As they say that you should not count the years with the number of days in a calendar year. As the pages flip into another year, it is supposed to increase the number of years you have been around. Why quantify this wonderful life we have when we can amplify its value by not counting the days and years but by creating and counting precious experiences and memories every moment. Before the start of 2016, we gave our readers a sneak peek here of our travels plans for the year. We successfully ticked off most of the destinations from our list except a few towards the last quarter of the year which we could not complete, especially to give priority to visiting family related travels. May be it was important to slow down, pause and reflect for a while before refuelling and relaunching ourselves anew for 2017!
Nothing enriches and enlightens like travelling so looking back at an eventful 2016 while at the doorsteps of 2017, we reflected on five such favourite voyage moments which made this year very special to us. 3 continents, 8 countries (trips to the countries for family visits not counted), 32 cities and towns, 21 different hotels, 18 flights and an uncountable number of emotions and moments even cameras could not capture – we had to struggle to pick out those top 5 to share with you all. Each of these defining moments taught us important life lessons which we would not have known had we not extended our horizon of exposure to diverse territories, culture and people.
Hot Air Balloon Ride in Luxor: Wake Up Before The New Sun of 2016
While many decided to wake up late to a new year’s day in 2016, still hanging over from the booze and partying from NYE, we decided to say ‘good morning’ to the new year’s sun by waking up even earlier than the sunrise. Out there in the historic Egyptian city of Luxor, we got ourselves in a hot air balloon to lift ourselves as high as we could to see the first rays of 2016 on January 1st. Flying in gentle pace over a sleepy Valley of the Kings & Queens in Luxor, we had a reflection synonymous to the soft rays of the new year sun that confirmed that the joy of seeing 1st sunrise of the year was precious, every sunrise of life was precious and that having this realisation over the Valley of the Kings & Queens in Luxor was the most luxurious feeling life could ever seem. Thus our first voyage learning in 2016 was that it pays off to wake up early, from sleep and from inside as a human being and if that awakening takes place in a country where it all began – Egypt – then nothing like it because its invaluable to reflect on the chronicles of history.
When was the last time you did something for the first time? We woke up at 4am, arrived on location by 5am and rode Hot air balloon during sunrise over the valley of Kings and Queens of ancient Egypt, sugar cane fields, temple of Hapshepsut and Karnac, Nile River and countrysides of Luxor. When you rise in the sky before the Sun does, you become the early bird that rides the hot air balloon. #OnetimefashionistagoestoEgypt #instadaily #instagood #TravelBlog #hotairballoon #wanderlust #travelling #traveldiary #travelEgypt #egypttourism #sindbadhotairballon #love #coupletravel #couplegoal #heart #sunrise #upinthesky
Egypt Highlights!!! A hot air balloon ride. As the saying goes, “Early bird catches the worm”. But if you can wake up earlier than the bird and the sun as well, you can rise earlier than the sun to see the entire Valley of the Kings along the River Nile from a hot air balloon. A unique experience this, when we floated gently higher in our colourful balloon with other concurrent flights in horizon. The best position to see the matinee show of sunrise over Luxor is from the elevated basket of the hot air balloon. Trips lasting from around 30-45 minutes, the entire experience was smooth, well organised and memorable. #love #LondonBlogger #TravelBlog #coupletravel #onetimefashionistagoestoEgypt #egypttourism #Egypt #traveldiary #travelEgypt #wanderlust #travelling #hotairbaloonride #earlybirds #valleyofkings #sugarcane #sunrise #nofilter #magical #nature #Luxor #instadaily #instagood
Hang-Gliding in Rio de Janeiro: Fly Like A Bird, Float Like A Cloud
As if the thirst to be air-borne was not quenched in Luxor in January, we continued with our aerial adventures shortly after in March when we went to Brazil to celebrate our 8th anniversary of marriage. The vibe, energy, the sun and the sands of Rio de Janeiro were the perfect backdrop of our hang-gliding experience all under the omnipresent watchful gaze of Christ the Redeemer. The 2nd defining voyage moment of 2016 was as simple as running out of a cliff with a wind-driven glider and leave ourselves at the mercy of the whims of the winds over the Ipanema Bay. A brief training, some security advice, putting on some safety gears and it was time for us to feel the sheer force of gravity before the wing of the glider decided to balance otherwise. While we gracefully sailed along the wind making the flock of birds confused and jealous, we wished if we had our druthers, we would have loved to keep flying day in and day out, while the Atlantic waves beneath us would have kept kissing the golden sands of gorgeous Rio. The 2nd voyage learning of 2016 taught us to conquer our own deep rooted fears – of flight, of height, of a fall, of the unknown.
