Travel With Bender

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Highlights

102 Things I Did For the First Time… Because Of Nomadic Travel

Today marks 3 years from the time we left Perth, Australia to embark on our crazy nomadic journey around the world. Little did I know that day what would unfold over the following 1095 days. Too much to tell in 1 story (well, that’s what this blog is for after all!). But here’s a short list of just a few things I did for the first time in the last 3 years. 

Defended my child’s ice cream from wild savage monkeys at the majestic Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur.

Scored $0 flights from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.

Enjoyed a weekend on Asia’s most beautiful island: Boracay, Philippines.

Witnessed firsthand the devastating flooding of Manila, Philippines (in 2012).

Rode in a rusty, yet colourful, jeepney in Philippines.

Missed every ride at Disneyland Hong Kong thanks to Chinese school holidays.

Survived (barely) the “gem scam” in Bangkok

Released one paper lantern amongst 20,000 others at the Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Rode in a tuk tuk (3-wheeled auto rickshaw) in Thailand.

Followed in the footsteps of Anthony Bourdain, discovering the best street food in Penang, Malaysia.

Randomly met a reader of my blog during a Chinese festival in Penang, Malaysia.

Held a party with 8 travelling families who I’d never met before.

Took my kids to the bright lights of Las Vegas.

Road tripped from New York to Miami to escape winter.

Cruised the Caribbean.

Ate the world’s best tacos in Mexico.

Climbed the ancient Mayan pyramid in Coba, Mexico.

Snapped photos in front of Josh’s childhood bucket list topper, Chichen Itza.

Cliff-jumped into cenotes in Mexico (naturally occurring freshwater pools).

Crossed international borders by speedboat.

Crossed international borders by bus (definitely an unusual thing coming from Australia).

Lived on a Caribbean island.

Swam with sharks, stingrays and turtles in the wild.

Snorkelled along the world’s second largest barrier reef.

Bribed border security personnel.

Took an overnight bus ride and an overnight train ride.

Performed charade-style gestures at a pharmacy in Guatemala trying to explain what type of medicine I needed for my son.

Got pickpocketed at the world’s largest Easter festival, Semana Santa in Antigua, Guatemala.

Survived driving in Puerto Rico (that was nuts!).

Witnessed the bioluminescent bay in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Paid US$125 for a ticket to Lost World of Atlantis in the Bahamas.

Cruised the Bahamas.

Sun-baked in St Kitts.

Almost touched a landing jumbo jet on world-famous Maho Beach, Sint Maarten.

Partied like it was 1999 on Bourbon St, New Orleans.

Road tripped the Pacific Northwest of the USA in a bright green and purple van.

Sailed under San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

Recorded music at the EMP Museum, Seattle.

Celebrated New Years Eve in Time Square, New York.

Shared our kids’ wonder as they saw their first real snow on Christmas Eve in New York City.

Rang the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia (when no one was watching! Shhh!).

Flew with an airline that ran out of toilet paper (twice!).

Took my kids to Israel (I swore I’d never do that).

Cried over my son’s fractured wrist.

Stood in complete awe at Petra, Jordan.

Watched my kids play with mud at the Dead Sea, Israel.

Entered the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.

Flew in a hot air balloon across Love Valley in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Swam at the juncture of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas in Oludeniz, Turkey.

Visited Asia and Europe on the same day in Istanbul, Turkey.

Met my parents in Italy for a romantic Mediterranean cruise (extra romantic because of the kids club!).

Stood in the ancient ruins of Ephesus, Turkey.

Road tripped Italy, France and Spain with my parents.

Drove the death-defying winding roads of Italy’s Amalfi coast.

Experienced bitter disappoint at Pompeii.

Slept in a 17th century monastery on the hills overlooking Florence, Italy.

Had my car towed by the French police.

Found immense beauty in France inside an underground cave.

Ogled ridiculously expensive cars in Monaco.

Ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

Gawked at Gaudi’s art in Barcelona.

Attended a travel blogging conference in Ireland.

Road tripped the whole of Ireland in 12 days.

Experienced our first house sitting assignment in the Irish countryside (and found a 4-leaf clover).

Stood (a little too close to the edge) on the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland (also known as the “Cliffs of Insanity” from the movie, The Princess Bride).

Stayed in some of the most expensive and lavish hotels in London.

Slept on a houseboat in Amsterdam.

Climbed to the top of a wooden windmill in The Netherlands.

Rode a monster scooter down a mountain in Switzerland.

Visited the Porsche Museum in the birthplace of the motor vehicle: Stuttgart, Germany.

Sang “the hills are alive with the sound of music” on the actual mountains where “The Sound of Music” was filmed in Salzburg, Austria.

Saw the creepy bone chapel near Prague, Czech Republic.

Crossed international borders into Bosnia without a passport (when we should have, whoops!).

Water slid with sharks in Dubai.

Ate a traditional dinner and watched a belly dancer in the middle of the Arabian Desert.

Spent 3 days in the world’s largest mall in Dubai.

Found out about a place called Malta and enjoyed 5 days there.

Watched my 5-year-old daughter abseil down a steep seaside cliff in Malta.

Spent 15 nights touring 5 Greek islands.

Ate more than I ever have in my life in Greece.

Fell in love with Greek food (sorry Mexican, you’re #2 now).

Flew to Bulgaria, because it was the cheapest and shortest flight out of Greece.

Found the worst food of my life (in Bulgaria).

Loved the Bulgarian countryside more than the Black Sea coast.

Watched mechanical goats butting heads in front of hundreds of wide-eyed onlookers in the centre of Poznan, Poland.

Cruised the picturesque Danube River in Budapest, Hungary.

Drank butterbeer at Harry Potter Studios, London.

Enjoyed an impromptu weekend in Rome with my little sister.

Watched wild elephants in Sri Lanka.

Hung out of a moving train in Sri Lanka.

Jumped on trampolines 150 feet below the ground.

Met the real Santa Claus in Rovaniemi, Finland and crossed the Arctic Circle.

Rode a sled pulled by husky dogs through the snowy forest in Finland.

Rode a sled pulled by reindeer and then ate reindeer stew in Finland.

Explored Dracula’s castle in Transylvania.

Flew in a helicopter over Melbourne, Australia.

Discovered the Great Ocean Road in Australia.

Rode a 102-year-old wooden roller coaster in Melbourne, Australia.

Attended my first yoga class in Bali.

Ate noodles for breakfast in China (and did not enjoy it).

Ate salad for breakfast (and enjoyed it).

Gained amazing friendships all over the world.

 

Wow!

Looking at this list it seems almost fictional. But I can attest that all this is true and more. But I want to encourage you with a profound yet utterly simple thought. All of these amazing “first times” occurred because of 1 single choice. The same choice you can make today as well. The choice to chase your dream.

Who knows if tomorrow will ever come? Make the most of today!

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"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by Alexis on
Great post! We are working towards a RTW trip in a few years and I am so excited to share some of these experiences with my kids:)
Posted by Amanda on
So amazing and inspiring. It seems overwhelming, but it is so attainable if you just get out there and travel!
Posted by Cathie on
Amazing list! Totally amazing! Good on you!
Posted by Chloe on
Love Love Love that post! Really inspirational! Can't wait for next 1st timers..
Posted by Leah T on
I had done more of those than I expected but plenty I would still love to do! I want to be like you when I grow up!! LOL
Posted by Cristy on
We just can't seem to take the plunge! We are so concerned about the schooling once we return to oz. The teachers I have spoken to have said the children will be behind and will have to repeat the year they had missed. We probably wouldn't be too concerned if they were all primary, but 3 of the 4 next year will be in high school.
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