“What is your most memorable childhood travel memory?” That’s what I’ve asked many travel bloggers and other travel addicts. These are their personal stories and photos.
Today, I interview Nic from The Roaming Renegates!
Hi Nic, do you remember the first time you went travelling?
I remember visiting my grandma in Barcelona when I was 2. My gran moved there before I was born, left everything behind and decided to just go to the place she loved.
Looking back I believe I have much of that same spirit in myself. She has changed a lot now as she is older and doesn’t travel so much because of her health, but she still loves telling me stories of her explorations across Hungary and Romania as well as visiting Sri Lanka which was a wild and almost unknown thing to do at the time…. then running off with a Turkish man to Istanbul!
Visiting my Gran we heard all these tales of travel and in a wonderful location. I can just see her pool now which she shared with a man called Fernando, I remember his massive Mustache and how he patched up my knee after I fell.
Did your parents travel much before you were born?
They did actually and they went to some cool places, those photos I grew up looking at and think it did influence me to want to travel. It’s strange because I really couldn’t imagine them doing what they did then, now! It’s like people I don’t recognise and I wish they would get some of that spirit back because I think they stick too much to a safety net but I see it as holding them back from more fulfilling travel.
They went to Asia a year or so before I was born and travelled to Jordan, Hong Kong, Singapore and a few places in Thailand, my dad also went on a trip to Tokyo when I was pretty young with the football association and that is why I always wanted to visit Japan! It’s inspiring to see that they went to these place and especially in the mid 80’s as people from our walk of life would never usually get the chance to do that and it was only really because my mum got made redundant and got a decent payout that they decided to just splash out on this trip.
Nowadays they are way too conservative and would probably stick it in the bank and instead visit somewhere they are indifferent about! I don’t get it! I think for them it was this “trip of a lifetime” before settling down for the rest of their lives! It’s inspiring on the one hand but at the same time pretty much the opposite of what we plan to do. We don’t believe in the whole 9-5 thing and working your life away until you retire.
A trip of a life time is what we indent to make our whole lives about, not just a few weeks, but I guess they set the precedent!
This is me sat by the pool at my Grandmas house in Barcelona and I guess mostly refers to my earliest travel memory… but was also the place I learnt to swim! Having a grandparent living in another country was really quite an exciting thing as a young child and I never wanted to come home after we visited!
What was your favourite holiday destination as a child, a teenager and an adult?
As a young child I always enjoyed visiting Spain, what I loved most was exploring the area with my dad as well as making loads of new friends at the children’s clubs. It’s a bit cringe worthy now as I hate package holidays or all-inclusive resorts, but as a kid they were great!
We could go off and have adventures with the other kids and the reps away from our parents! I would always get up on stage and perform, usually doing gymnastics which I was really into up until the age of about 11. I would always go for walks up into the “mountains” with my dad on some adventure somewhere whilst my mum and brother sat at the pool and waved at us when we started to rent out villas instead of the hotels, I loved all the little things we could come across that we never expected. I think this had a big impact on my love of mountaineering, exploration and travel in general.
Going to Orlando has to be the best place any teenager would ever want to visit! I became pretty grumpy as a teen and often would get bored going to those Spanish resorts at that age and hated lounging around by the pool. When we visited Florida I was in my element!
I started skateboarding too around the time I turned 13 and so America was a mecca for all the culture I was interested in around that time and I guess still am. It started a love affair with the country which continues to this day and was filled with so much excitement when it came to the theme parks and all the new things we experienced.
I was also quite lucky to travel to the US as a teen as many of the other kids I knew never got that opportunity and in that respect it was a real adventure away from all the things I knew back at home in the UK. The first time I spoke to an American I thought they must be a movie star or something, it really opened the world up for me!
Wow, now this is a hard one because it’s kind of like asking what our favourite place is and that is impossible! But generally speaking I like to think we are quite adventurous and go to places we feel we will be out of our comfort zone and really experience something new! With that in mind Tokyo has to be up there as it is just so different to our culture and such a fantastic challenge to navigate. We really loved visiting Japan as it had been a dream for so long and has really whetted our appetite for exploring more of Asia, which we will be doing for the majority of 2016!
