mina – I just meant that I was more naive in general. I didn’t even hesitate those days to not only cross such a bridge, but to even enter that region, which was not the safest at the time. Would I do it all again? Absolutely! But I would probably take a longer time to think things through first at this point 🙂

  36. Tracey January 21, 2014 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Now you’ve mentioned Geirangerfjord I’m reminiscing about my own Scandinavian adventures, especially the journey up to Nordkapp through Finnish Lapland.
    Of course for solitude, the Mongolian steppe cannot be beaten. I have been lucky to spend quite some time in Mongolia and every time I got out of Ulaanbaatar I felt blessed to be alive in this incredible world. The wide open spaces with no trails, just rocky outcrops to navigate by and sit upon provided the perfect meditation.
    The central square in Bukhara, sipping tea and watching the world go by is another favourite.
    I used to have a rock in a valley near where I used to live just outside Nairobi. That’s where I dreamed my big dream. I thought of that rock the other day, but I don’t go there anymore (now I live inside Nairobi). I need to find another rock though …. to help me through this implementation of my big dream 🙂

  37. Phil @ World Travel Fiend January 21, 2014 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    Standing on a rocky outcrop on Isla Espanola in the Galapagos Islands, staring out at the sea & contemplating what an isolated location I was standing in. Had let the rest of my group go on ahead so I was all alone, apart from a bunch of marine iguanas sunbathing on the rocks around me, and some seals lazing on the beach below. I don’t want to get all deep & zen or anything, but it was almost a spiritual experience.

  38. Joy January 21, 2014 at 10:49 am - Reply

    It’s great that even after people treated you poorly you can look on the bright side of things. There are so many places I want to go that I’m sure I don’t even know about yet. So far the most impact has come from hiking to Machu Picchu.

  39. Bill January 21, 2014 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Amazing photos…thank you.

  40. Betsy January 21, 2014 at 9:09 am - Reply

    Places that changed who I am. Sitting on top of a Mayan temple at Coba, it seemed like I could see the edge of the world. Waking up in the jungle in El Remate, Guatemala and the drive to Tikal at sunrise. Driving the Amalfi coast winding up the hillside to the town of Ravello. Walking amongst the runs at Paestum in southern Italy and there is absolutely no one around. The Yucatan and the Caribbean Sea. Memories forever.

  41. Anita @ No Particular Place To Go January 21, 2014 at 8:07 am - Reply

    I look forward to all your posts but this one really resonated with me. And you’re absolutely right, some places (and people, also!) make an enormous impact at certain times in our lives. P.S. Beautiful photos, too!

  42. Nadia vs. the World January 21, 2014 at 7:12 am - Reply

    “Dawn at the main square in Krakow, Poland”
    so true… I love everything about this city.

    Earl, great travel spots!

  43. Antonio Solomon January 21, 2014 at 5:48 am - Reply

    I’ve spent the last 3 years living and working in some of the US’ most remote and isolated national parks, and traveling abroad. I recently moved back home, because the dream needs funds, but I would have to say that the most significant place I have ever been to is the island of Isle Royale, in the middle of Lake Superior. The least visited national park, but gets the most repeat visitors, because it changes the lives of everyone who visits. It was the place that brought me back from the deep, saved my life, and sent me back out to live in the world again. You should definitely visit it some time.

    • Wandering Earl January 23, 2014 at 5:41 am - Reply

      Hey Antonio – I shall definitely check that out…thanks for telling me about it!

  44. Claire @ ZigZag On Earth January 21, 2014 at 4:54 am - Reply

    Wow Kiribati looks amazing!
    Personally the places that impact me most are the deserts. Currently trying to decide which one to visit next 🙂

  45. Iulia- aBeachBlog January 21, 2014 at 4:38 am - Reply

    So great you went hiking in the Romanian Carpatian mountains, they’re absolutely gorgeous and definitely off the beaten path. I grew up climbing them and it’s one of my happy places

    • Wandering Earl January 23, 2014 at 5:33 am - Reply

      Hey Iulia – I would live up there in those mountains if I could!

