Six years ago today, as a high school freshman, I embarked on my first great travel adventure. I traveled with my school, though I didn't know anyone else signed up. I was only in my second year of Spanish and had just turned fifteen six weeks prior. Looking back, I'm still kind of surprised that I actually went through with the trip! I'm so glad that I went! I remember flying over Ireland (Happy Saint Patrick's Day!) late at night and peering out my window to see lights over European land for the first time. I distinctly remember the moment I thought, "Wow, I have never been this far from home before!" It opened my eyes to just how big the world is. People often say the world is small and in some cases, I think that is true. However, there are so many cultures and places to visit and most people have only seen such a tiny fraction! Most of my photos are on old computers and flash drives but I found a few of my favorites to post.
The symbol of Madrid is a bear sniffing a strawberry tree. I didn't know much about Spain or Spanish culture (it was only during my later years of high school Spanish that I learned the significance of many of the sites I visited), but I did know about this symbol and was eager to photograph it! I absolutely loved Madrid: my introduction to Europe! The buildings have so much history and character, often hundreds or thousands of years. This remains one of the reasons I love Europe so much.
The Medieval town of Toledo featured some seriously old bridges. This one was built in the 1300s, if I recall correctly. We then walked over it!
During one night in Sevilla (Seville), I snapped this photo on the way back from watching Flamenco.
Here is a fifteen-year-old me (I don't really look much different...) standing on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea (with some random people in the background). I remember being in awe of the mountains and sea in such close proximity! On Easter Sunday we took a ferry past the Rock of Gibraltar to Morocco. Strangely, I couldn't find any photos of the trip. I remember we had to cover our shoulders and knees, but even so we really stood out. Some locals were taking photos of us so we must have really looked out of place! It was a great experience though!
Looking back, I am surprised at how much of the trip has blurred over the past six years. I still wear a bracelet I purchased on Costa del Sol and there are random memories I'll never forget (like watching my favorite skater ever Mao Asada win worlds on British EuroSport) and visiting La Alhambra (photos of that are also missing). I think this experience contributes to much of my desire to see the world and love of travel even today.
What was your first big travel adventure?
Hi, I’m Crystal! Just like you, I love to travel. You’ll get all the best tips and insights from my experiences as a former ice-skating coach in Iceland and former study abroad student. Of the 24 countries I have visited, a type 1 diabetes diagnosis has been the strangest land yet. Type 1 has not slowed down my travels and you'll learn how to take type 1 with you on the road! You can connect with me further on Instagram @CrystalChilcott, or send me ideas of where I should travel next via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgHappy Travels, Crystal
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