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What was your first holiday without your parents?

What was your first holiday without your parents?

Old Aug 12, 19, 11:58 am
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My entire love of travel originated in the summer I was 10 years old. My family had moved to another state and it was arranged that I would spend the summer with my best friend in Tennessee. This involved a eight hundred mile train trip with a change in Washington DC. I was put on the train in Penn Station with my ticket pinned to my shirt and the conductor informed. It was a great journey. I lost the ticket and someone returned it. The dining car staff treated me like family.
Conductor pointed me in the right direction in DC and I found my way to the right train in my own. I had a great time and I was infected with a lifelong case of wanderlust and no fear of traveling anywhere. 10 years later I left the USA with $1000, a open return ticket (subsequent sold), and a backpack. I was overseas for 8 years.
OTOH, my stay in Tennessee was not very pleasant. After living in the Northeast - and attending public school (integrated public school) - for a year and a half, I was shocked at how race affected every thing down there. It was bad enough that my 10 year old self couldn't take it.
I called the folks, cut the visit short, and never returned.
So in two ways this trip, my first solo adventure, was the foundation of who I became as an adult. I am eternally grateful to my parents for letting me do this.

Last edited by rickg523; Aug 12, 19 at 12:12 pm
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Old Aug 13, 19, 9:39 am
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My first trip was to Essen, Germany when I was 14 yo. I was going to music school and together with choir we went for some concerts to Essen. It was super cool, bunch of kids in a nice foreign city.
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Old Aug 16, 19, 9:37 am
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
Wait. You brought an airline timetable to read for fun at summer camp? And I thought I was a nerdy kid.

<gfunk falls over from the sheer nerdiness>
I did, but as it turned out at least one other kid thought to do the same and we've been friends for over two thirds of my life so I guess it worked out.
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Old Aug 16, 19, 1:42 pm
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Originally Posted by roberino View Post
Not including school trips, my first holiday without my parents was the summer when I was 17. I told them I was going to the South West coast of England to work in a bar and restaurant. I actually dumped my bags in a friend’s cupboard then hitchhiked with two friends from Manchester to Fontainebleau. I spent five weeks sleeping in the forest at night and bouldering during the day. I somehow lived on about £10 per week. I only ended up telling my mum what I really did three years ago at the age of 37.

It was one of the best times of my life. I especially remember how people generous would be to us, like when four Austrian climbers let us sleep in their gite during a two day rainstorm and shared their beer and “cigarettes” with us, and how the local climbers would drive us to interesting areas of the forest to expand our horizons a bit. It was the first and only time I ever climbed Font 7C and the feeling of elation as I topped out is still burned into my brain.
Update. So, apparently, my mum knew where I was was because a travel companion was secretively phoning his parents every few days and the parent network was chattering. I’ll be honest, this is a massively deflating discovery after all this time.
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Old Aug 16, 19, 1:59 pm
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I went to camp for 7 weeks every summer starting at age 9. At age 15 I went to Spain as an exchange student. The parents had gotten divorced a week before I got there. My host brother and sister and I got very good at playing them off each other so we had virtually zero supervision that summer.
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Old Aug 30, 19, 9:08 pm
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When I was 12 my French class had an exchange with another school near Trois Riviere in Quebec which involved 2 flights. During our layover in Montreal our chaperone French teachers drilled into us the importance of showing up at the next flight's gate on time but let us loose for several hours. Three classmates and I went off to explore the terminal together. It was the first time flying for all of us. We headed back to the gate very early since we were such responsible kids but somehow we accidentally wandered outside of the security zone and couldn't re-enter without our boarding passes...which were in the possession of our chaperones. We had security page them. They showed up shortly, looking very unhappy that we cut their adult drinking time short!

Besides that it wasn't until university that I went on short weekend road trips to Toronto with friends where we planned and navigated on our own. We did the trips on Greyhound buses, Via Rail train and car.
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Old Sep 4, 19, 9:27 am
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Detroit with my grandparents when I was 12. Flew BTV to ALB then DTW. They were one of the first ones to figure out I was gay and took me to visit a couple of old lesbian missionaries they knew. I had a great time.
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Old Sep 9, 19, 3:45 pm
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I had school trips in HS, but they were chaperoned, so . . .

Summer after HS, I spent a few weeks at a friend's home in Florida. Her dad was around, but we were left pretty much to our own devices.

The first vacation without parents around, I was twenty, and some friends and I went island-hopping in the Caribbean for a few days. Low-budget, easy-going, and so much fun. Some of the most beautiful beaches on earth. No schedules, no must-dos, just see what happens each day. It was one of the most memorable vacations of my life. Also memorable because I ended up with a terrible sunburn.
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