77 Simple Pleasures To Write Home About

23 November 2016

I once had a friend who lived in the Heritage-listed town of Yungaburra, high on the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland. Once a month, she would make the trek down the range to the seaside beauty spot of Palm Cove. Here she would find a restaurant by the water, order a glass of Champagne, and watch the full moon rise over the Coral Sea.

Travel is not always about bucket-list adventures – rather it is the little things that can make all the difference, those simple pleasures that stay with you long after the last grain of sand is gone from your suitcase. Make a practice of looking for the little things at home and abroad and your travel will be all the richer for it.

Here’s a list of simple pleasures gathered from our Flight Centre family and friends to inspire you to find the magic in the moment.

The Milky Way arches over the Australian Outback. Picture: Getty Images The Milky Way arches over the Australian Outback. Picture: Getty Images

1.       Looking up to see an endless sky full of stars in the Australian Outback.

2.       The sound and smell of thunderstorms.

3.       Watching an impromptu game of cricket in city backstreets on a summer evening.

4.       Picking vegies from a community garden.

5.       The wind in your hair – anywhere.

6.       A great book, with a fresh, hot croissant and coffee.

7.       Soaking in a rotemburo (open-air bath) in Japan.

8.       Hammock time on a tropical island.

9.       Walking along the beach at dusk, cool and between your toes.

10.   The sound of waves breaking on the shore.

11.   Walking down a street looking up at all the rooftops.

12.   Riding a big-wheeled bicycle on a crushed coral path in the Maldives.

13.   That feeling as the jet accelerates down the runway.

14.   Flaky pastries at a buffet breakfast.

15.   People-watching while sitting in a cafe or square in a new city.

Bruges market square, Belgium. Pick a people-watching perch in the Bruges market square. Picture: Getty Images

16.   Coffee in front of the fire, watching the snow fall.

17.   A ham and cheese baguette in Paris.

18.   Being still in a crowded Asian market taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of chaos.

19.   A steaming bowl of pho in Southern Vietnam, with the prospect of a ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee) in the not-too distant future.

20.   Being the first to ski down a mountain in the morning after the snow plough has worked its magic.

21.   Sitting up top and at the front of the No.11 bus as it passes many of the great sights of London.

22.   Sharing a shaved ice with your soulmate at the French Markets in New Orleans.

23.   Finding a cafe that does good coffee, decent breakfast and has free Wi-Fi where you can go each morning to plan the day ahead.

24.   Drinking cider on a balcony of a canalhouse in Amsterdam watching bicycles go by below.

25.   Riding the vaporetto in Venice at 5am when it’s dead quiet and the sun is yet to rise.

26.   Walking the Christkindlmarkt or Weihnachtsmarkt in an old German town with twinkling lights and rich and delicious-smelling warm winter food.

27.   Strolling along the bouquinistes in Paris.

28.   Finding great coffee.

29.   Taking the time to appreciate a good sunset with glass of wine in hand.

30.   Seeing the sun come up over the mountain – any mountain!

A man stands on a mountain in the glow of sunrise. Greet the sun wherever you may be. Picture: Getty Images

31.   A walk around Jackie O reservoir, Central Park, on any morning for 360 degree views of New York and the feeling of being in countless movies.

32.   Receiving great customer service in a new city.

33.   The meditative feeling of following the black line in Williamsburg’s outdoor McCarren Park Pool in New York – but any pool will do.

34.   Kicking back in a large lounging chair or cooling your feet in a fountain in the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna.

35.   Seeing a new cityscape unfold for the first time from the road or railway or ship.

36.   Not having any idea what day, date or time it is.

37.   The perfect cream cheese and scallion bagel in New York.

38.   The ‘kwee-kwee-kwee’ sound of good poutine in Quebec City.

39.   Pulling up on a quiet stretch of river in New Zealand with snow-capped mountains in the background for a simple campervan-cooked pasta and a bottle of pinot gris.

