Travelling can be a life-changing experience – and Stylist has spoken to seven women about the most iconic and memorable holidays over the years.
Some of my favourite memories with my family and friends are linked to a holiday abroad. From visiting the stunning cascading waterfalls of Krka National Park in Croatia with my best friend to riding through the sand dunes of Dubai with my family, I have strong ties to the places I’ve travelled to due to the connections I’ve forged and the lasting memories I now have.
But while travelling still seems like a risky activity due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many are keeping their suitcases tucked away and their passports unstamped while reminiscing on their previous travel experiences – and we spoke to seven women about their greatest-of-all-time holiday and the long-lasting impact it has had on their lives.
“One of my favourite holidays though was the girls’ holiday to Ayia Napa in 2003. Unlike the stereotypes associated with this destination, there are lots of people who go for some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. One time we booked ten days and it ended up being like an annual meeting place of friends from all over the country.
“We’d go clubbing every night, walks to the beach and more. But when it came to the end of our 10 days, we weren’t ready to go home. So we sat on the bed on our last day, not ready to come home, and one of us said, ‘Shall we … just miss our flight?’ The other one agreed and we then purposefully missed our flights, had to spend the next few hours finding a new hotel and flights, and stayed for a further four days. It was amazing.”
“My best ever trip was to India in 2019 to retrace my ancestral roots.
I remember visiting a town in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, called Osian, also known as Osianor Ossiya, located close to the Thar desert. According to records, it was here that the roots of my community, the Oshwal community, is thought to have started.
“I had always been fascinated to learn about the factors that led my ancestors to move from there to Gujarat and then eventually to Kenya, East Africa, and my curiosity inspired me to travel to learn more.
“It was a truly eye-opening and humbling experience seeing how life was in Osian and learning about the history.”
“In July 2019, I visited Mexico and it was an amazing experience. I have always loved Mexican textiles and Frida Kahlo; I just felt truly inspired and fell in love with the country. One of my favourite memories from that trip was actually going on a textile tour that allowed me to try some of the crafty techniques!
“It’s just such a great place. There’s amazing food, vibrant festivals like the Guelaguetza and stunning architecture and it gave me the confidence to travel alone again.”
“Because I’m single, I can end up procrastinating because I don’t have a default person to travel with but this trip made me realise that there are other ways to see the world. You’re never completely on your own.”
“In October 2018, I travelled to Iceland with my family. We found a great deal on airfare and planned this semi-budget trip in just 2.5 months! We stayed in an Airbnb, because it was less expensive than hotels, afforded more space, and made us feel more like locals.
“It was so much fun discovering everything for the first time all together as a family. From black sand beaches to the Blue Lagoon, to geothermal activity, to waterfalls, and seeing the northern lights…our entire week in Iceland was fabulous!”
“I’ve been blessed to travel to some amazing places in my lifetime and one of my best travel experiences was to Jordan! I wanted to visit because I felt it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, from floating in the Dead Sea, visiting Petra and watching numerous shooting stars and the Milky Way with the naked eye are some of the top experiences I enjoyed here. Everything about the trip was perfect.”
“In 2009 I travelled to Rwanda. I had always wanted to trek gorillas especially as David Attenborough is my hero and after much research, I decided Rwanda was the place for me. I also wanted to see how this beautiful country, which suffered such a terrible war and atrocious genocide, had been rebuilt and to spend time with the locals.
I am heavily into responsible tourism and I wanted to be able to experience all of the above but most of all give back to the community and this trip allowed me to do it in so many ways.
“I had so many brilliant experiences that I’ll never forget. I got to be six feet away from a 440lb silverback and saw a family of gorillas in their own environment. I trekked to Dian Fossey grave and learned about the amazing work she had done and then met a mother whose child had been killed in the genocide and heard her awful stories which at times were beyond what any human should have to endure. These are the kind of memories and experiences that will always be with me.”
– Alison Kent
“One of my most epic holidays was a solo trip to the Philippines in December 2019 to celebrate my birthday. I had the most amazing time and lived my best life!
“This trip was so meaningful to me because I experienced so many new things and connected with incredible people. I ziplined the second-longest dual cable zip line in Asia; I explored Cebu city with locals and ate delicious Filipino food.
I also went on a canyoneering adventure, saw the stunning Kawasan waterfall, swam in Magpupungko rock pools and so much more.
“The Philippines left me with the best memories and lessons that have kept me yearning for more adventure!”
Images: Denise Maxwell, Binny Shah, Kristabel Plummer Lavina Dsouza, Alison Kent