Best of my trips: Best Domestic Travel Destination
I’ve been an expat for about six years, so it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to decide which is my “domestic” destination, but since last August I decided to spend some time in my hometown, I think the most natural choice of the best of my trips is the domestic field is Sardinia. I haven’t traveled extensively in Italy since August, but I had quite a few trips within my own region, Sardinia, and some of the most captivating for me have been those I made to see the beautiful and controversial street art of Orgosolo and dig in its past learning about the anti-militarist revolt of Pratobello.
Best of my trips: Best Travel Experience
I’m very happy of all experiences I’ve had in 2011, so it’s hard to pick the best of mt trips. I must say, although I’ve criticized it a lot, one of my most beautiful travel experiences has been India, so much that in about six months I went three times. Visiting the northern states of Rajasthan and Uttarakhand I had the unique opportunity to attend a local wedding, to hear the unbelievable story of Manila Devi, and be part of a completely different culture and lifestyle. My trips to India have represented to me the epitome of the highest purpose of traveling.
Best of my trips: Best International Destination
Despite my turbulent beginning in China due to the language shock, one of my all-time favorite destinations is by all means Shanghai. I spent one year living in this beautiful city as a student and I would go back tomorrow if I could. The first impact of traveling to Shanghai, and China in general, can be one of despair. Locals don’t bother speaking English, and Chinese is not exactly a language a Westerner can easily pick up, but Shanghai is absolutely stunning, well organized and very tourist-friendly. The city offers something for everybody, many museums, restaurants, shopping venues, clubs and wonderful cityscapes. On top of all this, it’s very cheap, so budget travelers can find accommodation and eating places without any problem.
Best of my trips: Worst Travel Experience
Fortunately enough, I haven’t had bad travel experiences, only some minor problem that inevitably come around when traveling. Among those, one that I can certainly recall is the worst, probably because the first, food poisoning of my life, happened in Jaipur, India. I vomited all night non-stop, after every “session” I didn’t feel any better, I kept dehydrating myself and didn’t know what to do. Every time I thought I would get better, but that hope was short-lived, as the sickness didn’t seem to stop. Finally I fainted, to be woken up an hour later by my tour guide. Fortunately, I somehow gathered the energy to search on the internet natural remedies for food poisoning and I found out that to stop vomiting I should have drunk water with salt or with sugar. I had two small bottles of water and complimentary in the hotel room a sachet of sugar and one of salt. I poured them one in each bottle and that was my drink and meal for the whole next day, being my stomach completely closed and nausea still strong. I started feeling better late at night, after vomiting one last time.
Best of my trips: Most Embarrassing Travel Moment
Let’s just say that the whole first month I spent in China was quite embarrassing, a cluster of awkward travel moments that now I remember amused but that back then gave me more than a frustration. One of the most embarrassing moments I had was in Beijing, when I went to the Great Wall. Our guide didn’t come with us up to the top, she left the group at the bottom recommending to come down from the same side we went up. Once at the top, we found only a mono-directional path, so we took it and came out from an exit, which turned out to be very wrong since we were not in Beijing anymore but in Inner Mongolia. Before realizing where we were and find a taxi to bring us back to China mainland, at least an hour went by, and heat, exhaustion and our further delay didn’t exactly make our travel companions very happy.
Best of my trips: Best Local Destination
One of the most inspiring places I’ve been to in my region, Sardinia, is San Sperate. Apart from being a truly picturesque hamlet, it’s also home to one of the best artists the island has produced, sculptor Pino Sciola, famous for his “sounding stones”, obtained by particular cuts that release the ancestral sound of what he considers the planet’s spine. I spent a whole afternoon alternating stones’ “music” and the fascinating comments the artist provided during my visit/interview.
Best of my trips: Best Travel Lesson
Early October last year I’ve had the unique opportunity to visit one of today’s most controversial countries, Iran. I’ve always believed that our opinions should be shaped by both books and first-hand experience, and nowhere like in Iran this should be mandatory. As soon as I got off the plane and left the airport I realized I was in a normal country. Without the heavy atmosphere of oppression, women were free to wander the streets alone, go shopping and yes, wear the hijab, but certainly not in the tight and frightened way to hide all hair because police officers are around every corner constantly checking what is coming out of the headscarf. I don’t deny I was tense before going to Iran, and now I admit I miss it and look forward to going back.