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Roger Hicks
11-01-2009, 14:48
How many 'trips of a lifetime' can you make? And what does a 'trip of a lifetime' involve? Part of it is being in control, i.e. not at someone else's mercy for the itinerary. Another part is loving (most of) where you are.

In 1990 Frances and I toured south India on an Enfield Bullet: 5000 km. This year (2009) we made a 7700 km tour in our Series 3 Land Rover through France-Italy-Slovenia-Croatia-Serbia-Kosova-Macedonia-Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria-Germany-Switzerland and back home to France.

We now want to pack in as many more 'trips of a lifetime' as we can at our age. To a certain extent, this means going back to places we love and want to see more of, though we are (moderately) open to new destinations. Who else has made the 'trip of a lifetime' (or better still, two or more 'trips of a lifetime') and how does such a trip differ from any other trip? For example, I have driven across the United States about 7 times, and been to Dharamsala maybe 6 times, Malta about the same, Greece maybe 5x, etc. One aspect of both 'trips of a lifetime' was trying to fit in too much in too short a time.

Cheers,

R.

aniMal
11-01-2009, 15:02
Hmm - the trip I remember as my trip of a lifetime, was not an easy one... I clearly remember leaving Oslo on a cold winter night for India and Nepal, with all my cash on me and just an M2 and a 50. Also I knew I was ill somehow, but nevertheless felt I had to make this trip... Never felt so free, serious, and close to my own destiny - perhaps the only way to describe it. Got some great images, and also a hell of a time in hospitals after returning ;)

Wish I could redo that kind of journey, not the physical part, but the attitude of it. I partly managed just that last autumn, going for a few weeks alone into the mountains in Spain.

I guess a more sensible and comfortable approach is, like you say, to be independent and free - and have the time to really get into the mood... Wish I had that in me, but perhaps it will come later on?

It does get harder to get that feeling of the ultimate travel I guess, even for me who has never done longer trips like you describe. Myself I rather prefer to make several, shorter visits to places, so that I get to feel a connection with the place I visit.

I have got one idea though, for the ones happy with sailing, which is to get to the north-pole the first summer when the ice breaks up... :(

Austerby
11-01-2009, 15:14
As for "trips of a lifetime" I've had four:

a) interrailing around Europe in 1986
b) exploring the north, south, east and west of India in 1992
c) South America - from Quito to Recife via Rio in 2003
d) Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia in 2008

If you've not been to Laos and in particular the north of the country then you're in for a treat - lovely people, fascinating culture, stunning landscapes and the wonder that is Luang Prabang. A photographer's paradise. Go now before it's spoiled (though no doubt they said that twenty years ago). Go and see Angkor Wat too whilst you're in that part of the world.

As for next? Well, I've just bought small yacht and plan on exploring the Thames Estuary and the Essex and Suffolk rivers!

wlewisiii
11-01-2009, 15:20
Trip of a lifetime - two visits to Vietnam over 3 months (March to May) of 2002 to adopt our son. Only had a so-so Canon Rebel XS & kit lens but it taught me that I needed a better camera and needed to learn how to really use it. I've come a long ways from there to here and I'm still chasing my son with my camera.

William

oftheherd
11-01-2009, 15:47
That's an interesting question since I always enjoyed traveling and seeing other places, and photographing them. With almost 30 years in the US Army, my chances to choose where I would go and be independent there were somewhat restricted. :D :D

I think nonetheless, I managed to enjoy every place except two times in Kentucky, and one in North Carolina. Uncle Sam sent me on all expenses paid trips to Okinawa, Viet Nam, and Korea overseas, and in the USA, Colorado, and two times in the Wasington, DC area (not counting the already mentioned KY and NC).

I found Viet Nam and Korea to be especially picturesque. Okinawa had some scenic places as well. After four years in Viet Nam, I don't guess I left anything there I need to go back for, but if I could spend more that a week or two there, I think I could enjoy it.

