Best Travel Experiences

Best Travel Experiences
Best Travel Experiences

Throughout the World, there are many wonderful places to travel to. Yet, some unique experiences remain secrets, only a few people having the chance to become involved with them.

On this page, I will describe some of the best travel experiences I’ve had, examples that can easily provide inspiration and motivation for your future travels.

These types of situations should make us consider something. The best travel experience doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a positive and happy circumstance. Sometimes a life-threatening situation makes us think about life, and make us change our approach towards life and the way we think.

Please note: I’ve been traveling since 1999. So, some of the older photographs on this page are taken with more standard equipment and are of lesser quality than more recent images.


Best Travel Experiences


Berber Triple Marriage in the Sahara Desert


Berber Marriage in Sahara Desert, Morocco
Berber Marriage in Hassilabied village, Sahara Desert, Morocco – Best Travel Experiences

I had the opportunity of being invited to an authentic Amazigh (Berber) triple marriage in the southeast Moroccan Sahara Desert. Having been living and working near the Erg Chebbi Dunes for four years, previous involvement with the local community facilitated my reception of this type of invitation. Although many people no longer marry in such a way, one of the grooms chose to have this kind of traditional ceremony so that local youth could witness and experience how the Berber marry in this region of the Sahara.

Berber Marriage in Sahara Desert, Morocco
Berber Marriage in Hassilabied village, Sahara Desert, Morocco – Best Travel Experiences

Riding a camel, the fiancés arrived at the marriage campsite in Hassilabied village. The grooms arrived riding a… four-by-four! All in all, from the clothes and music to the ceremony itself, the experience as a whole was absolutely fantastic.

Read the page: People of Morocco


Driving from Mitad del Mundo to Fin del Mundo


Driving from Mitad del Mundo to Fin del Mundo
Driving from Mitad del Mundo to Fin del Mundo

Departing from the city of Quito, I drove a car along “Mitad del Mundo” (half of the world), near the Equator line, to Ushuaia, often called “Fin del Mundo” (end of the world), located in the southernmost part of Argentina and the continent itself. On my own, I crossed half of the planet’s continental landmass, driving 13351 km / 8296 mi through some of my most memorable, top-listed moments: the Andes Mountains, the Atacama Desert, Patagonia, and Tierra del Fuego.

Read the page: Driving in South America


Being a monk in a Buddhist Monastery


Being a monk in a Buddhist Monastery
Being a monk in a Buddhist Monastery

Lumbini, Nepal, is the birthplace of the Buddha. Now donned with several Buddhist monasteries surrounding the actual site of his birth, I was fortunate enough to spend some time living a similar life to that of a real monk here. The daily schedule included a very early wake-up, Buddhist prayer, meditation, and healthy food. My time in Lumbini proved to be a great experience for my soul during a time of great need.


Feeding Wild hyenas in Harar


Feeding Wild hyenas in Harar, Ethiopia
Feeding Wild hyenas in Harar, Ethiopia – Best Travel Experiences

During a few days’ stay in Harar, I had the incredible opportunity to hand-feed a group of wild hyenas. It was a truly rare experience in which, after a ritual, these scavengers were called to approach and eat offered raw meat. With hyenas a part of Harar mysticism, this ceremony has been enacted for a few decades, passing from generation to generation. During the night, you can even hear the animals running through the dark, empty streets of this Muslim, Ethiopian holy city.

Read the page: Feeding Hyenas in Ethiopia


Crossing Sahara Desert with a moped


Crossing Sahara Desert with a moped
Crossing Sahara Desert with a moped – Best Travel Experiences

Back in 2010, my friend Samuel and I decided to go on an adventure from Erfoud to the Erg Chebbi Dunes along the Algerian border, passing through the Tisserdmine army base. True, moto crossing the Sahara Desert on a Motobecane moped is not something you find yourself doing every day!

