One thing that motivated me to start my travel blog and write about my experiences, even though most of them happened in the past, is reading other people’s blogs. There are kids out there who are my age and have fantastic blogs and then I read that the first time they left the country was like in 2004 and I am shocked it is so recent! If they can do it, so can I!
I guess you could say, in the way of traveling, I had a very lucky childhood. In the late 80′s we took two family caravan trips with another family to both Mammoth and Tahoe. Then we branched out on our own. In 1990 (when I was 8/9), we did our first major driving trip around the southwest. On our swing through Las Vegas we stayed at the Excalibur when it first opened! We went through Utah, Durango, CO, down into New Mexico, through Arizona and back to LA.
In 1991, we drove up to Crater Lake in Oregon and back down the coast.
In 1992, my parents planned a whole trip up to Wyoming, but at the last minute, when airlines still had fare wars, prices dropped so much on tickets back east that my parents scraped the original trip and we did a whole north east extravaganza. We did NYC to Boston, down to Philly, DC and Williamsburg and then back up to NYC. I remember being so excited to be on an airplane, because while I had been to NYC many times before (my mom is a native) this was the first time in a looong time that I had been on a plane.
In 1993, we drove up to Seattle and Vancouver and back.
In 1994, as gift for my Bat Mitzvah, I got to fly back east by myself and stay with friends for a few extra days but then of course, everyone else flew later (my younger sister even flew by herself as well, so my prize was practically worthless!) and we did a shorter version of the 1992 trip, just NYC, down through Gettysburg to DC and back.
1995 was the trip to end all trips. That was the year we drove across the country. We finally made it to Wyoming and Yellowstone, up across Minnesota (we went to the Mall of America on my birthday!), down to Chicago, over to Detroit, into Canada and down through New England. Originally my parents wanted to fly home, but since we rented a car to do all that, it was cheaper for us all to drive home then pay someone to drive the car back. And this was before cell phones and internet, we were totally cut off from everyone and everything for a whole month. My sister, who is a total social butterfly was miserable on this trip. Imagine a trip like that today! Between cell phones and laptops and wireless everywhere, it would be like we never left. I kind of liked being cut off and still do today.
1996 was a transitional year for my parents (new jobs, etc) so I went to NYC for a week and my sister went to Hawaii (we all ended up going in December 1996 anyway) before hitting the open waters in 1997.
Since at that point we were done with the US, the next stop was Europe. My parents hadn’t been since the 70′s and my sister and I had never been and our first trip was 3.5 weeks in Italy. Cell phones were still a glimmer in most Americans eye at this point and I remember being on a bus in Rome and someones phone rang and I was shocked! How can someone afford a cell phone, but not a car?! Ahh, the good old days.
In 1998, my parents and sister went to France and Spain and I stayed home. I know that sounds weird, but it was a good choice. Some family friends with a daughter who was besties with my sister were also there and my sister hung out with her the whole time and I would have been stuck with my parents. I also (and still) have no interest in Spain.
In 1999 was another family group trip back to Italy. My sister and I only went for a week, hardly saw my parents at all and spent most of our time at the beach with other people in the group we were with who were work mates of my mothers. 9,000 miles from LA and all we did was go to the beach! And that was the end of proper family vacations as we knew them until NZ in 2007/08.
In 2000, I went on a group trip to Czech Republic, Poland and Israel and random trips to the East Coast about 4 times.
In 2001, my sister, my mom and I went to NYC for a wedding.
In 2002 I finally made it to London for the first time in March and then went to UMass for a semester (vacation and traveling in my mind!) in the fall and to Italy in October to visit my sister who was doing a study abroad as well (my parents went of course but during a different week).
In 2004 I did a summer internship in NYC.
In 2005 I did NYC and Iceland.
And 2007-2009 I finally made it to NZ and Australia and here I am!
It seems like a lot of people’s first time traveling is on their study abroad. I could have never done a proper one (hell, I barely survived UMass!) because I associate being in LA with school and work and hell. Everything else is fun! And why would I want to pay to go somewhere when I would be stuck in a classroom all the time? (I didn’t like school very much as it was.) The math of doing a study abroad just never added up for me. I went to a dirt cheap university (a CSU, which is a fairly respected public school system in California) and instead of study abroad, I just saved the money I would have spent on going somewhere new every summer! I worked, interned and went to school from September to May. June, July and August was my turn to have fun! Plus, everyone was like, if you do study abroad, it’s a good excuse to travel and have your parents pay for it. Yeah, it worked that way in my house. I am not against study abroad, it just wouldn’t have economically viable in my situation. But if it gets kids out there, then what the hell! Just keep on moving.
Moral: In regards to traveling, I had a very lucky childhood. And doing a study abroad isn’t the only way to travel!