Korea I don't know. The wife and I see all the changes on TV and don't know if we would really enjoy there again. Still, if I could spend time in the countryside, I think I could still find good photo ops, and good people.

The trip of a lifetime for me was probably about a year after the wife and I got married. We went from Ft Knox, KY, to my home in Missouri, up to South Dakota, across Wyoming, cutting tips of Montana and Idaho, then down into Yellow Stone Nat'l Park, down to Salt Lake, and further south to Bryce Canyon, Coral Nat'l Dunes, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. From there east through Four Corners to Mesa Verde, over Wolf Creek Pass and on to Colorado Springs and up Pikes Peak. Then across Kansas to home, and back to Ft Knox.

We made that trip in a Volkswagon Camper with two cats. We camped two or three days, then stayed in a motel or camp ground to do laundry and luxuriate in showers. We saw much of the historical places of the old west, Mount Rushmore, petrified forests, a fascinating large stone Indian medicine wheel, the cliff dwellings and more. In three weeks it was a hard trip, but fun in many ways. Wouldn't like to do it now in that time frame, but wouldn't mind seeing some of those places again.

Unfortunately, travel is pretty much out for us now. My wife suffers from fibromyalgia. She can't really travel. Too bad. She sometimes mentions us being able to tow a camping trailer as she knows I enjoy travel. But it just isn't in the cards, and she knows that as well as I do. Hope others get to make their "trip of a lifetime."

FrankS
11-01-2009, 15:47
My trip of a lifetime so far, has been the year I spent living and working in Japan. By staying put in a place for a while, you get to know it better than if you're just passing through. Relationships have time to develop. The working part was necessary for me to afford what I was doing, but I think it also helped me integrate into daily life, keeping it real. Day trips and weekend trips were taken, and money was saved for a couple of weeks of travel before coming back to Canada. I hope to do something similar again soon.

I do envy your travels , Roger!

Another cool trip I did was driving a car back for someone, from Florida to Canada. I was on my own and had no hard timeline. I simply headed northwards on secondary roads, stopping to look at whatever looked interesting. On the way, I took a little side trip to see New Orleans because I was nearby and always wanted to see that city. Travelling so loosely was neat. I just drove, and when I got to a town I looked it up on a map to see where I was. Meandering can be a nice way to travel.

wgerrard
11-01-2009, 16:33
Interesting question. I've lived on four continents, including this one (North America). I've found that travel, even to the same place, is a dim reflection of living someplace. I suppose that's self-evident, but it's still true.

So, I'm not sure I've yet had the trip of a lifetime. I seem to keep going back to the same places. I love spending a week or so in the UK every other year or so, and I seem to find myself in the San Francisco area about every eighteen months. Bear in mind that my idea of fun travel if minimal driving, a comfortable bed, good food, and a hot shower.

The minimal driving thing gets in the way. I need to go back to the UK, rent a car, and drive around and get lost for a couple of weeks. I spent a lot of time in South Africa about 20 years ago -- apartheid South Africa -- and I want to go back to the place. You need to drive to see that amazing country and get to know its equally amazing people.