Read the page: Moped in Sahara Desert


Joining the Central Asia Rally


Joining the Central Asia Rally
Joining the Central Asia Rally – Best Travel Experiences

In 2012, I participated in one of the most adventurous and alternative car rallies of the World. A few teams joined together at the Central Asia Rally to travel overland, all the way from Europe to Central Asia. It is, indeed, a unique and top travel experience if you’re looking for different forms of wayfaring. Hungary, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan accomplished in 14 days via 6500 kilometers (4000 miles) of endless dreams!

Visit the website: Central Asia Rally


Hot air balloon ride in the Valley of the Kings


Hot air balloon ride in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt
Hot air balloon ride in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt – Best Travel Experiences

During a stay in Luxor, I had an opportunity to ride a hot air balloon over the breathtaking Valley of the Kings. It was such an enlightening experience from an alternative perspective combining Egypt’s beautiful sunrise with farmers burning their fields, below.

Read the page: Visit Luxor, the World’s greatest open air Museum


Living with an indigenous tribe in the Amazon


Living with an indigenous Tatuyo tribe in the Amazon Rain Forest
Living with an indigenous Tatuyo tribe in the Amazon Rain Forest – Best Travel Experiences

For four days, I had the chance to live with an authentic, indigenous Brazilian tribe. There, I was taught Amazon Forest’s survival, local customs, and traditions. Living with an indigenous Tatuyo tribe in the Amazon Rain Forest is possible while it is also a great way of familiarizing yourself with a completely different culture and way of living.

Read the page: Amazon Brazilian tribe


22 hours pick-up truck trip to Timbuktu


22 hours pick-up truck trip to Timbuktu
22 hours pick-up truck trip to Timbuktu

On a truly insane, rough 22-hour journey from Gao to Timbuktu, Mali, I traveled while mounted atop the cargo of a Mauritanian smuggler’s pick-up truck along with 18 other people. All seemed well until a sand storm approached and we had to jump out of the truck bed at 1:30 AM while under threat of the Malian army, at gunpoint. Indeed, it was day’s worth of an unforgettable experience!

Pick-up truck travel all the way to Timbuktu in Mali

Read the page: Timbuktu, Mali – How To Get There The Hard Way


Exploring Antarctica with Shackleton and Scott


Exploring Antarctica with Shackleton and Scott
Exploring Antarctica with Shackleton and Scott – Best Travel Experiences

Along with a team of experts aboard the Ocean Diamond and en route along a 15-day Antarctica cruise, I had the pleasure of traveling in the company of descendants of two great explorers: Jonathan Shackleton, the cousin of Ernest Henry Shackleton, and Falcon Scott, the grandson of Robert Falcon Scott. How sensational is that?

Read the pages: Visit Half Moon Island and Antarctica Cruise 15 day Expedition.


Swimming with sea turtles in the Galapagos


Swimming with sea turtles in the Galapagos, Ecuador
Swimming with sea turtles in the Galapagos, Ecuador – Best Travel Experiences

Swimming with sea turtles proving to be one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever done in my life, snorkeling in the Galapagos is always a really great decision to take. I highly recommend your sea turtle rendezvous to occur at San Cristóbal Island’s La Loberia Beach on the Galapagos Archipelago. You will never forget it!

Read the page: Galapagos Last Minute Cruises – What to Know.


Meeting local people and making new friends


Meeting local people and make new friends
Meeting local people and making new friends

When I travel, one of my goals is to meet people, to talk and discuss cultural differences with them, even banal aspects of life, politics, spirituality, and religion. By taking on this approach to making new friends around the world, I become wiser in familiarizing myself with other ways of thinking and living other than what I have been limited to or have even adopted. One of the most important Schools of Life, traveling never ceases in its teachings.


Driving in Iraq


Driving in Iraq
Driving in Iraq

In Amedi, I met a caretaker of a Syriac Orthodox church who invited me to drive his car and take him all the way to Barzani village to visit the Kurdish nationalist’s cemetery. Due to the man’s old age, he had lost part of his eyesight and could no longer drive. So, instead of having his car parked in front of his house, he resolved the issue by finding a private chauffeur. Me!