Although we have to also mention Eastern Europe as it has been a revelation to us, places like Poland, Ukraine and Russia again were such an adventure into the unknown and a real eye opener, Krakow in particular stole our hearts.
One last place we have to mention in New York because it is the place we chose to get married in as we love it so much! New York was somewhere we dreamt of visiting and as a kid, although we had been to Florida, New York just seemed so far away from what we thought we could achieve. When I visited with university in 2008 and realised this dream I had imagined, in my naivety, would take until I was late 20’s and had a “good job” to do. It really made me realise that these things where so much more achievable than I imaged!
This is me in St. Mark’s square in Venice! It’s kind of a funny story really, although not so much at the time! We stayed at a beach resort near to Venice and often my grandparents would come away with us too. One day on the beach my grandparents were left in charge of us… It was a choppy day on the sea and we had been warned to be careful and stay out, but I wanted to go and have a look!
My Grandad was down near the water with my brother so my Nan told me to just go down and find him; it must have only been a few feet away! I was about 8 at the time and had no sense of direction (not that it has improved much!) and I got totally lost!
The beach was just a maze of deck chairs and in the end I walked 5 miles down the beach before being picked up by the Police! When I got back to the hotel my parents were frantic, search parties had been sent out, detectives called, the hotel manager had rounded up his family to look for me along with half the guests of the hotel…and there I was none the wiser to the panic I had caused!
Can you remember a specific travel item/gadget you used to take on a trip as a child?
My dad always had his dodgy video camera with him that more resembled a woodland creature than cutting edge technology when we went away and used to make these really cheesy home movies!
I also used to take this toy with me called “Tina”, I still have her but she stays safely at home now because she is so tatty and fragile! She was my mum’s first toy as a child and is this weird gypsy woman/ doll/ teddy thing, now full of tears and stuffed with old rags! She gave it to me when I was born and I took her everywhere for many years!
This photo is a family photo in Orlando, Florida. It’s not the best photo but because my Grandad was always the cameraman he is missing from most of the others!
We would all go to Florida every other year when we were growing up. We really loved it over there and loved getting out and visiting the theme parks instead of being around the pool all day! It was the most fun for us kids we had ever had and a real adventure to go to America.
The US is still somewhere I love to this day and it was amazing to head back and take the family with us when we got married in New York in 2013. It’s got a real place in my heart as being where the family were together and all really happy.
We have so many stories from our trips to Florida including the time my Grandad backed the car into a forest and was nearly attacked by a bear, to when he again, fell into an alligator infested lake whilst playing golf in his new shoes! But the most memorable has to be in 2004 when we were caught up in Hurricane Charley, which has to be one of the most scary and at the same time exciting things we have ever experienced! It was completely crazy, tornadoes and everything! The whole town was a wreck; I’ve never seen anything like that before or since.
Did the way you travelled as a child changed much when you grew up?
Oh definitely, it’s totally different, not even remotely the same!! We are very independent and love exploring new and off the beaten track places. We get lost, we explore, we dive into the local culture and don’t care if no one within 10 miles speaks a word of English! We stay in cramped hostels or rent out apartments in the middle of an amazing city, or we head out into the mountains and hang off the edge of a cliff for fun! We challenge ourselves and thrive off adventure and the unexpected.
Family holidays on the other hand were quite predictable, there was I guess some tame and safe sense of adventure in heading to America but mostly those holidays were spent by the pool under the watchful eye of my parents. I think they just wanted to relax and I understand that but it’s not really for us! My mum is also a bit of a worrier and those resorts allowed her peace of mind.
I do miss going on holiday with all the family at times though, when there was like 8 of us it really felt like a crazy gang and was really fun as my grandparents were much more lenient with us.
It was amazing to go to New York with all the family for the wedding and have them all together again on a trip, but this time one which was on our terms! We were really able to give them a new travel experience once they let go and trusted us which was pretty rewarding.
Finally: What is your best tip for making a trip memorable?
I think you should travel with passion and a spirit of adventure, don’t hold back because of false fears or preconceptions. Go somewhere because you really have a calling to that place and get stuck in, immerse yourself in it, embrace it and take all challenges with a smile!
Krakow, Poland, November 2014
If you want to read more of Nic’s stories, be sure to visit her website: The Roaming Renegades
Find all the previous interviews here.
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