We rode on a private helicopter over Buenos Aires in #Argentina, we snuba dived 200 feet down below in the Pacific ocean in Hawai'i, #USA, we rode a hot air baloon over #Luxor in #Egypt and we flew like birds in a hang gliding over Rio de Janiero now. Life began….more adventures to follow….we don't buy posh houses, expensive cars, bonds and provident funds, gold and diamond jewelleries…because we make memories. Two fleet-footed, mercury ruled free thinking influencers. #onetimefashionistagoestoBrazil #visitRio #voyagers #travelblog #fashionblog #coupletraveller #couplegoals #fleetfooted #mercury #influencer #freethinker #photooftheday #passionpassport #wanderlust #worlderlust #workforleisure #helicopterride #hotairbaloon #Hanggliding #Riohanggliding #snubadive #pacificocean #instagood #instadaily #riodejaneiro
Moai Statues in Easter Island Chile: Sunrise At Ahu Tongariki
Although we headed west from Brazil, our destination was the Easter Islands of Chile. And it was only coincidence that we were in the exotic Easter Islands during Easter. The entire island was possibly the most unique open air museum in the entire world. The Moai statues and their remains found almost in every corner of the island continued to preserve the mystic presence of the indigenous Rapa Nui people who inhabited the islands. Like a pilgrimage, it was imperative to camp at the site of Ahu Tongariki to see the sun rise behind the impressive 15 moai statues that kept standing centuries after centuries having withstood many calamities – both natural and man-made i.e. tsunamis and civil wars. Unlike the soft rays of the rising sun in Luxor, the dramatic sunrise here was a splash of the sun’s favourite colours – from orange to pink to red to purple – it was a short-lived light show flanked by the sounds of the foamy waves of the Pacific which were waking up the rocks. The silhouettes of the standing moai statues had a spellbinding magical moment of mystery which evoked questions in our mind of how they were built, who built them, what happened to them, why were they there…..and so on. The 3rd defining voyage moment of 2016 made us ponder on the wonderful existence we have on this planet, knowing that we may not be able to solve all the mysteries, but its worth asking the questions – to statues, to waves and to the sun and everything within.
I have maintained this so far- if you get a chance to see at least one place in this universe, make it Machu Picchu in Peru. Now I say, if you can see two, visit Easter Island and see Moai statues up, close and personal. If your travel bucket list doesn't include Easter Island, your travel bucket list does NOT exist. This is where I wanted to come ever since ….#OnetimefashionistagoestoChile #EasterIsland ✔️off #travelblog #travelchile #traveldiary #Chile #easterisland #wanderlust #worlderlust #passionpassport #photooftheday #moai #statues #naturephotography #history #heritage #bluesky #silhoutte #bucketlist #travel #voyage #machupicchu #southamerica
Snow-Mobile at Mýrdalsjökull Glacier: Fire & Ice Entice in Iceland
Cutting cakes on birthdays? What about hiking a snow-clad mountain? Out for party at a restaurant to celebrate another year of life? What about going for snow-mobile on the glacier Mýrdalsjökull in Iceland? This is how we celebrated a birthday to define the 4th signature travel moment for 2016. Away from the urban banalities, why give life the slightest chance to release a sigh of regret that age is catching up? We put on our orange jumpsuits, defied the cold snap and took control of the snow-mobile while it cut the snow and kept advancing us to unknown terrains. Knowing at all times that the dormant volcanoes were snoozing suspiciously and unpredictably beneath the apparently peaceful layer of white snow, you wondered how fire and ice were co-existing like this since the beginning of time? Wonder why instead of giving a hard cold shoulder to the fiery volcanoes the snowy white glaciers were covering up for it? Wonder why the opposite elements of nature were hiding each other? Another birthday, a blue sky with a shining sun above, vast white as far as eyes could see, and bubbling fireballs inside the heart of the Earth which the eyes could not see – what else do you need as a birthday present? Present – the best gift life could ever give to us. This was the 4th moment of discovery in 2016.
First Opera watching at the Vienna State Opera: Vivid Experience of Art & Opulence
The rollercoaster in 2016 started from inside a hot air balloon in Egypt, then flying off a cliff in Rio de Janeiro waking up infront of the moai statues in Easter Island and hurriedly snow-mobiling to land suddenly in the seats of the Vienna State Opera in an all aristocratic formal attire like a gentleman along with his lady-love by the side. Certainly we experienced the shows in Royal Opera House in London and similarly in the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. But enjoying an opera performance in the historic Vienna State Opera is like enjoying an age-old wine after a sumptuous dinner at a fine restaurant in the company of people you love. The opulence, the atmosphere, the decorum and the etiquette – all appeared to be a complete opposite of what we had been experiencing in our voyages in 2016. On top of it, there is no harm in accepting that opera is not something we would yearn to see again and again. And that was the point – to have the mind-set to watch and experience something even though it may not float the boat of fancy all the time. We were quick to don the orange jumpsuits to snow mobile in Iceland, quick to put on our helmet and jump off the cliff in Rio in the hang-glider, we were quick again to get all decked up in suits and gowns to immerse in the urban pinnacle of fine arts. The 5th and final defining voyage moment of 2016 made us realise as Darwin quoted “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”.
We have watched shows like Flamenco in Seville, Spain, Tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Samba in Rio, Brazil, Polynesian folk performance in Easter Island, Chile, musicals and Shakespeare's plays in London,UK, Cirque du Soleil and David Copperfield shows in Las Vegas, USA, Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia and now an opera in Vienna, Austria. Travelling is much more than just clicking selfies in front of touristy locations. onetimefashionistagoestoAustria #visitvienna #travelphotography #travelblog #travelblogger #londonblogger #love #wanderlust #instagood #traveldiaries #worldtraveler #worlderlust #passionpassport #photooftheday #viennaoperahouse #opera #shows #experience #travelling #richinexperience #opera #ballet #tango #samba
Like the pieces of a puzzle, these precious moments from our voyages in 2016 were the ones that confirmed that the choices we made for our lives were right. Houses, cars and material possessions or experience, adventure and immersion into unknown. With this flare to voraciously travel more, we welcome 2017 and we wish you all the energy and force to leave your foot print in a place where you have never been before. You may be a different person when you would come back.0