Wanderlust

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,

To gain all while you give,

To roam the roads of lands remote,

To travel is to live.”

These words are by the renowned fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen, and I could not find them to be truer. There is nothing like learning a lesson through travelling, through interacting with people of different cultures and experiencing things you probably never even knew existed. To travel is to satisfy the natural instinct that is human curiosity, the same trait that has propelled human beings to great inventions and discoveries. It started from the migration of human beings out of Africa, and will continue to stay true for many who have been struck with the aptly-named condition — wanderlust.

Perhaps I too have been struck by this desire, by not only seeing all the people around me jet off to different places, but also through The Amazing Race, a hugely successful TV show which sends contestants on the adventure of their lifetime. Contestants travel the globe in a month or less, being forced to interact with good willed or nasty strangers, and doing as they do in Rome, learning through a steep learning curve about how other cultures operate. It is a dream for many, and is literally a borderless classroom, with the mistakes you make being your teachers.

In this article, we’ll introduce to you some of our favourite destinations and sights, ranging from natural wonders in Norway and Japan to the Buckingham Palace in London, and even the labyrinth that lies in the medieval-like city of Fez in Morocco. 

Stavanger, Norway

Human beings crave thrill, and with thrill comes risk. An example of this would be the Kjeragbolten situated in Norway.

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Sunset view of the Kjeragbolten boulder

There’s nothing that screams daredevil like standing on top of a narrow boulder, 1000 meters above ground, and looking down at the scenery below you. The famous Kjeragbolten rock, found in Norway, is wedged between two cliff faces, and sits precariously. I know what you’re thinking, what about casualties? There haven’t been reports about accidents, so this is quite safe except in cases of strong winds, where it would be unadvisable to ascend the rock.This is not for the faint-hearted though so be warned!

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If you want to one-up the danger factor, you could do a handstand on a chair just like extreme artist Rønningsbakken did. Just kidding. This is not to be tried at home.

Fez, Morroco

FEZEntry to Fez, Medina

Stepping into Fez, Morocco is a lot like taking a step back into medieval times. The city is a labyrinth with many stores to explore while donkeys walk alongside you, transporting goods. The stores sell a wide variety of colourful shoes, Moroccan carpets and leather which utilises the traditional tannery method dating back to 14BC. Using this method, leather is soaked first in softener like pigeon excrement and then in multiple dyes before being fashioned into clothing.

Touted as a cultural treasure which has been mostly undisturbed by the modern government, it is the oldest city in Morocco with a rich history, and is also home to the oldest university ever established- University of Al-Karaouine (a medieval university still in operation).

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How tanneries work

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Tannery in Fez, with pots containing dye and softeners (pigeon excrement)

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 Donkey transporting carpets in the market       Intricate designs on leather shoes

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is a hub of technological advancement and artistic revolution, but it is also known for its unique cultural heritage and landscape.

Its Cherry Blossom trees are a picturesque sight, normally best seen during April (actual bloom timings differ from year to year, but normally occur around April), when the flowers are in full bloom. Many people from all over the world come together to witness this yearly event.

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Cherry Blossom trees in full bloom

Because of its volcanic activity, Japan has thousands of hot springs which have been reputed to be therapeutic. The best time to visit these onsens would be during cooler weather, so as to warm yourself up. These onsens can be either indoors or outdoors and are typically lined with natural rocks and tropical plants. They are a popular retreat for adults and children alike.

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An onsen (hot spring bath) in Japan

London, United Kingdom

London is a city everyone has heard about, famous for its Buckingham Castle, the Big Ben and legendary natural wonders like the Stonehenge.

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                              Big Ben, renowned clock tower                                     The Stonehenge

One of London’s most famous attractions would be its Madame Tussauds Museum. Madame Tussauds Museum is a unique museum which features wax figures of literary greats like Shakespeare to historic giants like Mao Ze Dong and current political heads like Obama. Many visitors come to this museum for a tongue-in-cheek photo with celebrity figures they would otherwise not meet in real life. As its name suggests, it was founded by a wax sculptor named Marie Tussauds in 1935.

It also contains a room called the Chamber of Horrors, where wax figures of notorious murderers, or victims of these murders are kept. It is one of the popular attractions in the museum, and only those aged 12 and above are allowed to enter this horrifying room.

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Entry to the Madame Tussauds Museum

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Wax sculpture of Mao Ze Dong 

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“To wax or not to wax, that is the question”

(Sculpture of the world’s most famous playwright- William Shakespeare)

The United Kingdom is one of the few countries which has not abolished its monarchy, and stands proud of its royal history. The Buckingham Palace serves as the official London residence for the royal family, and visitors can pay to see the exquisitely furnished State Rooms and also appreciate the spectacular view of the Palace Gardens.

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Change of Guards outside the Buckingham Palace

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Queen’s Gallery in the Palace

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Buckingham Palace garden

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One of the artifacts on display in the Chamber Of Horrors

There is so much to discover on every continent, in the nook and cranny of every place. The diverse cultures, although foreign, are intriguing and unique. Whether it be screaming your lungs out at the Chamber Of Horrors, or taking a step back into the past in Fez, I hope you enjoyed this trip to some of my favourite destinations, and may you too be charmed by the irresistible lure of travel.

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