Tom A
11-01-2009, 16:33
There is no feeling like the one when you take off for the great unknown. You can plan a trip down to split-second - but if it is a good trip - that schedule goes out through the window within the first hour. After that the trip becomes a true "trip".
Early 60's - multiple trips around Europe - either "by thumb" or BMW bike.
1968 3 month from Sweden to Marrakech in an asthmatic VW bus!
1970-71 Around the world, including crossing Sahara in our Land-Rover, 6 month in the US/Canada in a pick-up truck with a camper on it. Almost 8 month in Australia, including riding a 450 Honda from Brisbane to Perth.
The India/Pakistan hostilities stopped the plan to ride back to Sweden - had to fly to London. Sold my Nikon F ($500) kit and bought a 1949 Bentley Mark VI and finished the trip in style!!
1974-75. From Halifax, Nova Scotia to almost the Arctic Ocean (drove the part of the Pipe-line that was open at the time). Swapped the Land Rover for a Cortez motor home and travelled through Mexico for 6-7 months.
1982/83. Six month in a rather cranky Citroen HY van around Europe. Sold the van, rented a very small studio in Paris for a year. Tuulikki studies french and I took pictures (M4P/M2/TriX/D-76 - developed in the bathtub).
1986/87. Went back to Australia, bough a Holden panel van (like a station wagon) - did the "square" all around OZ - as well as up and down the center.
Since 87 mostly shorter trips (Japan - multiple times. 15 I think, Europe once or twice a year and occasionally other foray's (Cuba,Israel etc).
For medical reasons I cant do these long trips anymore (6 weeks or more) - so short jaunts must suffice.
Of course, if we hadn't done all these trips - we would have better retirement benefits - but we have never regretted it.
I think that one should travel when young - not just because of stamina - but also to establish a habit. Once a vagabond, always a vagabond.
Just read the first chapter of Steinbeck's "Travels with Charlie" - if that doesn't get you packing, nothing will.
All you really need is a couple of M2's,21/35/50/90 and LOTS of film. Everything else is available on the road!

FrankS
11-01-2009, 16:39
Tom A, another BMW mbike guy!

aniMal
11-01-2009, 16:51
I think that one should travel when young - not just because of stamina - but also to establish a habit. Once a vagabond, always a vagabond.

Exactly! This summer most of my time was spent in a 76 Mercedes 508D converted to a camper. We drove perhaps 8000 km, Oslo - Leipizig - Berlin - Budapest - Trieste - Italian and French alps - Germany - Oslo. Most of it well off the autobahn. Eastern Germany was a real shock - and I tend to talk about it as DDR to illustrate the feeling. All practically devoid of people, lots of small villages deserted just like ghost-towns...

Next year we plan on perhaps doing a trip like this once more, but combined with writing articles and trying to make some money off it. Not hoping for a fortune really, but enough so that I can bring the car into the company for tax deductions :)

Its strange that I havenīt been doing this kind of trips before, I guess getting a really eager and easygoing girlfriend 12 years my junior did the trick! Especially as we tend to feel the same age being together. Half the journey is always the company - be it others or being alone with yourself!

Mongo Park
11-01-2009, 16:53
Ever been anywhere in Africa? I suspect a trip in your Land Rover through Spain into North Africa might be rather exciting.

Tom A
11-01-2009, 17:14
aniMal. you are absolutely right. A partner "in crime" is very important. Tuulikki was (and still is) very good at this. I will propose some trip and however far-fetched she will say "Fine" and "When are we leaving?" - and add, "not too early in the morning".
Africa in the early 70's was fairly safe. There was some civil wars (stopped us from going into Nigeria and also crossing to Nairobi - but in 100 000's km of traveling we have never really had a problem. Occasionally stupid customs officials, the road blocks, plenty of bad advice etc - but today the world has changed for the worse in this aspect.

Pablito
11-01-2009, 17:32
As for "trips of a lifetime" I've had four:

a) interrailing around Europe in 1986
b) exploring the north, south, east and west of India in 1992
c) South America - from Quito to Recife via Rio in 2003
d) Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia in 2008

If you've not been to Laos and in particular the north of the country then you're in for a treat - lovely people, fascinating culture, stunning landscapes and the wonder that is Luang Prabang. A photographer's paradise. Go now before it's spoiled (though no doubt they said that twenty years ago). Go and see Angkor Wat too whilst you're in that part of the world.

As for next? Well, I've just bought small yacht and plan on exploring the Thames Estuary and the Essex and Suffolk rivers!

