Once-in-a-lifetime journeys to make your soul sing

Anna Brech

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“Go outside. Don’t tell anyone and don’t bring your phone. Start walking and keep walking until you no longer know the road like the palm of your hand” – Charlotte Eriksson

Once-in-a-lifetime journeys have a special kind of power that tie us to the moment.

They are nothing to do with timings or targets, and everything to do with the beauty of the Great Unknown. When you embark on a bucket-list trip – whether by foot, train or sail boat – you are surrendering yourself to horizons new.

once-in-a-lifetime journeys

It’s out with the old and in with the moving, the majestic and the magnificent.

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With that principle in mind, over 500 travel industry experts have just voted to create a top 50 list of the World’s Best Journeys. The edit, produced by flights site Flight Network, features recommendations from journalists, bloggers and editors all over the world.

Here are nine of our favourite journeys on the list, each delivered with their own Flash Pack twist:

Trek to Machu Picchu

once-in-a-lifetime journeys

“An advanced network of nearly 40,000 kilometres of trails, built by the Incas, connect the faraway corners of their grand empire”

A zig-zag climb up to this ancient Inca citadel is an experience that will stay with you forever. Flash Pack’s Pure Peru adventure features a day-long trek through hazy Inca hillsides, amid an amphitheatre of terraced fields and roaming alpacas. The hike reaches its finale at  Sun Gate, for an iconic view of Machu Picchu, before another full day exploring one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Trust us, the archaeological delights in store here – set against a canvas of the rolling Cuzco countryside – are not to be missed.

Marvel at the majesty of Peru

Explore the fjords of Norway

once-in-a-lifetime journeys

“It’s a land of contrasts, with deep-blue glaciers, lush forests, and panoramic fjords painting the landscape”

With its towering peaks and mirror-still lakes, the landscape of Norway is a visual feast. Nærøyfjord is one of the country’s most picturesque fjords and we’ll admire its beauty from the vantage point of Route 16, before hopping aboard a private RIB boat. Get some colour into your cheeks as you zip between a dramatic tapestry of woodland and cloud forest shadowed by the mountains. Sea kayaking across Lustrafjord, another jewel in Norway’s crown, tops off a rousing week in the Great Outdoors.

Into the wilds of Norway

Head downstream in the Amazon jungle

Once-in-a-lifetime journeys

“Take breathtaking walks beneath hidden waterfalls, and through the jungle, learning about medicinal plants and indigenous vegetation”

Stretching from Manaus in Brazil to Iquitos in Peru, the Amazon is a 4,345-mile wonderland of hidden villages and tiny canals – all framed by a tropical jungle that positively teems with life. If you have enough time, you could take on the entire route but our Flash Pack escape zooms in on the Peruvian region. Join us on a night-time boat ride through the forest, amid a chorus of nocturnal wildlife. Then we’ll head right into the canopy on a series of hanging bridges, to see toucans, sloths, monkeys and more hanging out in their natural environment.

Escape to mind-blowing Peru

Follow the Everest trail

once-in-a-lifetime journeys

“Stand at the top of the world and feel your heart race and your senses explode. It truly is the experience of a lifetime”

If you want to get away from it all and challenge yourself at the same time, you can’t do better than a stroll in the Himalayan foothills. While the Everest Base Camp route is a very popular one, we veer off-trail at Flash Pack into a world of remote river gorges and rhododendron-covered slopes. This is wild territory, complete with steep climbs, glaciers and not a village to be seen. Lose yourself in a realm of ancient Sherpa culture and fluttering prayer flags, and stay at one of the world’s highest lodges in the shadow of Himalayan giants (including Everest).

Climb to the roof of the world in Nepal

Hike through Patagonia


“Discover granite pinnacles, spellbinding lakes strewn with icebergs, and the mesmerising French Valley”

From charming cities to lunar-like desert terrain, Chile has plenty of feathers to its cap. But the glacial magnitude of Patagonia leaves everything else in the shade. You can kayak your way through some of this jaw-dropping wilderness but we at Flash Pack take the motorboat route. Zip through snow-capped mountains, waterfalls and thick swathes of forestland, then pause for lunch at a mountain chalet. Then it’s up Rio Serrano to Torres del Paine National Park, for an epic day’s hike to the Base Las Torres viewpoint.

Challenge yourself in Chile

Sail the Nile in Egypt

“Lounging on the bow of a sailboat as a gentle wind pushes you down the Nile makes you feel as though you’re Egyptian royalty from ancient times”

There’s no better way to experience the Nile than from the deck of a traditional wooden sailboat (known as a felucca). Whether you boat a longer stretch from Luxor to Aswan or tackle the waterways in and around Cairo, you can’t help but revel in the bustle of river life. We at Flash Pack take this quintessential trip at sunset, to see the ancient skyline turn pink over one of the oldest civilisations in the world.

Embrace the treasures of Egypt

Ride camels in the Sahara

once-in-a-lifetime journeys

“The Sahara’s endless slopes of silky sand, star-speckled night skies, and glistening mirages beckon adventurers from around the world”

Step back in time as you take to your camel to traverse the rippling dunes of the Sahara. North Africa’s sprawling landscape promises vast golden horizons that’ll make you feel like a time-honoured nomad – especially when you’re perched atop a “ship of the desert”. Dial down in the dunes, Morocco-style, with a sunset camel safari, before glamping overnight under the stars.

Say hi to bucket-list Morocco

Meander down the Mekong

Once-in-a-lifetime journeys

“The Mekong River is one of the most fascinating rivers on the planet”

If time is on your side, you could sail the entire length of the Mekong from the Tibetan Plateau to Ho Chi Minh. At Flash Pack, we focus on the Laos section of the river, with a leisurely two-day trip on a slow boat to Luang Prabang. With sleepy villages and lush rain forest on either side, this is mellow Laos at its finest – and a chance to cut to the thick of this delightfully chilled-out country. Learn all about life in the Land of a Million Elephants, as you gently put-put your way past sacred caves, towering ravines and kids playing down by the riverbank.

Get off-grid in Laos

Tackle the Jordan Trail

once-in-a-lifetime journeys

“Peel back the layers of Jordanian culture by tasting local cuisine and interacting with villagers”

Serious hikers should consider taking on the 650-kilometre Jordan Trail in full. At Flash Pack, we tackle one particularly beautiful part, with a day-long trek in the Dana Nature Reserve. The 14-kilometre journey is a chance to dig beneath the surface of Jordanian culture, as we pass by Bedouin villages and stop for fresh mint tea in a landscape tinged by desert pink. Together, we wander through vast wadi landscapes, pausing for a campfire lunch before arriving at a unique eco-lodge for an evening of star-gazing beneath the endless desert skies.

Stretch your limits in Jordan

See Flight Network’s bucket list of journeys in full right here

Images: Flash Pack, Shutterstock

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