  46. Renuka January 21, 2014 at 3:42 am - Reply

    Lovely write-up and pictures! Well, I’d love to go back to many places. There are quite a few that have inspired me, enriched me both as a person and as a traveler. I am a greedy traveler – I have so many places yet to see and so many places I want to go back to! I’d like to spend quality time in Rajasthan, Uttarakhan and Himachal Pradesh. I have already been to these places and would like to explore them even more deeply.

  47. Gina @ Our Global Adventure January 21, 2014 at 2:16 am - Reply

    Some places just creep into the deepest corners of our soul. I agree with other comments before me, your photos are absolutely stunning, a real treat for internet travelers, and an inspiration to go out and explore.

    I think that the place that made the biggest footprint on my soul is London. Even after living there a few years, I still used to pinch myself on bus as it drove past St Paul’s, past Parliament or along the Thames. I also became pregnant with my first child there, so that has probably helped forge an emotional attachment to the great city!

  48. Eugene January 21, 2014 at 1:35 am - Reply

    I would have to say Edinburgh, Scotland. Specifically performing in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in front of thousands of people. Being on the esplanade every night was a glorious feeling.

  49. Stephen January 21, 2014 at 12:11 am - Reply

    This is great, man. I know what you mean with those certain special places, the ones that imprint themselves on your memory so hard it feels like you’ll never forget what they looked and felt and smelt and sounded like.

    My “I wanna do this forever!” moment was at a guesthouse just off the beach in Indonesia (Pantai Bira, Sulawesi) while I was talking to a Dutch couple that had lived in the country many years back.

    My ‘spot’, though, was some mountainside in the Gokyo Valley in Nepal. Alone on a towering mountain with a commanding view of glaciers in the foreground and Everest in the back… it was one of the most amazing things.

    Seeing your photos and reading about your experiences, though, reinforces that desire to get out and find new places to be amazed by too!

  50. Kiera @EasyTravelMom January 20, 2014 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    Love the pictures. I know the saying well of “it’s not about the destination but about the journey.” For me, it’s about both. I think it’s possible (and as I read, you do too) that a destination can change me or play a special part in shaping who we are. I remember so many beautiful, wonderful, exotic, different, and just plain okay places that gave me a new piece of myself. It’s a wonderful thing, this travel bug! Thanks for sharing!

  51. Aleta January 20, 2014 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    Your beautiful post today is just another reason why I look forward to your updates..
    Thank you Earl..

    • Wandering Earl January 23, 2014 at 5:35 am - Reply

      Thank you for reading Aleta!

  52. Hilarye January 20, 2014 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    What an incredible story and pictures! You are such an inspiration. My palms totally got sweaty looking at that rickety bridge in Pakistan. I’m not sure I would have been able to do it!

    • Wandering Earl January 23, 2014 at 5:35 am - Reply

      Hey Hilarye – Trust me, if you were standing at the start of that bridge and you had a chance to cross into the unbelievable mountains on the other side, you would have done it too.

  53. Madi January 20, 2014 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    Uluru in Australia it made me realise that I should see my own country (Australia) before seeing the world.

  54. […] out some blogs this morning, I read a great post from Wandering Earl (yes, another one) about the places around the world he shall never forget and how they changed him. I had prepared this quote for next week but his post made me decide to switch and share it with […]

  55. Traveling Ted January 20, 2014 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    Outside of Angkor Wat, you have quite a unique set of unforgettable places. And you are right, people are great, but they can sometimes really suck. I would pick Bako National Park in Borneo, Khao Yai National Park in Thailand, the Everglades in Florida, Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, any good cross-country ski trail with good snow, and the Lower Wisconsin River Valley in Wisconsin as some of my unforgettable places.

    • Wandering Earl January 23, 2014 at 5:37 am - Reply

      Hey Ted – That’s great to hear about Khao Yai as I’m including a few days inside that park during my Wandering Earl Tour to SE Asia that I’ll offer for later this year!

