I did my first big trip overseas when I was 25. T and I were itching to travel and we had heard good things about Topdeck tours so we decided it would be the perfect entry level trip to Europe. It ended up being the most incredible trip ever, full of great experiences and memories.
And this was when I got the travel bug.
There were pros and cons to doing an organised tour, con’s being that it was perceived as being just a trip to get drunk and rowdy, and that you don’t get a proper feel of the places you visit.
While there definitely was some drinking that took place (jugs of sangria in Barcelona comes to mind) it was never too over the top, despite discovering the European “free pour”. And yeah sure some of the places were quick visits, however some of the places we went to felt like we had spent enough time there anyway. The places that I loved the most I ended up deciding to go back to for a visit another time (namely the beautiful city of Florence).
Since then I have made my way back to Europe several times, both by myself and with friends, and I am a bit more aware now as a traveler. I do all my trip planning myself as I like to be in control of what I get out of my trip. I fully invest into doing my own research and I like to choose the places that appeal to me, I like to pick the best flights and stay at the places that are in the location that suits me and are within my budget. Planning a trip is easy enough to do these days with such an accessible range of help and advice from travel bloggers, travel websites and forums, and of course family and friends who have traveled. I tend to absorb everything I can then make my own mind up and go from there.
So why do I travel?
It all started when I was about 5, my older brother (who is also now a big traveler) gave me my very first Atlas. This quickly became my favourite book to read. I was so intrigued at this big wide world that existed and how life was so different to the world I knew in little New Zealand, tucked all the way down in the far Eastern corner of the world. I discovered that cultures varied from country to country and they had these special things that would make them unique; their clothing, their food, their native animals, their climate.
This book allowed my imagination to go wild and I would dream of going to these amazing, far away places. I would study the countries carefully and plan trips that I so eagerly wanted to do one day (something I still admittedly do as an adult).
Years later, and with the maturity and funds to achieve these things, I can now visit these places that I once dreamed about. I have been lucky enough to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the beautiful Eiffel Tower. I’ve eaten snails in Paris and Haggis in Scotland (no big deal). I’ve ridden a camel in the desert and watched a squirrel frolic in the parks of London (trust me, this is a big deal for a kiwi gal). These are the things I live for, and I truly believe that my life has been enriched from my travel experiences.
Countries I’ve been fortunate enough to visit (some several times) include; Australia, England, France, Greece, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Monaco, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) and I’m constantly dreaming of more places to tick off.
If you haven’t traveled yet, my advice is to do it. Go see the world. Immerse yourself in other cultures.
You won’t regret it.