I would be lying if I said that it seemed like yesterday when my first passport arrived in the mail. It was 10 years ago. I was young and afraid. Inspired by my cousin's Semester at Sea, I decided it was time for my own abroad experience and signed up for a summer language program in Salamanca, Spain. I had no idea what was in store for me.
Now, 10 years of traveling later, I am glad I took that first brave step onto a plane - alone - because it truly changed my life. From that summer on, travel became a priority. It wasn't something I wanted to do, it was essential. I worked hard, often weekends and two jobs so that I could so all of the things I wanted to. There's never been a better way for me to spend my time or money.
Some of my favorite memories of the last 10 years include:
Ireland and England 2004 - my first real pay-for-it-myself trip and my first Guinness:
Italy 2005 - Old cities, beautiful country sides, art and the Cinque Terre:
World Cup 2006 - a crazy trip that included stops in Amsterdam, Prague, Zurich, Vienna and all around Germany:
JapanAsia 2010 - different cities in Japan, Singapore and Cambodia:
Paris 2010 - fulfilling a promise that I made to myself when I was 16 that I would be in Paris for my 30th birthday:
And, what better way to start my new passport than with a stamp right where it all started, Madrid. I am heading back to the first place I ever really loved.