I was in Luang Prabang in 2008 and found it quite spoiled. You did get a sense of what it must have been like but it was CRAWLING with tourists. And in Cambodia, the entire Angkor complex of temples is more and more fenced off, with walkways, do not enter signgs and more rules and regulations every year. If you go in high season, you will see hundreds and hundreds of buses full of tourists. There must have been 150 ugly new hotels built in Siem Riep in the last 2 or 3 years. I did a photo essay on that....

dfoo
11-01-2009, 17:34
My trip of a lifetime was moving to Shanghai with nothing more than two suitcases 6 years ago. I met my wife there, and we had our trip of lifetime over a month to hong kong, and multiple locations in both Thailand, and Vietnam. Two years ago my wife and I had our great trip. I'm back in Canada now, but I'm starting to feel the wanderlust again. I guess I get itchy if I stay in one place for too long.

Freakscene
11-01-2009, 17:35
Every trip is the trip of a lifetime. You never know when you might not be able to go do these things again, forwhatever reason, so just doing it is a good idea.

This last (southern) winter we travelled through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. http://gallery.leica-users.org/v/freakscene/75+Summilux/cheetah.jpg.html
We try to take a 'big' trip at least every 2 years and do plenty of domestic travel inbetween.

In 50 years the world will be a lot more homogeneous. I figure I'll see as much of it as soon as I can.

Marty

Pablito
11-01-2009, 17:37
My trip of a lifetime was moving to Shanghai with nothing more than two suitcases 6 years ago. I met my wife there, and we had our trip of lifetime over a month to hong kong, and multiple locations in both Thailand, and Vietnam. Two years ago my wife and I had our great trip. I'm back in Canada now, but I'm starting to feel the wanderlust again. I guess I get itchy if I stay in one place for too long.

So did your wife come with you to Canada, or will you be looking for a new wife on your next trip?

aniMal
11-01-2009, 17:38
Oh, it is so easy to go on rambling about my own travels with a subject like this... So, to rectify I will throw in some ideas (that I would like to realize myself too!):

For the adventurous: going far east in Europe. Perhaps even have a nip into Pripyat/Chernobyl? Vast expanses of land with lots of history, and not too much reported from even these modern times. But perhaps a bit rough, even a little risky?

Going Nordic - of course I am obliged to suggest this: going for the midnight sun. There are some routes up through either Norway or Sweden that are just great - everything being about nature. Then going the other way through Finland and the Baltics. But bring a gallon or two of mosquito repellent!

Africa has been mentioned, I guess especially the northern parts are well within reach. A country like Libya would be interesting - bound to be quite different from what is portrayed in the press I guess!

Any country which is an unknown should be something, especially for a photographer. Flickr is a really great resource when it comes to finding locations in different countries, and also amateurs that would love to act as guides for a professional I should guess...

dfoo
11-01-2009, 17:40
So did your wife come with you to Canada, or will you be looking for a new wife on your next trip?

She came with me :) I hope that she accompanies me on all my future trips!

maddoc
11-01-2009, 18:06
A little bit similar to Frank, my trip of a lifetime is Japan. I live and work here now for more than 6 years and there is still so much to see and do. Also going to Japan brought me back to photography.

retnull
11-01-2009, 18:35
I guess a more sensible and comfortable approach is, like you say, to be independent and free - and have the time to really get into the mood... :(

Agreed. For me, it was a month in Europe with a Eurail pass in 1999. No itinerary, complete freedom, complete independence. No obligation to stay put if I felt like it, no obligation to leave if I felt like it. I drifted through France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary. It was delightful, and easy.

craygc
11-01-2009, 19:08
The frequent problem with "trips of a life time" and "photography" is that unless you have either been to these places previously or have had the luxury to live there for a period, it becomes extremely difficult to capture well. I am fortunate enough that I have travelled and lived throughout Asia for over 10 years now, yet there are still many places that I want to photograph again just because I need to learn so much more about the weather, seasons, moods and traffic patterns with multiple visits.