En route, I also discovered many other villages and churches along the way. Beyond interesting, in this instance, the destination and the journey all offered incredible insight into the region’s struggle, history, and politics.

Read the pages: Driving in Iraq – Amedi to Barzan and Kurdistan Travel Guide – Northern Iraq.


Maracanã Epic Football match in Rio de Janeiro


Maracanã Epic Football match in Rio de Janeiro
Maracanã Epic Football match in Rio de Janeiro – Best Travel Experiences

I attended an unforgettable Maracanã football (or, soccer) match in Rio de Janeiro. Battled between the Flamengo and Fluminense teams, the match ended in a final score of 2-0. The Flamengo team victorious, this famous Fla-Flu game was an epic experience!


A religious ceremony in Lalibela’s Rock-Hewn Churches


Religious ceremony in Lalibela's Rock-Hewn Churches
A religious ceremony in Lalibela’s Rock-Hewn Churches, Ethiopia – Best Travel Experiences

Attending a religious ceremony in Lalibela’s Rock-Hewn Churches is an incredible and unique travel experience. During this Christian Orthodox celebration, there are prayers, music, incense, and Bible recitations. I attended this special ceremony at Bet Maryam Church.

Read the page: Visit Ethiopia – Historical Places


Fully crossing the Amazon River


Fully crossing the Amazon River
Fully crossing the Amazon River – Best Travel Experiences

Francisco de Orellana completed the first known navigation the Amazon River’s entire length, as far back in time as the 16th century. I followed his voyage from a point in Macapá, Brazil (near the Atlantic Ocean), to Iquitos, Peru, from there taking the Napo river all the way to El Coca, Ecuador. With a schedule consisting of much of the same itinerary as the famous “conquistador”, I will never forget enduring nearly 600 hours aboard boats and sleeping on rocking hammocks.

Read the page: Travel Amazon River – 543 hours on Amazon Boats – Brazil, Peru & Ecuador.


Gaijatra, Festival of Cows in Tansen


Gaijatra, Festival of Cows in Tansen
Gaijatra, Festival of Cows in Tansen – Best Travel Experiences

While in the picturesque, southern Nepal town of Tansen, I was surprised to encounter the rather interesting Festival of Cows. Locally known as Gaijatra, the streets were lined by thousands of people and live music performances while many young boys and girls arrived in traditional full-dress. A welcoming surprise, the entire scene was delightfully transporting!


Dubai by night from the top of the 2722 feet Burj Khalifa


Dubai by night from the top of the 2722 feet Burj Khalifa
Dubai by night from the top of the 2722 feet Burj Khalifa – Best Travel Experiences

While in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), one of the best experiences to have there is to ascend downtown Dubai’s Burj Khalifa building and dare the view from its observation deck. The tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa is 829.8 meters / 2722 feet tall! It also ranks as the tallest existing structure, the tallest structure ever built, the tallest freestanding structure, the tallest skyscraper, the building with the most floors: 163, the building with the world’s highest occupied floor: 584.5 meters, the world’s highest elevator installation, the world’s longest elevator travel distance: 504 meters, the world’s highest nightclub: 144th floor, etc. etc.! Not yet convinced?

Read the page: Visit United Arab Emirates


Romantic gondola ride in Venice


Romantic gondola ride in Venice
Romantic gondola ride in Venice – Best Travel Experiences

A Romantic gondola ride in Venice is one of many people’s Top 10 best travel experiences ever. Personally scheduling my navigation along the Grand Canal during sunset, so the building facades and labyrinthine canals took on a bit more of a romantic scene, my wife just loved it!

Read the pages: Driving in Italy & San Marino and Visit Venice Iconic City.


Swimming with Whale Sharks in Holbox Island


Swimming with Whale Sharks in Mexico
Swimming with Whale Sharks in Mexico

On Mexico’s Holbox Island, you can make amazing dives into the Mayan Riviera while swimming in 10 meters / 32 feet of crystal blue waters populated by whale sharks.


