If you're over eighteen and never been on an international trip before, don't despair, you're in the best position any traveller ever is. This post is all about savouring the joy and wonder of that first trip.
Now don't get me wrong, travel in your home country is awesome. Australia is still my favourite place to explore. However, there is something very special about using your good old passport, crossing a border and discovering another country. As Aussies, it is a particularly special "rite of passage" for us as we have no choice but to cross an ocean or two when doing so. It's why we call visiting another country going "overseas".
I grew up in a time when travelling to other continents was more of a rarity than it is now (and I'm not even that old; I'm still in my twenties). I feel like international travel has become way more accessible, affordable, and common in the last ten years or so, but maybe that's just because I'm taking more notice. Anyway, the point is, when I was a kid the thought of travel outside of Australia seemed to me like only a dream, maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity (if you were really lucky). Thankfully, times have changed.
Regardless of how common travel is these days, we all have to go on that very first trip at some point. I was twenty years old when I went on my first international trip. I'm so glad I was an adult (well sort of). When I see kids on the same plane as me I think that they are pretty lucky to be going overseas, but on the other hand I feel kind of sad that they won't really remember or feel the impact of that first trip.
Now that I have a few more countries and trips under my belt, I look back on that five weeks in the UK with my siblings in 2011 as such a wonderfully innocent time in my travelling life. The experience was all so new and spontaneous; something my more savvy and organised self can never recreate. It was a road trip with no particular route, a road atlas, and only very vague and broad ideas of what we wanted to see. After our first five nights which we spent in London, we hired a car and just drove. We made our way around England, very briefly Wales (does three hours count?) and Scotland, and had the best time. We'd drive all day with stops at places that we'd both heard of and not heard of, seeing many new and exciting things. Then as evening approached (thank goodness for the extremely long hours of daylight in July) we'd stop at the nearest town and do the rounds of B&B's, pubs, and motels; simply going in and asking if they had vacancies and what the price was (and most importantly if breakfast was included). In Canterbury we spent hours doing this (something my time-hungry, super-organised self wouldn't dream of doing these days). We eventually chanced upon The Bat and Ball pub which saw us get the cheapest accommodation of the trip and the most delicious breakfast! We also happened to get a parking ticket in Canterbury, but I honestly have nothing but fond memories of the city
If you are inexperienced in travel and lack the tricks of the trade, don't think of this as a bad thing. You'll learn all too soon how you travel best, the dos and don'ts, the easy way and the hard way. Travel is all about experiencing and seeing new things. That never goes away; it's always going to be a great feeling when you discover something about a new place (or an old one). What you will never have again is that very first trip; that's the best thing about travel - we all have to learn these things ourselves. So I guess what I am saying is, if you're a rookie; savour it, enjoy it, make mistakes, learn, and most importantly remember it well!
We'll be posting the Travel Diaries of our UK trip sometime in the near future. Five weeks accumulates to a lot of days so when we finally get them ready they will make it on here! Stay tuned.
Let us know where your first international trip was to or will be to?