10 Best Travel Experiences So Far

10 Best Travel Experiences So Far

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Here at Gunns Travels, I like to promote travelling in any form. Wether it is a long haul trip or short break away, I want to use this space to encourage anyone to get out and explore; to grow as an individual. On my journey so far I have had some amazing opportunities which I will share in this post. I wanted to pick out 10 (because the list could go on and on if I don’t put a number to it!) of the best travel experiences so far.

I want to show you what is out there and what is possible if you really want to do it. Like I have mentioned in previous posts, if you want something badly enough; make it a priority and focus. It’ll happen if you want it to.

I’ll start the list off with one of the experiences that has really shaped my travelling journey and me as an individual.

Volunteering in Nepal (1)

This was a no brainer to go on this list. My love for Nepal, the people, the food, the place and culture is in abundance. You can tell from looking through this blog, my social channels or if you hear me speak about it, that this holds a pretty special place in my heart. Choosing to volunteer was something that I always wanted to do, I had experienced it before but this was the first time I really invested in it – time wise. I lived and volunteered in Nepal for a little over 3 months; it is still one of my top memories to look back on.

I’ve written a more detailed account of my time in my mountainside village of Sipadol, that you can browse to really get a feel for the experience and people I met whilst there, read here.

I would encourage anyone to do some volunteering but research into i t properly. Don’t be a ‘voluntourist’, make sure you can invest time into the people you are helping when volunteering; even beyond the project itself. I have re-visited, supported and stayed in contact with the people I met because it is important that you invest in them and not just the short term experience.

Celebrating Holi Festival in India! (2)

There are a few celebrations that I had on my bucket list for some time. I always looked at the Holi Festival with such wonder and awe. It looked like such a great celebration to experience and get to understand. I remember booking my plane ticket to India and then realising I would be in the country for the festival.

The day came and it didย not disappoint! The night before people made huge bonfires and smoke pillars filled the city of Jaipur where I was staying. The next morning I looked over the balcony of the hostel and saw people running through the streets covered in bright fluorescent powders and couldn’t believe it was actually happening! I met up with a friend and we rode a tuk-tuk out to a party that was happening and it was crazy. So much fun and everything I hoped it would be. It was really interesting learning about the meaning behind it all as well and getting to experience with locals.

I cannot recommend it enough if you are ever able to coincide your visit to India with the festivities, it really isn’t one to miss! The next date is Monday 13th March!

Seeing wild elephants in Kenya & Adopting one! (3)

My all time favourite film is: The Lion King. So it goes without saying that when I went to Kenya, I was a little bit excited. Now my favourite animal is an elephant. So getting to visit The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was also pretty exciting for me. ‘You can just stand over there, they’ll be back from their morning walk soon’ *small grey blobs come strolling through the bushes in the distance with tall green escorts at their sides* The baby elephants arrived and started having a mud bath right next to us. It was so great to see elephants finally and we left having learnt a lot about what the trust supports and the conservation work they do. We left having adopted an elephant in support of the work DSWT provide.

We also got the chance to go on safari. There was a momentย on a game drive where a wild adult elephant came right up to the jeep and I fulfilled my dream of seeing a wild elephant up close. Still makes me smile even when I write about it now.

Experiences over possessions 100%๐Ÿ‘Œ#ttot #travel #travelblog #elephant #safari #wildlife #vsco #vscoafrica #vscocam #nikon #worldtravel #experience

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Leading a team on development projects in Ghana (4)

A fantastic experience was volunteering 8 months of my time with VSO in Livelihoods projects in Ghana. I was a Team Leader for a team of 18-20 people over the course of 2 cycles and it challenged me in so many ways! I stayed with a host family for my duration and we worked in rural communities on livelihoods skills and in schools. It was an incredible opportunity and I cannot recommend anyone enough to apply to volunteer, you never know what could happen!

Volunteering responsibly is definitely something that I would actively encourage to anyone looking to do more productive travel withย their time.