Without being intimate about a place, all you can ever do is scratch the surface...

bmattock
11-01-2009, 19:15
Must be nice, guys. My trip of a lifetime involved C rations and foxholes. All expenses paid, though. The bonus was I came home alive.

stnolan
11-01-2009, 19:26
For me:
1. traveling europe as a student in 82 and spending a lot of time behind the iron curtain
2. hiking around the Mont Blanc masif in 93 by myself
3. taking a road trip from L.A. to Denver using secondary roads with my best friend. (Navajo Nation, Monument Valley, Durango etc)

alan davus
11-01-2009, 22:42
My trips of a lifetime:
1. Darwin to London overland through Asia, left August 01 1976 and arrived exactly one year later
2. 15 months hitching through Africa in 1978-79 (had such a fantastic time I'll never go back. It could never be as good).
These days I have little desire to travel much though if and when I retire I'm certainly heading back to India, absolutely love the place

kievman
11-01-2009, 23:35
I am on the trip of a lifetime right now! It started in Sept 1961 and it continues to this day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Happy travels!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And that statement is completely true in a general sense. I really dont think of my adventures as "trips of a livetime", Any place I really have found amazing I know I will go back to again and stay longer!!!! Asia in my most favorite place in this world and I have visited and worked on that grand continent may times over the past 25 years. I have visited or lived in most of the countries of Asia at least once. And I am planning to go back next spring. This time it will be my usual stop in Thiailand and then on to Nepal and from there on to Tibet for a few months..... Bon Voyage!!!!!!! - Michael

Rob-F
11-01-2009, 23:49
Well, Roger, our trip of a lifetime (my wife and I) was not too far from what you see when you stay home. We were in France this past Spring (2009). Cassis, Arles, Les Baux, St. Remy (saw l'hopital where Van Gogh was), Beaune, Dijon, Auxerre, Vezelay, Paris. Some little mountain towns, Vaison la Romaine and others nearby.

Closer to home, we like to go to the mountains in Colorado. We take our Jeep into high areas inaccessible with 2-wheel drive. Colorado residents, though, drive to Missouri to see our rivers and springs in the Ozarks. In Utah, after climbing to Delicate Arch, we met a French girl who has come all that way to see Arches National park. That was her trip of a lifetime.

And for you, a trip of a lifetime involved leaving France. Leave France? Seems unthinkable to us. Seems the most beautiful place in the world to me! My dad once summed it up, I guess, when he said, "People are always going where they are not."

Rob-F
11-02-2009, 00:13
Here's a shot I took out the window of Van Gogh's hospital room:

Leica All Day
11-02-2009, 00:30
I am living it now......I love it......

John Camp
11-02-2009, 14:56
I once solo-paddled a canoe the length of the Mississippi River, and took about a dozen photographs on the way -- I was a lot more into the travel than the photography. Perhaps another trip of the lifetime would be traveling the Danube, or the Rhine, in a small craft. Or the Thames, for that matter. I don't think I'd do it in a canoe, anymore, but an 18-foot shallow-draft outboard skiff would be fun...I like the idea of wandering around Europe on trains, too; and maybe will do that.

By the way, if you Google Maps "Rhine River," you'll get a map of an amusement park pond in Florida, in the US.

aniMal
11-02-2009, 15:06
My girlfriend is from Budapest, and I often think about how it would be to travel it. I am into boats and has a skipper license, so perhaps one time I will able to make such a journey...

Or one could do like the englishman who travelled from London to Leningrad in a bathtub! At least according to newspaper clippings from the mid eighties.

Edit: found this archived on the web: http://search.opinionarchives.com/Summary/AmericanSpectator/V16I11P4-1.htm

hans voralberg
11-02-2009, 15:09
A very interesting would be my last trip to Kinabalu ;) But still saving for the trip to Angel Falls in Venezuela.

