Traveling: The Unexpected Adventures
Traveling: The Unexpected Adventures by Sara Roberts
“You do not travel if you are afraid of the unknown; you travel for the unknown that reveals you with yourself.” – Ella Maillart
It was a crisp, sunny morning as I cruised along the countryside of New Zealand. I was awestruck by the incredible views around each corner. Every bend in the road opened up to a view more stunning than the last.
As I drove I kept thinking, “I almost missed out on seeing this? “ New Zealand was a last minute addition to a very long trip, but I felt like I needed to see this country I had heard so much about. On a whim, I bought a flight, rented a car and set out on an amazing solo adventure in the most picturesque country I had ever visited. It was so freeing to drive and explore the south island, stopping to hike the Franz Josef glacier, visit beautiful waterfalls and escape into a world unknown.
As a self-proclaimed nomadic wanderer my travels have always provided time for self- discovery. Traveling forces you out of your comfort zone and plunges you into the great unknown, exposing you to new cultures, people, food and languages. It’s both challenging and exciting. My spontaneous trip to New Zealand is one example of the many incredible and unexpected moments I have had while traveling.
Every trip I have gone on has differed greatly from the last. Though the constant theme has been exploring unknown places and soaking up as much as I can from the experience. When I traveled to East Africa I took a month-long tour which sorted out the logistics associated with traveling in East Africa. This allowed me to enjoy the activities and sites and not have to worry about the details. It was one of the best travel decisions I ever made. I had amazing adventures from rafting the Nile River to hiking in rainforests to hanging with the gorillas to a breathtaking safari through the Serengeti. I traveled with great people from all over the world, enjoying the scenery throughout each country I visited and not stressing about organizing these activities or transportation.
On my first backpacking trip through Europe I planned only a few days at a time. Jumping from train to train and city to city, meeting interesting locals and travelers from all walks of life. Eating new food like lebkuchen (German cookies) and Gluhwien (hot wine) at the Christmas markets sprinkled throughout Germany. I then traveled to Naples, Italy to live with my family for a month and immerse myself in the Italian culture. Life moves at a slower pace in Italy. Meals are an event, family is valued, and if you can understand hand gestures you can communicate just fine. I looked forward to the evenings and enjoying leisurely meals with various family members that dropped in on a nightly basis. I loved walking down the streets and seeing the laundry drying on the balconies, children playing football in the street, and soaking in the smells of fresh baked bread wafting through the air. Italy opened my eyes and taught me to appreciate a slower pace of life and to live in each moment.
Every journey comes with its own unique adventures, challenges and lessons. The unexpected moments are the ones I look back on most fondly. Whether it was getting lost in Barcelona and stumbling on a fantastic tapas restaurant, or getting to explore Beijing because of an extended layover on your way to Australia, the beauty of travel is that you can’t plan everything.
That is one of the things I love most about travel, the unknown variables. As much as you try and consider every scenario sometimes life throws you curveballs. You never come home telling the stories of how everything turned out just as you had hoped, you tell the story of how you got on the wrong train and ended up in an unexpected city and discovered it was a new favorite gem. Those are the moments that make your trip. Even as I plan my next adventure I’m excited to see what unexpected tales I will return to tell. Go out and explore!