Camelย desert safari (5)

One of my highlights from my trip to India has to be the incredible 3 day 3 nights desert safari through the Thar Desert in Jaisalmer.ย There’s something peaceful about being surrounded by nothing but sand for miles.

My favourite part of the whole experience was definitely camping โ€“ I say camping loosely as we pretty much put a mat on the sand and had a blanket โ€“ and falling asleep underneath the clearest night sky I have ever seen with a million bright stars above, I even saw some shooting stars!ย Iโ€™d really recommend looking upย Jamin Desert Nomadsย if youโ€™re planning on doing a desert safari when you visit Jaisalmer. Jamin is a really honest, helpful and friendly guy. Sujan is also a great camel rider/guide and the camels are looked after well.

Desert sunsets #ttot #travel #travelblog #desert #exploremore #wanderers #sunset๐ŸŒ… #vsco #vscocam #vscotravel #igtravel

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Hiking to the top of a mountain for sunrise (6)

Whilst travelling around India I visited the scenic and serene town of Pushkar which sat atop a mountain. There was a huge holy lake that people travelled to see and lots of smaller mountains surrounding the town. I made a friend in the place I was staying and he asked if I wanted to hike at 5am to the top of one of them to see the sunrise. It was an early start and a long hike! But we finally made it to the top surrounded by monkeys and a few stray dogs that my friend knew – as he did this hike very regularly to see the sunrise! It didn’t disappoint, the town was still dark and so you could see a million little lights around the lake and jagged mountain tops as the sun started to rise behind them.

Sunrises and sunsets are awesome to witness anyway, but the location and the tranquility of it all made this a top travel memory for me.

#InstaVillageMissionย (7)

If you haven’t checked out this tag on instagram – then I’d seriously recommend it. I started it with a friend in Nepal whilst we were volunteering; it was such a great way to encourage &ย inspire creativity. There are a lot of great shots by Reneeย included in the tag and you should definitely go check her out and follow! It is one of my best travel memories and helped me think way more about the shots I was taking.

#instavillagemission instagram @gunns_travels
#instavillagemission by @gunns_travels & @renee_ezra – Instagram

Snorkelling The Great Barrier Reef (8)

Another bucket list item I always wanted to do and it lived up to my expectations! Deep blue water and crystal clear reefs. We snorkelled andย swam with multi-coloured fish, turtles &ย sharks!

You can read more about The Great Barrier Reef and how I went about it here

Skydiving over a beach in Aus! (9)

Ignite that inner daredevil in you โ€“ do a skydive. It will honestly be one of the best experiences you can have. And skydiving over The Great Barrier Reef couldnโ€™t be a better place to do it. I booked with Skydive Cairns who were great and really reassuring, the skydive cost ยฃ120 (with a beach landing) which is pricey but worth it. Again if you want a photo or video of it youโ€™ll have to pay around ยฃ80 โ€“ which isnโ€™t bad as its a one-off (unless you get the bug for it!) but depends on your budget and if you want to go on any other tours while you’re in Cairns.

Quick Prices:ย Adult with Beach Landingย ยฃ120 $180ย |ย Video & Photosย ยฃ80 $120

Meeting everyone so far! (10)

Lastly, none of my experiences would have been what they are without the colourful, interesting bag of people I have met so far! There have been too many to mention but now I have friends and family all over the world thanks to travelling ๐Ÿ‘Œ#positivevibes

They have had a massive impact on how I think, what I do and how I want to continue to live. You can take something from everyone you meet and learn a lot just by having a conversation with someone.

My CPs โœŒ๏ธlast day laughs #ttot #travels #VSOICS #VSO #volunteer #africa #ghana

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This is the first portrait of a series I’m calling ‘Memories, Places & People’s Faces’. I want to create a photo collection of portraits & moments whilst I travel. First up is Prayash, who I met whilst staying at a guest house in Bhaktapur. He works there whilst attending some college classes and managing his radio show. If you’re ever in the area then tune into 107.9fm every thursday 3-4pm for some debates and slick tunes. Prayash dreams of becoming a media personality and enjoys exploring to see new views like the one behind him. He took me to see his home village and the incredible view from Nagarkot, thanks man! RJ Prayash #ttot #portrait #travels #travelgram #travelblogger #smile #people #nepal #instagood #instatravel #igers #wanderlust

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Travel. Create, Be Nice!