  56. NZ Muse January 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    I loved NYC, White Sands and the Grand Canyon, Grindelwald in Switzerland and Santorini in Greece.

  57. Ryan from Jets Like Taxis January 20, 2014 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    I won’t forget most of where we’ve been, what we’ve done, or who we’ve met, because all of these things shaped who we are and from where we’ve come. Alas, there are always very special things that constantly remain on the brain as a reminder of something simply life-changing and, frankly, fairly emotional.

    Really nice post, sir!

  58. Brian Hill January 20, 2014 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    Earl, Grand Canyon, Chichen Itza, Niagara Falls, Costa Rica, and many more. Puerto Vallarta, safest place I have ever been! Brian.

  59. Michele January 20, 2014 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    Since I started traveling, I’ve been vomited on, spit on and hissed at. I’ve been peed on, yelled at, chased down the road, pickpocketed, threatened, shoved and hit by a car. I’ve been ripped off, tricked, cheated and just absolutely screwed over.

    You didn’t mention kidnapped and interrogated over a bullet. Unless those fall under the “absolutely screwed over” category 🙂

    I’m so looking forward to experiencing some of these places in person!

    • Wandering Earl January 23, 2014 at 5:32 am - Reply

      Hey Michele – Good point…I guess I did just assume those fell into that category and wanted to give more general examples of unfortunate human interactions 🙂

  60. Steve C January 20, 2014 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    Earl, you never fail to amaze. I get up in the morning, put on a pot of coffee, turn on some world music then check to see if my favorite travel blogger has left me something to whisk me away to far off places. I enjoy the prod you give to get my mind working. My body is home, but my thoughts soon soar with your guidance.

    The list maker that I am, you immediately had me making notes of all the places in the world that made an impression on my psyche. Do you have all day? The nut shell version of where I was when experiencing a few of my many epiphany’s;

    On top of a live volcano in Guatemala all night with it shooting lava up a hundred feet into the air, less than a hundred feet away from where I sat. It was like a 500 pound bomb going off every few minutes all night. Then came the sunrise, a full spectrum of colors from the horizon to straight up.

    Looking down at the ultra marine blue waters from the ferry’s railing as it crossed into Greek waters from Italy, or out the train window in my “motherland” Germany as it passed the yellow mustard fields of Spring, both on my first solo backpack trip to Europe.

    Looking up 18,000 feet while trekking to the summits of the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna from the Annapurna Circuit trail in the gorge between them.

    Or, overlooking a burning pyre at night on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi, India. The smell of the smoke and the only light coming from fire torches still sends chills up my spine.

    Thanks Earl, for sending me off into memory land once again.

    • Wandering Earl January 23, 2014 at 5:26 am - Reply

      Hey Steve – That’s quite a short list! And I have a similar thing about Varanasi as well…it takes mere seconds for me to feel those chills whenever I think back to those ghats.

      The Guatemala volcano must have been unreal…I’ve spent the past few minutes trying to imagine what that would be like but of course, it’s nothing like actually being there when you were.

  61. Michelle January 20, 2014 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    That bridge looks terrifying! Was there a net underneath or can you just fall over?

    • Wandering Earl January 23, 2014 at 5:18 am - Reply

      Hey Michelle – No net at all. It’s a bridge used by locals to get to their sheep pastures on the other side of the river.

  62. Sergio Camalich Morales January 20, 2014 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Loved the post!

    I’ve had similar experiences while traveling. Right now, it comes to mind one moment, while standing on top of a sand dune at the desert of Rajasthan in India, there were only 2 more persons with me at the moment, not another soul around us for miles and miles and I was just there with a dumb smile in my face, knowing that this was it, one of the happiest moments of my life.

