We took the trip to Montreal, Quebec, to celebrate my high school graduation. This was my first time in another country as a legal adult. I only remember snatches of the whole trip — moments and impressions — so I’m recording them here for your viewing pleasure, before my old lady brain totally fuzzes them out.
We took the train there and I felt for the first time like I was on a real adventure.
Food eaten at a table inside a moving vehicle always tastes better than it does when you’re sitting still.
Giant, gray clouds drooped down from the sky, but when it rained, I didn’t mind.
I walked on actual cobblestones. I could feel their shapes through the soles of my shoes.
There was a square near our hotel teeming with people and the competing, delicious smells of hot food from different stalls.
The color, light, and laughter everywhere made me feel like I was in a painting.
I’d never heard so many different languages being spoken at once.
Every shop owner started out speaking to me in French, and even though I couldn’t converse with them in that language, it made me feel good that they tried.
My stomach leapt whenever I happened upon a sign in French that I could understand.
I rode from a restaurant on the back of a carriage. As we rolled away, 3 teenage boys ran into the street and called out to me in Portuguese. I waved to them and they waved back.
I tried my first Kinder Bueno Bar in Montreal. When the wafer broke against the roof of my mouth and I tasted the hazelnut filling, I thought I’d found the best sweet ever made. I went back to buy one every day until we left.
We ate in a restaurant like an underground cavern. The bricks curved up and over our heads. It felt like we’d burrowed into the earth.
I had my first “legal” drink there (I was 18). Kahlua & cream. There was a bug floating in it.
While wandering alone, I happened into a gallery full of freaky, pop-surrealism. My love for weird art was immediately born.
Montreal was the perfect intro for me to the rest of the world and it came at just the right time. I was so excited about that trip and had so much fun. I remember feeling brave after spending time in Montreal — however short a time it was. Going to another country was no longer this impossible, mildly terrifying thing in my mind. I wanted to see more after that. I’d love to go back there, and to visit other parts of Canada someday.
My friends keep saying “You must be SO excited! Think of all the traveling you’ll get to do from England!” They’re right! Easy access to so many different countries is a privilege, and exploring them on my own is one of the things I’m most looking forward to. I really enjoy reading about other people’s (mis)adventures in solo travel. They always end up pleasantly surprised by what they’re capable of, and I always end up cheering for them from the other side of my computer screen.
My new mantra for the coming days: Do something worth cheering about 🙂
What was your first foreign travel experience? What impression(s) did you walk away with?