Memories, Places & People’s Faces | Portraits

Memories, Places & People’s Faces | Portraits

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Portraitsย & Photo-Journalism

I have been fortunate enough to have met some incredible people on my journey so far. During my recent travels I took it upon myself to start capturing some portraits and try to tell a story. I actually found it really fun trying to create an image that would give an insight into a persons life and also enjoyed the photo-journalism side of it all as well. Creating a collection of images that I am proud of and archiveย some amazing memories I’ve had with that/or involving that individual. This is the first post to share the few portraits I have released so far and I have many more that I’m working on and more to take!

I just hope that upon hearing some of these stories it will inspire or give someone else some perspective on what another person has gone/going through. I think that its human nature to be curious and want to know about other people, especially those that are in a completely different culture to us. Looking at portraits transports someone into someone else’s life for just a brief second and I’ve found that I really love capturing their portraits!

First up is Prayash, who I met whilst staying at a guest house in Bhaktapur. He works there whilst attending some college classes and managing his radio show. If you’re ever in the area then tune into 107.9fm every thursday 3-4pm for some debates and slick tunes. Prayash dreams of becoming a media personality and enjoys exploring to see new views like the one behind him. He took me to see his home village and the incredible view from Nagarkot, thanks man!”ย 

“Next up is one of my Nepali Didis, Gita. She works in the fields and helps look after Bhakatapur Children’s Home; as well as be a mother to 3 of her own children Suraj, Sumon & Susata. Her husband is away in the Nepali army currently but she still manages to have one of the kindest, goofiest and warm personalities I’ve come across.”

“Rahul taught me the power of a ‘pinky promise’. I have so much time for this little bro. He has a bright future ahead of him and I can’t wait to see him succeed in everything he chooses to do next.”

“Let me introduce the taxi driver with the most swag, Rameshwor. You’ll be able to identify him from his blacked out shades, leather driving gloves and nepali dance tunes. When I first visited Nepal he was our trusted point of call for transportation between the village and marketplace. He doesn’t speak much English but we still managed to have some funny conversations. When I returned to Sipadol I was walking through the market and to my surprise he ran up to me and remembered who I was; which was amazing! I was also happy to see that he was able to buy a new car and had employed someone else to drive the old one, growing his business.”

“Back in 2014 I went for a wander in the marketplace in Bhaktapur where I was staying. I decided to head into a shoe shop to have a look around. 2 minutes later I ended up sat having chai (tea) & shisha pipe with Suniel Duwal, who is a pretty cool guy. Recently I went back to surprise him and once again drank chai whilst he showed me some metal bands concert videos – he’s a massive fan, as well as being a dedicated Arsenal supporter. I also got to meet his wife, daughter & mother-in-law. If you’re ever looking for some new style – Sunil Fashion House can sort you out.”

“This is Kopila (lalala my nickname for her, she finds it funny calling me Jackalalala) who loves to dance and spends most of the time giggling with her best friend Anita – who is also at the children’s home. She is also the one who taught me the numbers from 1-20 in nepali as I kept getting stuck at 10!”

“If you have a question, Sushil can answer it. He’s very smart and his dream is to be a doctor. He is just an all round cool guy and I spend a lot of the time learning from him!”

“This is Suraj – who is awesome. His mother is Gita who works at the children’s home. On my second visit I’d never met him, his mum or his siblings before, but we got on so well – he felt like my younger brother and we spent two weeks learning about physics, nepali vocab & wrestlemania! I can’t even explain how enriching for both sides going to volunteer or just talking to locals can be; if you’re considering doing it then don’t hesitate to drop me a message if your not sure how to go about it.”

I hope you enjoyed those portraits and snippets of memories from my travels.

There are many more to come so stay tuned and follow up on my social links!

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