Reminiscing on My First International Experience

The sound of the planes engines seemed louder than usual, though not much more than the snoring of the couple seated behind me. We were 40,000 feet in the air and as I sat cramped in my window seat, head on the window and legs curled up into some yoga-like position, all I could hear was my voice asking “How did I get here?”

Alexander Graham Bell once said, “When one door closes another opens.” There is no better way to explain how I ended up aboard an Avianca flight headed towards Nicaragua, a country that up until a few months prior, I had never even acknowledged. I suppose you could say that I had a cliché outlook on travel. I dreamt of the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower and my hair blowing in the wind as I rode the Bateaux Mouche down the Seine. I mentally prepared images I would take from each angle of the Palace of Westminster; I envisioned myself on the trip I had originally planned to be on, a trip through Florence, Italy. This trip, however, had a prerequisite art class that ended up booked solid within a week and so I ended up in Liberation Theology, the only elective that wouldn’t disrupt my three-day week schedule. Unbeknownst to me, this class had a required service component and those who wished could provide those hours during a service-learning trip to Nicaragua.

The next thing I knew, we were driving to our first hostel through the streets of Managua past brightly colored, connecting, one-story homes. Within the next few hours I experienced more than I had in my twenty-one years. I felt the wind through my hair as we rode a speedboat through Lake Nicaragua, a lake that seemed to stretch on for miles in all directions; fed a monkey on an island that many tourists dub “Monkey Island”. And that night after the sun had set behind distant mountain ranges and the only light was from a battery operated lantern on the dashboard of our boat, we jumped feet first into Lake Nicaragua without hesitation. That week brought a succession of experiences. We hiked to the top of the Mombacho Volcano through green caverns and sloth-filled paths until we reached a bird’s eye view of Lake Nicaragua. We ran barefoot through a schoolyard in Sutiaba while getting destroyed in soccer by children half our size. And we ended our nights eating mango and playing cards on the stoop of our hostel with stars in our eyes. My trip to Nicaragua was my first international adventure, but that one visit made the world map on my wall at home seem that much more monumental.

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12 comments on “Reminiscing on My First International Experience

  1. sometimes the best trips are the ones that come without knowing 🙂 thanks for reminiscing – it was a beautiful read



  2. You have a beautiful writing style – thanks for sharing!


  3. What’s beautiful way to start your way of exploring the world! The best trips are your first because it’s all new to you, thank you for sharing your first experience! What a great post! 🙂


  4. Congrats on your first trip. It will always be a great memory and the first of many, I bet 🙂


  5. alexisrae13

    This is beautiful. I have the same feelings when I look back at my trips. I romanticize the heck out of them!


  6. thesnowcappedpassport

    Nice post! I have the same feelings about my first trips abroad 🙂 I hope you get to keep travelling and fill your memory board at home with tons of amazing inspiration.


  7. What a trip! Congrats on the experience. You are a great writer!


  8. What a wonderful first trip experience. I hope you have many, many more like it in the future. Thanks for sharing your adventure.


  9. Nicole Kow

    I can’t believe this was your first experience abroad! It felt almost surreal reading your recollection of that experience. Keep writing as magically as you do. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What an awesome experience. And Nicaragua as your first international destination, not bad! Mine wasn’t that exciting, haha.


  11. The Wanderlost Campaigner

    That’s a huge departure from your original plan! I’m glad you went with it. Curiosity is the best antidote to boredom. ❤


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