Best Travel Experiences I’ve Had As A Travel Writer

Best Travel Experiences I’ve Had As A Travel Writer

Marcel Stevens

Marcel Stevens

Marcel has over 12 years in journalism who enjoys writing, jogging, reading and tennis.


While I’ll always look toward my next adventure, these are the most incredible experiences I’ve had so far.

Hi! I’m Evie. As a professional travel writer, I’ve visited more than 50 countries, and I’ve had too many amazing memories to count. But some specific travel moments and experiences are truly extra special — and stand out among the rest.


Evie Carrick

Recently I’ve been reminiscing on some of my most treasured travel moments. I found myself searching Google Maps for a hole-in-the-wall falafel joint (see #8), calling friends to help me flesh out the details of past adventures, and daydreaming about returning to some of the places that I still think of often.

So while I look toward my next adventure, these are the 10 most incredible travel experiences I’ve had so far.

1.

Swimming with sea lion pups in the Galápagos Islands.


Evie Carrick

Imagine being in a room of happy, wiggly puppies all vying for your attention. Then swap out puppies for sea lion pups flipping and diving around you in the ocean.  Now you can probably understand why this travel experience is the first one that comes to come to mind.

I had the great privilege of boating around the Galápagos Islands for 10 days with a travel agency called INCA, and it was nothing short of amazing. Even after seeing giant tortoises, sharks, and tons of rare birds (including the iconic blue-footed booby) the little sea lion pups are what stand out. It was one of those experiences that left my cheeks feeling sore from smiling and my heart bursting with happiness. 

2.

Living and skiing out of a van in Japan in the middle of winter.


Evie Carrick

Sounds horrible, right? At first, I was very skeptical too. This travel experience was my husband’s idea, and even though I love to ski, I was apprehensive. 

Turns out Japan is out-of-control awesome. I fell in love with the country and with the skiing there. The powder is as deep as the rumors say it is, and they make heaters that run off a vehicle’s gasoline. Oh, and since the country is covered in hot natural bathing spots called onsen, we could soak and warm up from the snow before climbing into our sleeping bags.

3.

Seeing the truly wonderful Iguazú Falls in Argentina.


Evie Carrick

I’ve found that the places you read about and see pictures of often don’t live up to the hype. Perhaps that’s why I was completely blown away by Iguazú Falls, which is one of those true “great wonders of the world.” I showed up ready to see some waterfalls and was completely astounded by the beauty and power of nature.

The falls, which sit on the border of Argentina and Brazil are massive, powerful, and so beautiful. I saw the falls from the Argentina side where you can walk all around and take a boat up close to them (an added cost, but a must, IMO). Oh and I also fell in love with the South American coati, a super cute raccoon-like creature that romps around the park.

4.

Exploring the wadis and sleeping in the desert in Jordan.


Evie Carrick

Chances are you’ve heard of Petra, the archaeological site and world wonder where intricate tombs and temples are carved into red sandstone. While Petra is nothing short of amazing, it was Jordan’s wadis (or valleys) that stood out even more to me.

Let’s start with Wadi Rum, a wide-open desert wilderness that’s punctuated by jutting sandstone cliffs (a go-to for climbers). I rode a camel through the desert and stopped to see prehistoric inscriptions and impressive sandstone arches  before sleeping at a Bedouin camp for the night. It was nothing short of amazing. 

And while Wadi Rum is a go-to stop for those traveling to Petra, Wadi Mujib tends to fly under the radar. I walked up a river between sandstone cliffs carved by the water. It was June and it was HOT outside, so the river was clean, clear, and refreshing. It was fun and challenging to free-climb up mini waterfalls and swim through crystal-clear pools. It was one of the best days I can remember.

5.

Experiencing the holy city of Jerusalem.