40.   The giddy feeling of scudding across waves in a Zodiac, dressed in a survival suit, as freezing rain stings your face, in search of orcas off Victoria, British Columbia.

41.   Taking a wrong turn and ending up somewhere unexpected but amazing.

42.   Exploring a new place on foot.

43.   Taking advice from a stranger or fellow traveller.

44.   When things just work – like planning your flights into Heathrow outside of peak Tube hours.

45.   Admiring the autumn leaves in Toronto’s Cabbagetown district.

A woman plays with Autumn leaves. Autumn leaves are a simple pleasure, particularly for Aussies. Picture: Getty Images

46.   Walking across London’s Blackfriars Bridge in the twilight.

47.   Street food. Anywhere. Enough said.

48.   Figuring out a public transport system in a new city.

49.   Wandering among the colossal winged lions and other Assyrian sculptures in the British Museum.

50.   The crunch of walking on freshly fallen snow.

51.   Looking out over the rooftops of Edinburgh’s New Town.

52.   Watching people stagger along the cobbled streets of Edinburgh during the boozy festive season.

53.   Drinking hot gluhwine at a European market at Christmas.

54.   Chilling a bottle of Bollinger in the rooftop snow outside your window to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Quebec City.

55.   Pain au chocolat dipped in cafe au Lait in France.

56.   The thwack of a cricket ball hitting a bat, heard from the stands at Lords.

57.   Walking the streets of Salzburg pretending to be one of the Von Trapp children.

58.   The can’t-wipe-the-smile-off-your-face thrill of doing 360-degree spins in the Shotover Jet.

59.   Driving through the Palouse in the Idaho springtime, listening to your favourite music.

The rolling hills of the Palouse in Idaho, USA. The Seussian hills of the Palouse in Idaho. Picture: Getty Images

60.   Buying cheese, metwurst, quince paste and pate from the Adelaide Central Market to create the ultimate antipasto plate, washed down with a Barossa Shiraz.

61.   Crossing the road in Hanoi, Vietnam – at first it is terrifying, but after a while it’s amazing to see how the onslaught of scooters parts around you like water.

62.   A horse-drawn sleigh ride on Christmas Day on the Plains of Abraham, Quebec City.

63.   Eating a fresh acai smoothie for breakfast in Brazil.

64.   Ordering a caipirinha from a beach vendor in Salvadore, Brazil – those cocktails pack a punch but it matches the atmosphere!

65.   The Chilean devotion to adding avocado to everything – hot dogs, burgers, pizzas, you name it. Delicious and indulgent.

66.   Holding hands with your loved one as you step off the plane into a new place.

67.   Cooking fat steaks and big bursty corn on the barbecue every single night in Salta, Argentina, while enjoying  a glass or three of Malbec.

68.   Getting first tracks at Grand Hirafu ski resort – nothing can replicate the feeling of gliding through untracked powder snow.

69.   Soaking in an onsen (natural hot spring) after a big day of snowboarding.

70.   Taking a bike ride along the Vermillion Lakes in Banff, as mountain views reflected in the glassy water take your breath away.

71.   That point when you have checked in, passed through security and are free to browse the duty-free shops.

72.   Being part of a gyoza party in Japan – everyone gets to make the gyoza and there’s always a happy social hum.

73.   Eating lunch on a rooftop patio in Banff, with Cascade Mountain in the background – you can’t tear your eyes away from it.

74.   Watching out the window of the trains in Europe.

A woman stares at the Eiffel Tower through a train window. The views from the train in Europe are beyond compare.

75.   Waking up in a rorbu (fisherman’s hut) on the Lofoten Islands and staring across the bay.

76.   The smell of woodsmoke rising from midsummer bonfires in the green hills of Norway.

77.   The silence of a snow-covered forest in the Rocky Mountains.


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Renae Spinks

Travel for me is about conversations and connections. There’s nothing like setting foot in a new land and meeting people a world apart. From talking to North Sea fishermen in Norway’s Lofoten Islands to breakfast chat at a B&B in my own back yard, there’s always a story to share and a tale to tell.