There is something particularly special about first times. First love. First car. First day of school.
First times have the potential to change your life and just like your first day of school, you’re given that one sacred opportunity to set the tone for the upcoming year. My trip to Spain epitomizes that first time feeling. Traveling to Spain was the first time in my adult life, that I had been able to travel out of the country. It was a complete culture shock. I felt like I was dumped into a foreign land and told “…see you in 30 days,” which in essence, was exactly what happened!
Three years ago I went on a study abroad trip to Spain to learn spanish at the University of Salamanca, the oldest university in Spain. No amount of pre-departure notes could have prepared me for this experience (and let’s just say I regret blowing off spanish). When I arrived, I had no other choice but to rely on my own hand gestures and other people’s apt communication skills while ordering food or interpreting directions. It didn’t take long for me to recognize differences in the way the people of Spain lived.
My trip to Spain was full of first times. Watching my first bullfight, drinking my first alcoholic beverage (sangria), trying tapas and paella, celebrating the World Cup, viewing the aqueduct of Segovia, admiring the beauty of the cathedrals and castles, gazing in sheer awe at the sight of the Plaza Mayor at night, and for the first time in my life nothing else mattered but living and enjoying these moments. My first time in Spain was special. It changed me.
Traveling is like a drug; one hit, and you’re hooked. And just like the drug addict chasing that first high, we too, chase a similar moment–the feeling of newness and unfamiliarity. But unlike drug addicts, that ‘first time’ high can be experienced over and over again–it’s why we continue to travel. Traveling doesn’t make us crash– in the end it’s always an everlasting feeling of fulfillment. We’re full of new experiences and begin to replay our most cherished moments.
I implore you to chase that first high. Once you’re hooked, you’ll always be satisfied.
This story was curated by Miriam Ejide.