I know all the buzz has been about Hawaii this week, but there's also a European adventure in our very immediate future - I'm off to Europe next week! And since we're about to go on holidays together, it seems only proper to get to know each other a bit better. So...
I'm Elissa, Aimee's Wanderlust People partner in crime. This is me dressed up by a Nepali friend for the Teej festival in Kathmandu. It was one of the stand out days of the six months my husband Matt and I spent in Nepal - Teej is the one time of year when the women of Nepal get together without their menfolk and really let loose. A whole lot of preening and bangle jangling and dancing and laughing and joking about husbands goes on, and I was welcomed into the beating heart of it all just by virtue of being a woman and being there. It was a blast.
But I was bitten by the travel beast (side note: "travel bug" is an inadequate term in my experience!) long before Nepal.
- My first overseas trip was a 6 week round-the-world dash, and the first stop was Peru. I ate guinea pig, had a stranger look out for me, saw real poverty, haggled in terrible Spanish, got hideous altitude sickness and became completely smitten with mountains, hiking and travel in general.
- My pick for good-dash-of-everything destinations is Sri Lanka. World class beaches, check. Magnificent, friendly people, check. Ancient relics, check. Mountains and hiking opportunities, check. Potential for real cultural exchanges, check. Mind bogglingly delicious food, check check. Go there.
- The place that I first thought I could pack up and move to was Rome (there have been others since, but there's always a special place in your heart for the first!). Anywhere where people will have a good yell at each other over differing opinions on the quality of the pasta and eat gelato in the dead of winter and walk through the remains of a civilisation centuries past on the way to the office is my kind of place.
- The place most inaccurately represented by Hollywood that I've experienced is Casablanca, Morocco. Forget the romantic nostalgia of Humphrey Bogart; it's a pretty drab commercial centre. Tangier, on the other hand, (where lots of Casablanca was actually filmed, by the way) is pretty underrated in my book - it has all the spice and sea swept exoticism you expect from a Moroccan port town. Morocco is also the place I was first initiated into the rites of travelling with children - our eldest daughter Sascha was five months old when we travelled there. I'll never forget a lady with three children of her own and not a word of English sweeping Sascha into her arms on a long train journey and playing with her for the whole trip, just for the love of babies. I've been sold on travelling with kids ever since.
- Speaking of travelling with kids - that probably started with my own childhood. I travelled around Australia in a caravan with my parents for a whole year when I was 11. How cool are they??
- The landmark that most blew my mind is The Great Wall in China. I'd heard all that stuff about it being seen from space, but something about actually standing in the howling wind looking over the desolate mountains from a wall whose first stones were laid in the seven century made me ponder just how small my blip is on the radar of the world at large and the history that has written it. China was also the site of my worst food poisoning experience ever. That's a story for another day, but suffice to say it involved still having to breastfeed an eight-month-old baby (Ethan, our second child), a hideous long-haul express train trip, and a mixed up hotel booking.
- My last trip was to Italy, Croatia and Turkey in May 2014. And you know how Rome is the city of love? Meet Luca, born in January this year ;)
- Our next trip (and Luca's first) is to England, Spain and France - NEXT WEEK!
So enjoy the last days of your Hawaii adventure and get ready for a European change up! We'll keep the photos coming :)