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Photo: Courtesy of Chateau Saint-Maur.
Like most professional travelers, I've found that mastering the art of appropriate dinner party conversation can be difficult. It’s not that I’m overly prone to discussing gruesome or controversial topics; rather, I’ve had to learn which of my travel stories will induce cricket-chirping silences, and which will keep the conversation going. It turns out, there’s a fine line between describing my most epic adventures, and being completely unrelatable (cue the crickets). Bringing up the time I spent a glorious afternoon people-watching at a park in Paris? Most people can chime in with a similar experience. But, talking about the time I was serenaded by birds at dawn, as I pedaled through the cloud forests of Ecuador in a sky bike? Highly unrelatable.
Sure, there's a certain beauty to iconic travel experiences, and I treasure the moments I've spent lounging at a Parisian bistro table for hours or hoping my birthdate will bring me luck at the craps tables in Vegas. But, travel isn’t always about staying on the beaten path. For me, the experiences that have changed who I am and shaped the way I see the world have mainly fallen into the conversation-killer category — and they’ve been well worth every moment of awkward silence.
From stomping grapes in Romania’s Transylvania wine region to a sunrise skydive over the Outback in Australia’s Northern Territory, here are 10 unreal experiences that are refreshingly rare. But, you've been warned: They may not make for great dinner-party anecdotes.
Photo: Courtesy of Mashpi Lodge.