A Nomad's First Travel Experiences (Flashback!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011  at 7:00 AM
New Years in Paris by Danalynn C
In Paris for New Years as a Freshman in College (with Chris)

As my style of travel is a bit out of the norm, I thought I would share with everyone how it evolved!  I know it's a shock, but I did not spring forth into this world a fully formed nomadic-traveler.  Here are my first big travel experiences.

Travel as a kid with family

When I was a kid, my family went to Disneyland twice.  The first time we went, my mind was officially blown--I loved seeing the fantastic and creative lands, I loved the novel rides, I loved the lack of tourists (clearly, we went during the rainy season on an off-week).  The second time we went, it was like coming back to an old favorite book.  I remember you, my friend Indiana Jones ride!  We meet again, dastardly expensive in-park food!  However, at this point I just knew that I LOVED Disneyland, and thought nothing more of it (of course I loved Disneyland.  Duh, right?).

Travel with my High School French class

When I was a Junior in High School, I decided to go on a trip to France with my French class.  This bit of self-motivation led to staying for a week in Perpignan, living with a fantastic host family and gaining a taste of French life.  My French teacher was originally from the area, so we were able to avoid the tourist-traps and instead visit the local favorites.  I did not realize it at the time, but this was forming a very distinct idea of travel for me.  I emerged from this trip with a strengthened love of novel experiences and a definite love of France.

South of France near Perpignan by Danalynn C
In the South of France as a Freshman at College, traveling with Chris and staying with a French friend.

Travel my Freshman year in College

It was the third experience with travel that snapped everything into place.  As a Freshman in College, I decided to travel, by myself, to Switzerland to visit Chris (who was going to college there) for Christmas break.  Many people advised against it--it would take almost the entirety of my savings, Chris and I had no plans and nowhere to stay, I had never traveled alone before and this was a large trip to start on.  Luckily, I ignored all of this nonsense and left for an unforgettable trip across Switzerland and France.

Yes, we had difficulties.  We ended up sleeping outdoors because we did not have money for a hostel, we had our credit cards deactivated for a week by a bank error, we ate out of dumpsters in Paris (because of said bank error), we had half of our stuff stolen from us.  These are stories for another time!  The amazing part was that despite all of these problems (which could each lead to the trip of nightmares), we had a fantastic time.  On the return trip, after I had several items confiscated by airport security (this really wasn't a lucky trip...), I still felt energized.  These bad experiences did not define my travel attitude, they merely provided landmark memories for this particular trip.

On Friday I will talk about how I define my travel philosophy and how these earlier trips led to how I see travel today!
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