Hey Roger if you want to do a SEA tour, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia I will happily accompany you ;)

micromontenegro
11-02-2009, 15:18
The trip of my lifetime so far, is literally a once in a lifetime affair- the amount of red tape is almost impossible to surmount unless there's a lot of luck and coincidences involved, as was in my case. The place is off limits unless you qualify as a bona fide investigator for three separate gov. instituutions, have a very clean bill of health, convince the local missionaries and, most difficult, have a native recommendation: I spent three weeks with the Yanomami for my PhD thesis. Getting there included enough jungle Cessna flying in the fog and Amazonic boating to fill a lifetime with nightmares; as if the constant danger of the sometimes very drugged, sometimes ill-tempered Yanomami, (nicknamed somewhat coarsely "the fierce people") wasn't enough.

But it was fully worth it.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3472/3801379760_8f436c0b0a_b.jpg

micromontenegro
11-02-2009, 15:23
A very interesting would be my last trip to Kinabalu ;) But still saving for the trip to Angel Falls in Venezuela.



Hey, you've got yourself a RFFer right here, so if you need a local guide, I am your boy.

photogdave
11-02-2009, 21:55
I have been fortunate enough to have made a couple of really fantastic trips that combined adventure travel and photography. In 2002 I traveled in Nepal and India and trekked to Everest Base Camp. It would take too long to describe how amazing that was.
Last year my girlfriend and I did a catamaran tour of the Galapagos Islands followed by a trek to Machu Picchu. Some of those photos are here in my gallery.
But my 'trip of a lifetime' has to be the four years I spent working as a cruise ship photographer. I got to visit nearly every continent (just missed Antarctica by a few miles!), work with some really interesting people from all walks of life, learn a lot about photography (surprisingly) and save up a bit of money.
It was very hard work with no complete days off for 6-8 months at a time but I got to go places I never would have got to any other way and have some incredible adventures! In some ports our time was so limited that you had to make the best of your situation. No time to wait for magic hour or set up tripods - hand held at high noon! It really taught me to be creative and get good shots on the fly.
I'll never have another experience like it.

tbm
11-03-2009, 07:33
During the last 50 years of his life, my father visited every continent and captured images with his Leica M2-R and 35mm Summicron lens on Kodachrome 25 film. However, my mother, my sister and brothers, and I all got so bored with his slide shows because of the redundancy of the 35mm lens' 63 degree angle of view. I used to plead with him to take his 50mm and 90mm Leica lenses on those trips so as to capture images with more variety based on their different angles of view, but he refused to. He died 6 years after I'd bought my R8 and M6 TTL and dozens of lenses and before his death, time after time upon showing him what I'd captured with my Leica lenses from 19mm up to 400mm, he finally agreed that he'd been foolish to limit image capturing with only the 35mm Summicron.

Mablo
11-03-2009, 07:50
I'm a keen traveller, some photos of my recent trips can be seen here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mblomqvist/sets/

However, I don't seem to be able to take photos in earnest while I'm away from home. Mostly I just document places and people.

Juan Valdenebro
11-03-2009, 07:56
Here's a shot I took out the window of Van Gogh's hospital room:

Thanks for sharing that shot!

Juan Valdenebro
11-03-2009, 08:01
The trip of my lifetime so far, is literally a once in a lifetime affair- the amount of red tape is almost impossible to surmount unless there's a lot of luck and coincidences involved, as was in my case. The place is off limits unless you qualify as a bona fide investigator for three separate gov. instituutions, have a very clean bill of health, convince the local missionaries and, most difficult, have a native recommendation: I spent three weeks with the Yanomami for my PhD thesis. Getting there included enough jungle Cessna flying in the fog and Amazonic boating to fill a lifetime with nightmares; as if the constant danger of the sometimes very drugged, sometimes ill-tempered Yanomami, (nicknamed somewhat coarsely "the fierce people") wasn't enough.

But it was fully worth it.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3472/3801379760_8f436c0b0a_b.jpg

Three weeks there! It must have been unforgettable! I guess there were moments of deep fearing... It's another world, the wildest one, really!

Cheers,

Juan