I always laugh hard whenever i reflect on my 1st travel experience, it was an international trip. I was finally stepping out of my continent to another, an experience never to be forgotten but to share with aspiring 1st time travelers.
During my college years as a young Africa girl, my dream was to become a nomad, my love for travel cannot be quantify, till date a huge picture frame map of the world is in my bedroom. Although, I didn’t make my 1st international trip until 4 years into my career, and it was done with a bag full of sour experience. lol!
As the popular saying goes “experience is the best teacher” because we learn from mistakes made. However mistakes can be minimize or grave consequences avoided if we learn from the mistakes of others. Oh yes! on this i must admit that i had my fair share and valuable lessons learnt from my very 1st international travel.
I had no budget saved for this trip nor had i planned for it, even though it was my 1st. You know how you jump on a ridiculous cheap ticket without thinking? that was so in my case. I got this irresistible offer on Qatar airways to Dubai, rushed to Human resources for leave application, processed my visa, luggage packed – Dubai here i come. Omg! did i get stranded? yeah, i almost did.
After ticket purchase, i had little funds left for accommodation, feeding, shopping, tours etc. I had to pair room with a total stranger, thats not all, she eventually robbed me of the little funds i had left on day 3 stay. That episode resulted in a police investigation, story for another post.
My trip had no purpose, i was like a sheep lost in the woods. Was i visiting for business, pleasure or as a tourist? none at all. I found myself with no activity planned for each day, bear in mind too, that i had no sufficient funds to play around with.
I had no pictures taken on this trip
Being my 1st vacation trip, it would have been ideal to travel to a destination where i had family and friends, or travel in a group rather than solo travel. I had to deal with series of emotions, for instance, trying hard to fit into the destination, struggling to network, trying to understand currency, language, security etc at some point it felt like “an emotional roller coaster ride“.
This connects directly with my 3rd mistake, for 1st time travelers, a destination where you have family and friends should be your first call, otherwise, your next line of thought should be to book tours via a tour operator, it needs no further explanation.
I learnt the hard way from my 1st international trip, but it made me strong and i turned “ajala” which means in Nigeria Yoruba language “frequent traveler or tourist“.
NB: Another thing to crack your ribs, while on board, i ordered a meal i have never had before and ended up hungry.