The travel moment I think about a lot
One of the first questions my partner ever asked me was why I moved to London. I don’t remember saying it, but he informs me my answer was to travel and for my career. Turns out my chat was pretty lame, but the statement manifested itself. Four years later and both aims have come to fruition in an erratic way. And often, all at once. In the time since I’ve moved here I’ve reached a number career goals – most recently to find a new career.
And I’ve travelled. Sometimes so much it’s been a little embarrasing. I’ve seen the Northern Lights in Iceland. Swum under waterfalls in the Australian outback. Wandered through Central Park completely covered in snow and ate the best sushi of my life in Japan. I learnt that I suffer from motion sickness when I landed in the Grand Canyon by helicopter, and that there’s nothing funnier than a trunk when I fed bananas to elephants in the Thai Jungle. I’ve consumed too many pool-side margaritas in Mexico and dined under the stars in the Abu Dhabi desert. I’ve enjoyed a private pool party at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and been on a roof top in Marrakech when the sun set and the call to prayer filled the sky.
But the my favourite travel experience still to this day happened in India. I visited a few years ago now and I still think about it (and Dorinda saying ‘not well bitch’) alot. I remember being slightly scared to go to at the time and having to get vaccinations before hand didn’t help. When I arrived though, something just clicked. It was colourful and exotic and felt the most adventurous. The whole trip was a thrill but there was one moment that still stands with me to this day.It was early morning in Ranthambore, a national park that is essential the Jungle Book come to life. Our travel group were on an open-air jeep heading out on a safari. It was too early for breakfast or even talking, and so most people were looking at their cameras, or their phones, or at nothing in particular, in the process of waking up.
As a non-coffee drinking morning person, I must have been slightly more alert that the rest. And as we ventured towards the national park I, albeit nonchalantly, glanced out from the jeep and immediately saw eyes. Yellow eyes staring straight back at me. Eyes of a tiger, there in plain sight, walking parallel to our jeep in the distance. Unsure of how unusual this sight may be, I said ‘there it is’ to the guy next to me in the type of tone you’d use to ask someone to “pass the salt”.
Not sure he had heard me correctly he looked up to where I was subtly pointing, I saw his eyes widen and then he calmly announced to the jeep that we could see a tiger. Our tour guide lept to attention and pannickedly yelled stop to the driver.
Everyone quietly stood, cameras came out and then, for five minutes – which felt more like hours – a wild female Asian tiger walked slowly up to our jeep, then in front of it, before leaping back into the jungle.
We were all excited by what had happened but our local driver and guide even more so. After the sighting, we continued to drive into the national park for our safari and didn’t spy a tiger again. My travel group commended me on such an acute sighting (all those years of looking at Where’s Wally books paid off). Our guide Taj told me that it was the best sighting of a tiger he’d ever had, and it was more than common to not see a tiger at all and rare to even spot a glimpse of one in the distance.
That moment when I saw it and nothing else was when something clicked. It felt like the whole world had opened up for me. Like it ment something special. I think about that tiger all the time, and can still remember what it was like to look into it’s eyes. And for a couple of seconds, be the only one to see it.
India was one of the best trips I’ve ever done. Here’s what it was like when I visited Delhi.