9 Once in a Lifetime Experiences

I miss travel. The excitement of booking a trip to somewhere I’ve dreamt about, the thrill of getting on a plane or train to destinations new, the smell of a brand new place. So, I thought I’d reminisce about each once in a lifetime experience that gave me shivers.

Neuschwenstein Castle Fussen Bavarian Germany Adventures of a London Kiwi

To be fair, my personality is always split, and I’m also relishing ridiculously leisurely Sundays (re-)reading my book(s), but those journeys by page are making me dream about some of the places we’ve been so lucky to explore. I do have to note that it feels weird to be clustering once-in-a-lifetime experiences – by their nature they are incredibly unique. 

Seeing the Northern Lights in the Arctic Circle

Gathered afterwards around a Norwegian campfire, 350km into the Arctic Circle, huddled from head to toe in exploration overalls and snow boots we had experienced one of those life-affirming moments. A once in a lifetime experience when you really feel alive…

Exploring Tromso Northern Lights Arctic Circle Adventures of a London Kiwi

Afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace a once in a lifetime experience

I still can’t believe it. Even walking through the aptly named Grand Entrance of Buckingham Palace, dressed to the nines and suitably hatted, the lovely Miss R and I turned to one another and squealed with shocked delight. We were walked through probably the most famous gates in the world as invited guests for an afternoon of tea, promenading and beautiful hats. 

Afternoon Tea at Buckingham Palace


A cool wind whistled over the hilltop. Sunlight glinted the surface of Lake Hakone on one side and dappled the surface of the Pacific Ocean beyond the grey stone building nestled at the peak of the (terrifying) cable car wires. In front of us cloaked in Winter splendour, Mount Fuji. Her peak mostly bare of clouds we took several long moments to simply breathe in the auspicious and rare sight.

Mount Fuji Japan

Zookeeper for a day at London Zoo

I honestly have very mixed feelings about zoos, but the passion that the London zookeepers have for their entrusted charges is palpable. When I was a kid I wanted to be a Vet or a Zookeeper working specifically with big Cats. Fast forward 20 or so years and due being terrible at biology, the closest I’ve come is volunteering at the RSPCA, owning a wee tabby beastie cat and hanging out with office monkeys, sorry, I mean colleagues…

Zookeeper for the Day London Zoo

Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia

Our 100-foot tall hot air balloon floated above the ancient Turkish valleys filled with prehistoric stone edifices – and we just gazed in sheer wonder, 1,000 or so feet up in the sky. What I felt as we silently drifted above the pastel horizon while the sun slowly broke, is actually rather hard to express. Hot Air Balloon Cappadocia. Part of me thought that those images of hundreds of balloons drifting in the pre-dawn light were fake once in a lifetime experiences but I was so wrong…

Hot Air Balloon in Goreme Cappadocia Turkey Adventures of a London Kiwi

Herding Sheep across London Bridge

When I came to London, fresh faced and incredibly excited, I found that I had a secret yearning in my heart. I had normal ones; seeing her Majesty the Queen in person, listening to Big Ben toll up close (though I didn’t realise just how close) and watch the changing of the guards, you know, the classic ones. There was one that I never really told anyone for fear of looking like a crazy person, but the minute that I saw on an obscure website that there is an ancient right of a freeman of the City of London to drive sheep across London Bridge, I knew I wanted in on this once in a lifetime experience. So I came up with a way in…

Herding Sheep London Bridge

Sleeping in the Middle Eastern Desert

Nestled on a cocoon of cushions, one hand tucked under my head, the other idly running cool sand through my fingers, the camp settled down. Lights blinked off one by one, leaving only the soft crackle of the fire. Our hosts for the night quietly left the Bedouin camp, one or two slipping into in a nearby tent for company, leaving us to the silence of the desert. The quiet deepened* as our camp mates drifted off to sleep and the stars began to shimmer… Things to do in Dubai Sleeping in the desert Luxury Bedouin style 

A Whistler Spa Experience with Lady Gaga

So, there I was. Hanging out in my swimsuit, hair drawn back, just minding my own business and relaxing in the delicious, luxurious Scandinave Spa, a stone’s throw from Whistler town centre. The husband and I had split up for the afternoon – he had decided to traverse the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb on the peak2peak gondola, and I’d chosen a slightly less terrifying mountain vista to enjoy. Read here for this once in a lifetime experience

Luxury Scandinave Spa Whistler Canada Adventures of a London Kiwi


Bran Castle. AKA the home of Dracula (or is it?), the origin of every Vampire movie, novel, book and a national monument and landmark in Romania. When Mr Kiwi and I were scouring the internet for unique holiday destinations, we jokingly mentioned going to Romania to visit Dracula’s Castle – but it turns out that both of us were quite interested, and within an evening we had shaped a holiday around it.
Bran Castle Transylvania Romania Dracula Vampires Adventures of a London Kiwi
Just so lucky. And I’ve got more amazing experiences; taking freshly baked pastries back to our [rented] Parisien apartment, listening to live Jazz in New Orleans, drinking Champagne in it’s birthplace, staying on a working Texan ranch, seeing Big Ben, being sent to a Caribbean island, visiting Hobbiton in New Zealand or visiting Warner Brothers in Los Angeles. Oh, travel. How I miss thee.
What moment was your favourite once in a lifetime experience?
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