After reading a post about “pinch me” moments by three talented women who travel the world for their careers; I was inspired to share some of my own travel experiences that I have savored and collected over the years. Here are my favorite “Pinch Me” Moments to illuminate why I travel:
Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina
It was incredible. After planning for a year, flying over 6,400 miles from home, crossing choppy waters on a small boat, trekking across ice with clunky crampons fixed to our shoes, bundled in wind and waterproof clothing -- there we stood. Together. On top of this majestic glacier at the bottom of the Earth. Beautiful. Pristine. Humbling. Quiet. Spiritual...The Perito Moreno Glacier, the centerpiece of Los Glaciares National Park in Patagonia, is Nature’s work of art that words cannot adequately describe. We ascended with expert guides leading our small group, including my family and close friends who were our travel companions. Single-file, we snaked our way up one side of the glacier. On our climb we stopped to peer into icy blue crevasses, deep in the glacier. We saw up close the pure beauty of ice formations. The children lay down on their stomachs on the ice to drink the crystal-clear water. Eventually, we had to descend. Once we were safe on flat ground, our gracious Argentinian guides surprised us with an invitation to enjoy chocolates and a shot of amber whiskey, poured in tiny glasses on a big bed of ice at the mouth of the glacier. And why not? As successful “mountaineers for a day” on this magnificent glacier, we had a lot to celebrate! That December day when my husband, three children and I were in the presence of the great glacier; I felt this intense responsibility to protect and preserve it for future generations. To breathe deep, take it all in, and never forget.
One Spring morning on a vacation to Kailua Kona, Hawaii, I happily joined my two teen daughters and their friends to stand-up paddle-board on Kahuwai Bay. We paddled out, the warm air filled with the girls’ chatter as they effortlessly pushed their boards forward. The sea below us was breathtakingly beautiful. It’s teal hue the color of flawless aquamarine gemstones. When the beach behind us shrank to a narrow strip, the five girls stopped and pulled up their paddles to play a game called “piano keys” - they lined-up their boards side-by-side, then ran across, until inevitably they fell into the water, their giggles contagious as they eagerly awaited their turn. Afterwards, they rested flat on their boards; content to be lulled by the ocean and warmed by the tropical sun. Until the next wave of teen energy overcame them, and they popped up, stood on their boards, paddles set, ready to race. “We have to come back tomorrow and do this again!” one exclaimed into the wind, the others nodding in agreement. Their long, tangled hair whipped across their grinning faces as they glided toward the shore. It may have been lost on them; but for me, relaxing with my girls, observing their carefree joy away from the hectic pace at home, I had no doubt that nothing is sweeter than island time.
Viti Levu, Fiji
There are few sights in the world as stunning as the night skies in the Southern Hemisphere. One warm, still evening on Natadola Beach on Fiji's main island of Viti Levu when my children were small, we were walking with friends after dinner when we stopped, tilted our heads up and exhaled. The bright stars and constellations in the South Pacific sky were brilliant over our heads, like a firework show caught in a still frame. “Look, look!” our children excitedly pointed as we all worked to identify star clusters and guess the names of the unfamiliar silver-white shapes that comprised the Southern Hemisphere constellations. The simplicity, magic and wonder of those moments on that tropical night with my children close, still make me smile.