There are many ways to travel: in a group or solo, on an itinerary or totally winging it, or some combination of those four options.

Personally, I like to plan things, even if only the night before. It helps ease my anxiety and actually gets me out to DO things. When left to the moment, creativity totally escapes me, and I usually end up doing nothing or something really lame.

But sometimes, the things I plan end up being lame too, sooooo what’s a girl to do?

I still plan because that’s the kind of person that I am, but I’ve also learned to throw the itinerary to the wind when the moment calls for it and there’s an experience just waiting to be had.

On a floating bamboo village in the Khao Sok National Park in Thailand, half of our group, including me, was out in canoes before sunrise, listening to elephants just inside the edge of the jungle, hoping they would come out and reveal themselves.

We were supposed to start a yoga class, and the yoga teacher was in the canoe with me, but we decided that this was just too exciting, too awe-inspiring to go forward as planned. Yoga could wait. Elephants…wild elephants could not…would not.

And we were blessed with the one-by-one appearance of four wild elephants, including an adolescent.

On the Champ de Mars (the long park leading up to the Eiffel Tower) in Paris, I was strolling with my father. We were heading to some museum or other when we saw a group playing volleyball. It wasn’t a competitive game with a net; they were just standing in a circle bumping the ball around. I was thirteen at the time and had been playing volleyball at my middle school, so my dad went over and politely asked if I could join them.

It was the most memorable moment from our 11-day trip to Paris. And we could not have scheduled that in.

When I was eighteen, I went to Stockholm with my family. The drinking age in Europe is 18, so my parents let my older brother and me go out on the town for a night by ourselves. We met these two guys in the Swedish military who showed us around the city after the bars closed.

At one point, we were joking around at a telephone booth when I heard a distinct running of booted feet. The next thing I know, there’s a guy in camo with a machine gun yelling at us. It turns out, we were at a telephone booth at all, but at a guard booth…at the Palace!

We were shooed away with nothing more than being yelled at, but it makes for an excellent travel story. And to cap off the evening, the three guys went skinny dipping in the river at sunrise, while people were making their morning commute to work.

Moments like these are what make travel exciting! They are what keep us coming back for more. And we’d love to hear your favorite travel stories – those unforgettable moments that made your trip.

What is the most unexpected and coolest thing you’ve ever seen while traveling? The thing that money can’t buy and that you couldn’t have planned, and yet, will be seared into your cellular memory for the rest of your life?

So we invite you to relive one of those moments right now. Just take a minute or two to write a comment with your favorite travel tale.

We’re looking forward to hearing your stories!

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