Evie Carrick

Because Jerusalem is a holy place for followers of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, there is a lot of tension and conflict. Crossing the border from Jordan to Palestine and then to Israel by bus back in 2017 was both exhilarating and a little scary. The bus dropped me outside Jerusalem and the walk toward the Old City was one I’ll never forget. Armed Israeli guards walked up and down the streets, barricades controlled entry and exit to the Old City, and walls divided Palestine from Israel. 

I did all the touristy things — I visited the Western Wall and Dome of the Rock, I walked through the Zion and Damascus Gates, and I ate falafel within the Old City walls. It was thrilling, a little bit outside of my comfort zone, and a travel experience I’ll never forget.  

6.

Traveling alone to the Azores and seeing whales up close.


Evie Carrick

There are nine islands that make up the Azores, located off the coast of Portugal, so I didn’t experience everything this amazing place has to offer. But my short experience on São Miguel (the largest island in the archipelago) was truly memorable.

I am obsessed with whales. Like bring-me-to-tears obsessed. So I was more than a bit excited to be in the Azores, one of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries. I saw a fin whale during my time there and it was so, so, so cool. 

In addition to spotting whales, this trip was also memorable because I was traveling solo, which is not something I do often. I took a bus across the island for a surf session and I went out to a fancy dinner alone without looking at my phone. These solo experiences were challenging but fun and rewarding. 

Azores, I’m coming back for you.

7.

Hot spring hopping through the rainforest in Dominica.


Evie Carrick

Dominica — not to be confused with the Dominican Republic — is one of the wildest places I’ve ever visited. I was there in 2011, and it was unlike most Caribbean islands I’d ever seen. Compared to more polished and touristed islands, Dominica still felt wild and rugged. I loved it.

I visited several hot springs during the weeks I was there, but the most memorable were the springs I found on the way to Trafalgar Falls. These little pools of hot water formed right in the middle of the rainforest. It was a far cry from the monetized and commercialized hot springs found in most places. And the fact that the “twin” waterfalls of Trafalgar Falls made up the backdrop didn’t hurt either.

8.

Eating outrageously good falafel on the street in Lebanon.


Evie Carrick

Oh Lebanese food, I could write a novel all about it. It was just that good. And while I ate at plenty of sit-down restaurants, nothing made me as happy as dropping by Falafel Baydou for a falafel sandwich. It was a grab-and-go falafel spot I randomly stumbled upon, but I literally ate there two times per week during the month I was in Beirut. It never left me disappointed, hungry, or broke — at the time, a falafel sandwich cost $0.75. 

Oh, and I can’t forget about the ice cream, which was some of the best I’ve ever tasted. The Lebanese know what they’re doing when it comes to dairy. It’s super creamy and rich, especially the pistachio kind.

9.

Surfing on a beach in the middle of bustling Hong Kong.


Evie Carrick

If you’ve ever been to Hong Kong (or even if you’ve just Googled photos of it) you know why the concept of surfing in Hong Kong seems particularly bizarre. The city is packed with both people and skyscrapers…so it’s pretty amazing that a solid surfing beach is just an hour away from the center of the city by bus. 

On the eastern side of Hong Kong Island you’ll find Big Wave Bay, a great surfing spot with a couple shops, a restaurant, and surfboard rentals. I love cities, but I also love the great outdoors, and it turns out Hong Kong does both surprisingly well. You can spend the morning eating a dim sum breakfast and shopping in Kowloon, then hop on a bus and waste away the afternoon surfing. It felt surreal and wonderful.

10.

Studying yoga in India.


Evie Carrick

IMO, India is one of the most fascinating countries in the world. I’ve been twice, but I still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of all the food, color, tradition, and sights the country holds (it’s just slightly smaller than the US, after all). While the idea of studying yoga in India may sound somewhat cliché, it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. 

I stayed in an ashram in Northern India in a city called Rishikesh. I did yoga all day everyday, made life-long friends, and became a vegetarian — all in a single month. At the time, I was grappling with the death of someone I loved and the ending of a career. A month of spirituality was just what I needed to reset my life.

What travel experiences can you not get out of your head? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.