I thought it would be fun to go back in years and write down some of my best (or sometimes worst) travel souvenirs.
Let’s start from my first trip abroad alone in 1989. I was 13 years old and I had gotten the permission from my parents to take part on a language course in Torquay in England. The course was 1 month long and I had studied English for 2 years. My language skills were non existant but I was eager to learn. I left alone to join a group of other young Finnish people and once in our destination we got to stay with host families.
I stayed with 3 other girls in a typical English house with an English family. During the day we had language lessons and the afternoons we did excursions. I loved the excursion part so much. We went horseback riding in Dartmoor national park, we visited beaches and old historical towns in Devon but the best of it all, we visited England’s largest water park.
I had never seen a water park as glorious as the Splashdown was and we had a blast with my room mates and other students sliding down the tubes and slopes. Once the others started packing and heading back home I said no. No I wanted to stay and because I didn’t have my parents to tell me to hurry up and get out of the pool nobody else said nothing either! So I stayed there alone and once I finally got fed up with it I had this realization that I didn’t actually know how to get back home. And these are the moments that you can be grateful of only crossing nice helpful people and that everything went well. First I had to find the right bus but because I didn’t know which one to take so I just stopped all of them and asked “Torquay?” with my fantastic Finnish accent. The nice bus drivers tried to ask me where in Torquay I was trying to get but I couldn’t answer them because my English was so bad. I finally managed to get into a bus that got me enough near to my house where I could recognize the streets and find my way back home. I must say I was pretty exhausted once I got back to my room.
These kind of experiences define you as a traveler. How to manage in strange surroundings by yourself and how to connect with people when you don’t have a common language. And that’s the whole charm of it all I think. To get out of the comfort zone, trust yourself and trust others as well. That’s when you realize that with a right attitude the world could be your Splashdown!