Updated: Mar 23
We have all heard about the amazing experiences you should do when you are in your 20s and 30s but you can do these at any age! OK, so it is easier to do them when you are younger with little or no commitments and also not being wise enough or thinking about the repercussions of what might or might not happen. Now wiser, there are some things that I would highly recommend, others knowing now what I do, wouldn't dream of doing again or encouraging others. Then there are the ones that well... was enough the first time! Which Wild and Wonderful Experiences have you ticketed off your must-do list/bucket list?
Me with a Python Snake, Jamaica ©MDHarding
Wild And Wonderful Experiences
Driving A Super Car
While working onboard cruise ships cruising around the beautiful islands of Hawaii. I had the incredible opportunity while in Maui to hire a Chevrolet Corvette convertible. Only one-month-old, racing red, and now available to hire. Who wouldn't want to drive their dream car? There was one place I was looking forward to seeing - Haleakala Crater. A dormant volcano measuring 10,000 feet above sea level. The road is long, windy, and in some places narrow. Today it is one of the most visited attractions and is especially popular at sunrise.
Today I can still hear the car rental guy asking "where did you go?" "To the crater, It was really cool!" "What?!"
It was an incredible day. Where is the most awesome place you have ever driven to?
Little Red Corvette at Sunset ©MDHarding
Sky Diving Experience
On my third contract at sea, I must have been a little bored or life a little dull, as I agreed to go on a tandem sky diving experience. What on earth was I thinking? This experience definitely removed the cobwebs from between my ears. One minute we were being shown the safety briefing the next parachutes attached and sitting on the floor of a small two-seater Cessna plane with the door open at 12,000 feet. A bright blue sky with the occasional white candy floss cloud drifting by. It was hot on the ground, and the air circulating in the plane was a welcome relief. I was sweltering with the parachute strapped tightly in the cramp stuffy space.
Signaled, I moved closer to the door, having a brief second thought, we were dropping like a stone. It is a strange sensation, that is hard to comprehend. You have no sensation of falling, other than the thrusting of air in your face and the ground getting closer! It felt like a lifetime but in reality only seconds before the parachute was released and we were gliding to the ground below. My heart beats rapidly even thinking about it now, many years later. It is one for those that crave adrenaline rushes!
I don't regret doing it but I'm relieved it's over and the experience will live with me forever. Not one I will be repeating. Have you ever done a skydive? What was your experience like? Would you do it again?
Sky Diving Experience in Hawaii ©MDHarding
Dangerous Animal Encounters
Tessa the "Esso" Orange Siberian Tiger in Aruba. Housed in an enclosure by the Seaport Marketplace. It was very tempting to be so close to an incredible wild animal. Tessa was fed, and the floors were washed of blood before we were each asked to sit by Tessa. The moment was fleeting but I still remember how coarse her hair was. Born at Dartmoor Wildlife Park, England, and appearing on television commercials in the U.K. Tessa was later transported to Aruba to live. Her life was cut dramatically short in 2004 at only 13 years old.
I know from experience that this can be seen as an opportunity and being young I didn't know better. Today we are all knowledgeable and more aware of how animals are treated. My heart goes out to wild animals still in captivity.
Tessa The Siberian Tiger and Me, Aruba ©MDHarding
Walking Over Active Lava Fields
A group of us took a taxi to Kilauea the world's only drive-in volcano. Walking over the distinctive black lava passing signs "Danger, you are walking into an active volcanic area". When we reached the top we weren't expecting to see the molten lava escaping into the sea and the great plumes of steam rising. It was a sight to be seen. In a state of shock, I hurriedly took this one shot on a film camera before heading back quickly! Today there are walks at Kilauea caldera at Halemaumau, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and the Big Island. Another option is to take a helicopter tour over Pu'uO'o.
Lava Escaping into The Ocean Creating a Large ball of Steam, Hawaii ©MDHarding
(sorry for the image quality, taken on a film camera over a decade ago)
Walking Across an Alaskan Glacier
The Mendenhall Glacier 12 miles from downtown Juneau, Alaska is one of the world's incredible natural wonders! Did you know you can take a walking tour across it, see deep inside the crevasses and even drink the water? I would recommend wearing sturdy non-slip boots/crampons.
Into the Deep Blue Crevasse, Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska ©MDHarding
I hope you have enjoyed reading and are inspired to create great memories. Please do be thoughtful and kind to animals by not participating in elephant rides/bathing etc. What experiences do you have on your list? What experiences will live with you forever? I would love to know. Please comment/share. You can reach me via email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Until next time...happy travels:) x