Meeting Afghan Troops in the middle of nowhere


Meeting Afghan Troops
Meeting Afghan Troops

While driving in Afghanistan on my own, I had the opportunity to meet Afghan troops patrolling the dangerous northern sections of the country. I found them to be very hospitable and friendly people while managing a highly demanding job.

Read the page: Visit Mazar-i-Sharif – Afghan city of the Noble Shrine


Visiting the Korean Demilitarized Zone DMZ


Korean Demilitarized Zone in North Korea - DMZ
Korean Demilitarized Zone in North Korea – DMZ

During my travels in North Korea, I was able to visit the most heavily armed region in the world: The Korean Demilitarized Zone commonly called The DMZ.

Read the page: Visit North Korea


Trekking Machu Picchu Mountain


Trekking Machu Picchu Mountain
Trekking Machu Picchu Mountain

To escape the crowded ruins of Machu Picchu, you can also consider scaling 3082 meters / 10111 feet up the sacred Machupicchu Mountain. Although the ascension’s route may be a bit difficult, the spectacular view from above the ruins is breathtaking and rewarding! This part of the Peruvian mountains is beyond incredible.

Read the page: Visit Peru


Visiting Fatima Masumeh Shrine in Qom


Visiting Fatima Masumeh Shrine in Qom, Iran
Visiting Fatima Masumeh Shrine in Qom, Iran – Best Travel Experiences

Located in the Holy city of Qom, the Shrine of Fatimah bint Musa al-Kadhim, commonly known as Fatimah al-Masumah. Considered to be one of the most significant Shi’i sites in Iran, it houses the shrine of the daughter of the eleventh Twelver Shiah Imam, Musa al-Kadhi, and sister of the eighth Twelver Shiah Imam, Ali ar-Ridha.

Upon entering the Mosque, watching thousands of people praying and worshiping such a place was incredible and unforgettable. Inside the mausoleum are several rooms, each leading to the main tomb area where you’ll find everyone pushing each other to touch the tomb, some even crying in their attempts. Customarily, visitors should seat themselves, grab a Koran and enjoy this moment as an important pilgrimage for Muslims of the region. When invited inside the shrine by others, non-muslims can easily get in as long as they behave accordingly for the occasion.

Read the page: Visit Iran


Joining the Caucasus Challenge Rally


Joining the Caucasus Challenge Rally - Best Travel Experiences
Joining the Caucasus Challenge Rally – Best Travel Experiences

In 2008, I participated in a 7500 km / 4660 mi adventurous automobile rally across Europe. The voyage took me from Hungary all the way to the Caucasus region of Georgia, then through Armenia and into the troubled region of Nagorno Karabakh. As one of the selected travelers representing the leading Virtual Tourist travel website while driving a 25-year-old Russian Moskvitch, this crazy 11 country border-hopping adventure was an experience of a lifetime! The 2008 Rally Route traversed: Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.

Visit the website: Caucasian Challenge


Climbing the Cerro Blanco sand dune


Climbing the Cerro Blanco sand dune - Best Travel Experiences
Climbing the Cerro Blanco sand dune – Best Travel Experiences

The world’s largest sand dune, Cerro Blanco, is located in southern Peru, near the well-known city of Nasca. Here, you can trek the five-hour climb up the dune escalating to an elevation of 2100 m / 6889 ft. Then, take an exhilarating slide down on a sandboard!


UN army escort in DRC


UN army escort in DRC
UN army escort in DRC

Read the page: African Bread Recipe – Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Évora – Tambacounda Expedition 2004


Évora - Tambacounda Expedition 2004
Évora – Tambacounda Expedition 2004

The name Évora Tambacounda 2004 references an overland expedition starting in Évora, Portugal and ending in Tambacounda, Senegal. This journey of over 13000 km. took 32 days, round-trip, through Portugal, Spain, Morocco, the Moroccan Western Sahara, unprotected Western Sahara regions, Mauritania, Senegal, and The Gambia.

