The Olympic Games pick the top three contenders from around the world and award them the gold, silver and bronze. Narrowing thousands of participants down to just three got me thinking. If I had to narrow my best or favorite international travel experiences down to three, the gold, the silver and the bronze what would they be?

Narrowing my choices down was truly an Olympic decision for me. That being said I narrowed it down to individual and team (country) events.

My GOLD Team event or country was without a doubt Kenya. Our Kenya trip was as close to perfect as earthly possible. The flights were punctual, the food was good, the travel companions were friendly, the accommodations were unique and memorable, the weather was wonderful. We saw the “Big 5” multiple times and we had time to meet with the children.

My SILVER country would probably be Thailand. I loved the bus tour through the country; since we weren’t flying from destination to destination we saw a lot. I found it to be a colorful and yet a historical country. The people were so friendly, which is probably why they are known as “the land of smiles.”

My BRONZE medal country is difficult, a choice between South Africa and Ecuador but I chose Ecuador. It may be one of my favorite countries because we again traveled by land and saw a lot of the country, from the high altitudes down to the Amazon Basin. It really shouldn’t rate so high since I have never been as sick on any of my travels. We never had a chance to adjust to the drastic changes in elevation. What a diverse country and we never even made it to the Galapagos Islands!

My GOLD individual travel experience was definitely Machu Picchu. Being at the remarkable site was breathtaking and mind boggling. It had a spiritual reverence to it that got to my soul. As a writer I am sorry I just can’t put into words how Machu Picchu made me feel.

My SILVER individual medal for travel experience goes to climbing China’s Great Wall. It is something that I had wanted to do for most of my life and the view was magnificent. I wished I could have hiked more of it.

Again the BRONZE medal for and individual experiences is a difficult choice, a choice between climbing actively erupting Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala and cage diving with the Great White Shark in South Africa. Both experiences were adrenaline filled and not to be missed during a visit. But I think the BRONZE would go to Pacaya Volcano. The display that Mother Nature put on reminded me how little control we really have in our lives.

So can you name your personal GOLD, SILVER, and BRONZE medal experiences? Narrowing down options to just three is very difficult, I am glad I am not a judge.

And CONGRATULATION to Team USA for their spectacular performance in the London 2012 Olympics!



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