That Wow Moment

Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable
fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called
words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language
of the heart. Martin Luther King Jr.

Hopefully, we have all had that moment in travel when we’ve had that
mystical experience that spirals you into awe and wonder. I called it
that WOW moment. The moment you express wonder, amazement
or great pleasure. The moment you are so overwhelmed with what
you are seeing or experiencing that it leaves you breathless, but in a
good way. It’s a moment you never forget.
In my many years of travel I must say, I have had many, sometimes
expected and sometime not.

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One of my earlier Wow moments came from the first time I ever went
to Paris. It was a dream for me growing up and I never thought I would
ever get there. I remember the first full day in this beautiful city,
I was in the Louvre standing amongst the worlds most famous paintings,
paintings I never thought I would be lucky enough to see, when It suddenly
hit me that here I was in Paris, in the Louvre, with the most glorious
paintings surrounding me. I remember that moment so well, I teared up
and actually had to sit on a bench to let this overwhelming feeling pass.
I know it sounds so dramatic but this was a dream come true for me and
I will never forget that moment.

There are so many Wow moments for me but I wanted to ask others
what their Wow moments were, so here are a few:

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Dave R. said his Wow moment was:
“I could list several, but I have one that, to me, is the most striking. That
is arriving in Venice by train. You get off on the train platform and walk
into the nondescript train station. You continue walking through the
ordinary looking station to the far side and go out the door. Suddenly,
in front of you is the Grand Canal and the Venice you have seen in movies
travelogues, and magazines through the years. The vaporetto dock is
right in front, people are bustling everywhere, boats and water traffic
of all types are going by, and it is a stunning experience. I compare it
to the movie, The Wizard of Oz, where the movie starts out in black and
white and all of a sudden turns to brilliant color”.

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Jen R. said her Wow Moment was:
“I remember my very first trip to Europe, I went on a Cosmos Tour, like
10 countries in 7 days. I remember getting to Rome and being in love
immediately. The biggest thrill was seeing the Colosseum. It was a
place I’d read about and seen pictures of and I was anxious to see it in
real life. We were on the tour bus and we drove down the street and I
spotted it between some buildings. I can still feel the chill of seeing it
in real life; it seemed unreal and very thrilling”.

Another Wow moment from Jen:

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“I was in New Orleans for a short trip. We went to a french restaurant
that only served a limited number of people each night. It was a smallish
group and everyone was seated at the same time so it became a bit of a
communal experience. There were a number of French people in the
restaurant and towards the end of the meal one of the women started
singing Edith Piaf songs. She had a beautiful voice. Everyone stopped
talking and listened. The meal was already good, but the music made it
even better”.

Janet R. said her Wow moment was:

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“In late June of 2006, on a vey hot day, I was walking up the steps of the
“Sacred Way” to visit ancient Delphi and the Sanctuary of Apollo in Greece.
Delphi is located on the slopes of Mt. Parnassos, and once reached, the
view of the land below is spectacular. I stood quietly and took in the ruins of the Temple of Apollo and Athena, statues, the theatre where plays were
performed, their Treasury, the stadium where athletes competed (the
starting point for sprinters still marked) – all dating back 3,000 years!
Delphi was regarded as the center of the world according to mythology
when Zeus released two eagles at the opposite ends of the world and they
met in Delphi. It is a place where those seeking enlightenment from the
oracles went. Delphi, still splendid looking in ruin. It wasn’t only the
view that took my breath away, but the thought of people living their
lives, just like us, walking the same path I was walking, thousands of years
ago. That was my Wow travel moment”.

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Marian P. said her Wow moment was:
“Growing up in Michigan in a family of 5 children, there wasn’t much
travel. Vacation for us was going “up north”. Michigan is the Great
Lakes state and there are lots of lakes within the state with many vacation
cities where you would rent a cottage and spend a week before returning
home.
I began to travel as a young adult. My Wow moment was New York City.
The excitement of The Empire State Building, Statute of Liberty, and
being on Fifth Avenue. Even the simple act of buying a hot dog from
a street vendor, was a thrill. I realized then that there’s a whole big
world of new experiences and I wanted to see and try as many as I could.
New York continues to give me that Wow moment. I will never grow
tired of it”.

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Lee M. said his Wow moment was:
“While Jen and I were visiting the Painted Desert we stopped to view the
ruins of an Indian Pueblo. At this point the other tourists had all driven
off. We just stood there and after a few moments she asked me “did I
hear this”. What we heard was the sound of silence. There was no
traffic, animals, wind or people. There was nothing but stone silence.
It was so quiet I could hear the blood rushing in my ears. That was a
moment I will never forget, staring at the vastness of the sand in the
desert and the sound of nothing at the same time”.

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Lee M. has another great Wow moment that I felt when I visited Russia:

“We took a train from St. Petersburg to Moscow and while on the train
listening to my music and reading, I had the sudden realization where I
was. I looked out the window and saw the countryside whizzing by.
This was a place I never thought I’d be, in the heart of Mother Russia.
I felt privileged to be able to experience this, knowing how many years
this was not a possibility for an American”.

Everyone of these people, including me, have had so many Wow moments in their travels. Isn’t that what travel is all about. Travel is getting to a
new place and experiencing it with all your senses. Don’t we all want
to return home with a changed and renewed vision of the world and it’s
people and to be able to experience and remember that special Wow
moment that forever changed us.

What Wow moments have you had in your travels?

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