  63. Alana January 20, 2014 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    That bridge. Not me. Nope. Never.

  64. mintsmoothie January 20, 2014 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    Earl, I have been reading your blog and following your adventures for some time but have not yet provided a comment. Today I can’t help myself. Your post is incredible, and puts into words what I can not explain to people with regards to my endless need to travel and experience. Pictures of places regularly take me back to the feelings I experienced while there. Places that evokes strong feeling that immediately pop to mind include The Bayon, Angkor, Cambodia; Karnak Temple, Egypt; Taktsang Monastery, Bhutan; and Angel’s Landing, Zion, Utah.
    Thanks for transporting me away from my day job and back to these places – if only for a moment.

    • Wandering Earl January 23, 2014 at 5:17 am - Reply

      @mintsmoothie: Thank you for commenting and I’m glad that you managed to have a mini-vacation in the middle of your work day 🙂

      Not a bad list of special places you have there either!

  65. Patrick Smith January 20, 2014 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    This is such a great post! I love hearing about how travel affects people! 1988 we went backpacking through Turkey. Back then, no Americans would go because of the movie Midnight Express:-). We went to Goreme in Cappadocia for about a week. Just incredible! We stayed in a cave and walked through the canyons and hoodoo homes, ate great Turkish food, and visited tons of archeological and historic sites. It was awesome! Then, off to Olo Dinez beach- we chose it because we saw a poster in a shop and asked where it was. We slept in a shack for a week, laid on the beach, swam, and ate great Turkish food. We will always love Turkey and the Turkish people- it changed our lives!

  66. Forest Parks January 20, 2014 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    Amazing Earl! I think it’s extra special when the people and the place take equal seating in the experience. When the elements come together it’s truly unforgettable!

    I’d say some of the sights in New Zealand and Egypt are the ones that truly stick with me the most. I can’t wait to get to Asia one day.

  67. Staci January 20, 2014 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    This post just took my breath away. The notion that it is possible to come away from places just a little different inside is what moves me to travel. Some people connect with people. I connect with places. And you illustrated beautifully in this post that incredible exchange of energy that we can have with a particular location. I call these places my “heart” places because I think I leave a little piece of my heart in each one. Thank you so much for sharing this post.

  68. Sam January 20, 2014 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    For all the flack you give yourself in taking crappy photos, these are pretty good! It’s funny, isn’t it, how the intersection of time in your life and the place you find yourself in the world can come together in such a meaningful way like this. Lovely post, Earl.

    • Wandering Earl January 23, 2014 at 5:15 am - Reply

      Hey Sam – That’s what I’m talking about and I love how that can turn any moment in time into a memorable moment and any place, regardless of where it may be, into one of the most special locations on the planet.

  69. John Stasrr January 20, 2014 at 12:09 pm - Reply


    I have been reading your blog for a while and love it. I am thinking of doing some traveling by back pack and wondered if you had a list of the basics to take to keep things light and the travel fun.

    Thanks so much
    John Starr

  70. Ruann @ Solo Travel Uncut January 20, 2014 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Wow Earl, I am at a lack of words as to how this article is making me feel. Enchanted is the word, I guess, It’s as if I’ve just teleported to each and every one of the photos above. This is why I like reading your blog so much, the read is a trip of it’s own.

    So happy to see you’ve mentioned Table Mountain, as I’ve lived right next to it for a couple of months and still can’t put it’s beauty into words.

    As to your question, What I’ll never forget is swiftly seeing a humpback whale while diving in rural Mozambique. It wasn’t the whale alone, but the whole lifestyle I found myself in; untouched nature, a culture hidden from the world, life in its rawest form.

    Thanks for sharing these moments Earl. Your life is an inspiration to us aiming full throttle at this nomadic life.

    • Wandering Earl January 23, 2014 at 5:12 am - Reply

      Hey Ruan – Not only is it excellent that you lived so close to Table Mountain, but that you still appreciated it despite seeing it every day. It sure does offer one of the most beautiful views on the planet.

  71. Scott January 20, 2014 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Dawn at the main square in Krakow, Poland, no one about but me….

    Lauterbrünnen, Switzerland…and the waterfalls that fall above the main street. I remember wishing I could just stay and read a good book.

    Moloka’i…..anyone who has been there knows what I mean.

    Hallstatt, Austria……a true fairy tale

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