Visit the website: Evora Tamtabounda.


Mauritania Desert Expedition


Mauritania Desert Expedition
Mauritania Desert Expedition

Although I’ve been to Mauritania seven times, one of my most unforgettable trips indeed occurred with my Moroccan friend Moha, when we explored the desert on a four-by-four, from Morocco all the way down to Chinguetti, Mauritania. For desert lovers, you can be sure Mauritania’s conditions are as harsh as its name sounds.

Read the pages: People of Mauritania and Ben Amera.


Kung-Fu training in Iran


Kung-Fu training in Iran
Kung-Fu training in Iran

Kung-Fu TO’a is a modern, Iranian martial art developed by Ibrahim Mirzaei in the 1960’s. Having practiced this style of Kung-Fu since 1994, I was welcomed to join classes at an Esfahan and Qeshm Island Kung-Fu TO’a school during my first trip to Iran, in 2004.


Children Summer Volunteering in Kazakhstan


Children Summer Volunteering in Kazakhstan
Children Summer Volunteering in Kazakhstan

During the Summer of 2004, I volunteered as a child mentor in Almaty, South Kazakhstan. My job consisted of taking care of children while offering art workshops and teaching English in a summer camp.


Army Escort Somalia Taxi Ride


Army Escort Somalia Taxi Ride
Army Escort Somalia Taxi Ride

Read the page: Somaliland Travel Guide


South Sudan Independence


South Sudan Independence
South Sudan Independence

Actually congratulated by a border immigration officer for the accomplishment, I can say “I was the first Portuguese national to cross the border of South Sudan”. I was also the first travel blogger to enter the newest country in Africa.

I traveled to South Sudan to participate in the 11th July 2011 Independence Day celebration, but the border was closed due to national security. The next day, I reentered the country to find everyone still jubilantly partying on the streets of the capital, in Juba.

Read the page: South Sudan Travel Guide


Working on a Farm in up State New York


Working on a Farm in up State New York
Working on a Farm in up State New York

Flight Over Mount Everest


Flight Over Mount Everest
Flight Over Mount Everest

Whale Watching in Iceland


Whale Watching in Iceland
Whale Watching in Iceland

Read the page: Visit Iceland.


Hitchhiking West Africa


Hitchhiking West Africa
Hitchhiking West Africa

In 2002, I hitchhiked all the way to the border of Senegal, crossing the Moroccan Western Sahara and the Mauritanian Desert.


Living Abroad


Living Abroad, my house in Ukraine
Living Abroad, my house in Ukraine

So far, I have lived in Finland, Brazil, Turkey, Portugal, Morocco, Poland, Ukraine, and the United States. Leaving the comfort zone back home is, indeed, a fulfilling experience that enriches our spirit, towards ourselves and others, while endowing life with a multitude of practical information. I can say, above all, living abroad is the absolute best self-development practice, ever.


Being Invited to stay with a nomad Kazakh Family


Being Invited to stay with a nomad Kazakh Family
Being Invited to stay with a nomad Kazakh Family

Read my page: Nomads of Kazakhstan


Crossing through the Idlib Province during wartime


Best Travel Experiences

Crossing the newly reopen M5 highway connecting Damascus to Aleppo through the Idlib Province since it was closed for many years due to the civil war was a situation that made me think about many things in life. Due to the ongoing fighting in Idlib, which I saw in the distance, for almost 30 km, I heard bombs and black smoke on the horizon. People on motorcycles, tanks, and army trucks were all heading to the frontline. A particular section of the road was barred by the Turkish army. Consequently and all vehicles had to go on a shortcut. While crossing a destroyed village, a Syrian Army tank fired just 20m from my car. The noise was tremendous, and like something I’ve never experienced before. This road was eventually cut two days after due to rebels gaining terrain and occupying the villages near Saraqib. We often complain about many things we take for granted, while in other war thorn parts of the world, people do really have nothing.