Having the Time of My Life

Ten years ago, right about this time, I was starting to think about taking a “post-bar trip.”  I was about to graduate law school and take the bar exam.  I would have about six weeks free between taking the bar and starting my law firm job – the perfect time to take my first trip abroad.

Knowing that I would be traveling solo and not being entirely comfortable with that idea, I immediately looked at options for group tours.  Given my Scandinavian heritage and borderline obsession with Russia, I initially considered tours that combined the two.  However, so-called wiser minds eventually convinced me that I would be better off starting with the “basics” of Europe, so I booked a Contiki tour that took me through London, Paris, Lyon, Nice, Florence, Rome, Venice, Vienna, Munich, Hopfgarten, Lucerne, St. Goar and Amsterdam – all in 23 days!

Enjoying a beer at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich on my first trip to Europe.

That trip was incredibly fast-paced and I put almost no effort into researching anything to do on my own when we had free time.  My liver likely wanted to kill me by the end of the trip because I think we went drinking just about every night – so many early mornings spent sightseeing were just a blur. I made good friends in the tour group, but it was also horribly cliquey, which I can’t stand.  And as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, just a week into the tour, terrorists brought down the World Trade Center in New York, putting a huge damper on the rest of the trip.

Despite the negatives, that first trip sparked a love of travel in me that was just waiting to be lit.

When I sent my passport off for renewal two months ago, I reflected on some of the lessons I’ve learned while traveling.  Now, I’d like to look back on the highlights – I’ve been lucky enough to have had the time of my life, over and over and over again, and have  some wonderful memories. Here are the ones that stick in my mind the most:

  • Arriving in London for the very first time.

  • Going to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night.

  • Dancing on the tables at Wayne’s Bar in Nice.

Wayne's Bar in Nice, circa 2001.
  • Sampling 14 different flavors of schnaps at a bar in Hopfgarten, Austria.

  • Dancing all night at a “water party” at a club in Ibiza and stumbling back to the hotel around 8 a.m.

  • Bicycling around the island of Formentera.

  • Visiting the Australian Open, seeing a classic semi-final between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova and meeting player, coach and TV analyst, Brad Gilbert.

  • Taking a helicopter ride over the Great Ocean Road.

Helicopter view of the Great Ocean Road.
  • Encountering a kangaroo a little too up-close on Kangaroo Island.

  • Hiking in the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney.

  • Celebrating Norway’s Constitution Day in Trondheim.

  • Experiencing the Midnight Sun in Tromso.

  • Exploring the ruins of Pompeii.

  • Hiking from Amalfi to Ravello and back.

Figuring out which way is the way to Ravello.
  • Falling asleep at the Opera in Rome (okay, maybe not a highlight, but I like the story).

  • Aprés ski partying in Saalbach, Austria.

  • Sightseeing in Salzburg with a guy I was crazy about at the time.

  • Taking a day trip to Tell al Amarna, Beni Hassan and Tuna al Gebel in Middle Egypt.

At Beni Hassan in Middle Egypt.
  • Exploring the Tombs of the Nobles in Aswan with a local guide who spoke no English.

  • Just about everything else about Aswan.

  • Climbing Mt. Sinai to see the sun rise.

  • Celebrating an Egyptian football victory with the locals in Dahab.

  • Acting in a small film being shot in Berlin.

Me and the crew for a small film being made in Berlin.
  • New Year’s Eve in Prague.

  • Singing karaoke at Morrison’s in Budapest.

  • Dinner at the Café Kor in Budapest.  Best. Meal. Ever.

  • Hiking the Inca Trail and visiting Machu Picchu.

Reaching the top of Dead Woman's Pass on the Inca Trail.
  • Exploring the markets of Cusco with a fun Aussie guy.

  • Chatting with Peruvian taxi drivers in Spanish.

  • Queuing for tickets at Wimbledon.

John Isner celebrates after winning the longest tennis match ever.


What are some of your best memories from traveling?

11 thoughts on “Having the Time of My Life”

  1. Funny how many of the moments we end up cherishing aren’t the ones we may have expected. You chatting with the cabbies is a perfect example. It is always hard to nail it down, but when you experience a “traveling moment”, you recognize it and remember it forever!

    1. Thanks Mike. I definitely have done my share of sightseeing as well. I’m a big history buff so I love checking out historical sites and museums. But those aren’t what make for the great memories. 🙂

  2. I love this post. I think it’s so fun to look back and remember what was most memorable from travels. I know when I first get back from a trip, I go through my photos and feel like I want to remember everything. But it’s fascinating to think about which things actually stick with you years later.

    Thanks for sharing!

    P.S. I did a Contiki tour, too, for my first solo travel!

    1. Thanks Cary! Love that you also did a Contiki tour – I’ve actually met a lot of people who have!

  3. Absolutely LUV your wirtings and helps me reflect on my experiences as well. A pleasure to be able to have met you and still keep in contact my dear. I’m glad New Year’s in Prague made your list! That was an epic night indeed!

    1. Thanks Abe! So great to have met you too – and New Year’s in Prague was awesome, there was no way that wouldn’t make the list! 🙂

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