You know those memories that stick with you? The ones where you don’t need photos to recall the moments because they were so profound? Sometimes, of course, memories fade, but some seem like they’ll last forever – like these events that make up my memorable travel firsts.
Amsterdam, Fall 2001 -The first time I was stranded at an airport. This is the only “bad” memory here. I have bad in quotes because I don’t think I could fully comprehend the happenings at the time. It was during the September 11 attacks as my family and I were trying to make our way to Miami. No thanks to the horrific events, we were stuck at Schipol airport for 4 nights and 5 days before being allowed to board a plane to the U.S. During this time, the airport was packed with bodies, families just like us sleeping on the floor since hotels were full. I remember celebrating my 8th birthday and being given a cupcake from one of the Red Cross workers and a shirt from my grandma. All I wanted during those 4 long days was to leave the airport, and I’m grateful we were able to make it out safely. May the souls of those dearly departed rest in perfect peace.
Ghana, Summer 2004 – The first time I chickened out on a canopy walk. It was at Kakum National Park and the bridge was incredibly shaky. It felt like there was a high chance of falling so I sat with my crying 3-year-old brother while the rest of my family did the walk. Till today, I regret that decision. I want to make up for it by visiting the canopy walk at Lekki Conservation Center which I hear is now the longest one in Africa. I would tell you all to hold me to it, but you can’t. Haha. So, just take my word for it.
Dubai, Summer 2009 – The first time I visited a desert. We went on the desert safari tour. A driver takes you out to ride the sand dunes in a 4-wheel SUV and it feels like you’re riding a roller coaster. It was such a thrill that we were quite pleased to do it again in 2010. If you visit Dubai, the safari -in my opinion- is a must-do. Dubai was also the first place I tried my hand at skiing at the mall’s indoor ski resort. I’m bad at it, I don’t think I want to do it again.
The Dominican Republic, Summer 2013 – The first time I… well the first time I did quite a number of things. The first time I visited the Caribbean. The first time I snorkeled, the first time I surfed, (I was bad at this too, see a post about it here), the first place I jumped off a cliff, went white water rafting and the first place I fell in love with Latin music, and appropriately, learned to dance the Bachata, Merengue, and Salsa! So, if you want to go dancing sometime…
Ecuador, Summer 2017 – Another place of many firsts…but the most memorable one has to be climbing to the top of a 10,000ft mountain. I still cannot believe I did this. My children and their children will hear of this for years to come. Haha! Yes, I did it in almost twice the time it should have taken, but the point is that I got to the top and for this, I am incredibly proud.
San Francisco, Summer 2017 – The first time I traveled solo. To be honest, I don’t know how it took me so long to travel on my own. I had planned a number of solo trips in my head that just weren’t executed. San Francisco, I planned spontaneously. It wasn’t completely solo because I stayed with my cousin who lives there, but since she works, I spent most of my days alone. My verdict – It was liberating to have the freedom to wander as much or as little as I wanted. I also made a few acquaintances along the way. I’m fully embracing solo travel and definitely looking forward to taking more trips like this one.
Stories + photos from my trip to San Francisco are coming to the blog soon!
What are some memorable travel firsts for you? Leave me a comment to let me know!
thank you for reading.
Photos shot and edited on iPhone 6 & 6S+
same footprints, different sands