when planning this big ol’ three week (so long! so ambitious!) summer trip of mine, i kept asking myself: what makes the best trip? 

i know a lot of us are going on summer holidays and we’re all hoping that our trips are heavy with those magical moments. we all plan full days of museums, sight-seeing, tours, excursions… it it occurred to me: how memorable are doing those things? sometimes i can barely remember a museum i went to three years ago.
so, it took a bit of an examination on my part to think about my favorite memories from trips of the past ten years and really think about what made these memories special or these trips so unforgettable here’s a little look back at some of my favorite moments…

« a dinner in brienz, switzerland (2008)

it was a normal dinner with my host samuel, roommate johannah, and samuel’s friend nico, but i feel like it was this dinner that changed my thoughts about food, in general. i remember nico’s amazing italian pasta (he’s italian), our conversation in a mix of german and french (as nico did not speak german) and for dessert: fresh meringues (from the next town over that is actually the birthplace of meringue, no kidding) with ice cream accompanied by an espresso in the most precious little cup. i think i became a foodie that very night.

« oktoberfest (2007)

it was the legendary event that i really only needed to visit once. and if i never go back, that will be completely okay because i doubt it could ever get any better than it was. the huge famous german beer festival, the friendly revelers, the friends, the funny stories. if you’re thinking about going, GO, and go with a great group of friends. preferably girls.

« driving around the west coast of iceland for a day with two funny icelandic tour guides. (2011)

i forget their names, but they picked me up at 9:00am and were hell-bent on showing me a great time. we stopped at geysers, petrol stations to buy famous licorice candy and soft-drinks, the reyka vodka distillery (above) to meet the owner and take a tour, and anything of slight interest along the highway. capped off with an amazing meal at the fish house, it was my ideal iceland day.

« fishing for mackerel in the atlantic ocean off the coast near oban, scotland (2012)

growing up in a northwest washington fishing town, fishing is important to me. i love to fish and i love to eat fish. so when my scottish host jamie and his neighbor mike offered to take us out in the bay, i was beyond myself. FISHING IN THE ATLANTIC! it was a huge milestone. it doesn’t hurt that i caught more fish than all of the other guys on-board. that’s how i do.

« singing latin and french hymns with a choir in the crypt of the rosslyn chapel, near edinburgh (2012)

my host near edinburgh was part of a singing group that tours different chapels around scotland every sunday, and while i was there just happened to be the day to go to the famous rosslyn chapel. i practically leapt out of my chair when i heard we were doing this. i was a major choir kid throughout my entire educational career and to sing again with a group (not to mention where we were!) was perfection.

« a girls night out at the hofbräuhaus in munich one november night (2007)

two months after oktoberfest, a girls night out in munich! why wouldn’t this be the perfect travel memory? more about that night coming this week…

« visiting stockholm sweden: skansen(!!!), the rain, the sun, the cinnamon buns, the cafes….. (2013)

what to say about stockholm except that i have rarely felt more at home in a place than here. it gives me a warm cozy feeling to think about all of the wonderful times experienced in this city.

« spending two days completely unplugged on a swedish island (2013)

and right after stockholm, i spent two nights on a beautiful tiny island called grinda. i was firm on my “no electronics” stance. all i wanted to do was enjoy the beach, the forest, maybe a good paperback, and be in nature. a complete success.

« that year that it seemed like everyone i knew lived in berlin and i went to visit for two weeks (2009)

at the time i was very stressed out at my job in seattle, and to take two weeks off to be transported (solo) to my favorite city in the world to visit friends was one of the most necessary and relieving holidays i’ve taken, especially in the autumn– the time that i know this city best. i felt home.

« a night out on the reeperbahn, hamburg (2007)

ever been to hamburg? grab a bunch of friends and hit the reeperbahn and surrounding st. pauli bars and you won’t be disappointed. a hilarious karaoke experience, hamburgers in hamburg, meeting tons of funny strangers, some irish pub/dance-club, and other shenanigans led to a memorable weekend in this fun-loving northern german city.

final summation? as much as i truly believe and know that i am an introvert, my favorite memories almost all involve others. this is a great reminder to be open to opportunities that may arise while traveling, to connect with others when possible, and put on my friendly face that i seem to have lost somewhere between the united states and czech republic.

i’d love to know if you’ve seen a pattern in your own favorite travel memories. what has made your favorite moments full of magic?

happy travel tuesday (from the road)!