Travelling overseas for the first time is a lot like starting at a new school. It’s exciting, you see new things, make a friend or two and with a bit of luck don’t get lost. Now there are some downsides as you learn nobody seems to understand you or want to help you. People look at you with a funny smirk on their face and at some point your lunch money is going to be stolen.
Ask me to sum up my trip and I’d say “It was an eye opening experience and how soon can I do it again”. The experience of combining my first trip overseas with both Christmas and New Years was something I’d also do again in a heartbeat. There is no awkward family moments (sorry family) and your not stuck 2 days before New Years trying to decide what to do.
I often found myself comparing everything I saw to back home. The big standout point for me was the transport systems. Comparing Melbourne Airport to both Singapore and Hong Kong’s would be an insult to the later. Trains run to the airports; I walked out of Hong Kong Airport I think it was and literally meters away was a train to the city, waiting for me. Oh and don’t get me started on how easy an octopus card is to use.
Melbourne Airport has a shuttle bus, yep you have to catch a bus all the way to the city. No trains or fancy teleport systems just a bus that’s no doubt running late. Melbourne is also the airport that made me wait the longest for my bags yet is tiny compared to the others.
There was literally hundreds of other things I noticed/learnt. Here is just a few of them:
- Having a tag on your luggage to identify it is a good idea (sorry Asian lady)
- Middle seat’s on a plane are a cruel invention, there should just be aisle and window seats
- Having a computer with me would have made some things so much easier
- ATM’s are everywhere why did I need to take so much cash
- Just because I had a big suitcase, I didn’t need to fill it full of clothes I would never wear
- Your in a different country skip McDonald’s and get into the local cuisine OMG drool…
- Bargaining at the markets is fun, have a laugh and enjoy it
- Leave your ego/judging eyes/attitude on the plane. I’m looking at you horrible tourists I ran into again and again
Travel was once a distant dream for me. Something I always wanted to do but never followed through on, always repeating the one day clause of a dreamer. Would I have taken this trip without the safety net of a travel companion… probably not. Do I wish I had manned up so to speak and travelled solo for that first time, yes and no. Ask me after I’ve been in Europe a month doing the solo thing.
That was my trip, the match to the fire that now drives me to pursue a life involving travel. I look forward to re-visiting Hong Kong and Singapore. To walk those streets again and wander down memory lane.
I’ll leave you with this final thought as it seems fitting. Never forget your first trip, the nerve’s, the panic of getting lost that first time or the hours you might have spent with your head in the toilet after eating some suspect food. They were your first’s and while you will no doubt repeat them again and again, nothing can replicate those emotions and feelings. Those memories will keep you an honest traveller, a good traveller.