Back when I got this passport I was only 17 and my travel experiences up to that date had consisted mostly of visiting Spain and Florida as a child and teenager. We had also have some memorable trips over to Malta, Cyprus and Italy over the course of the 10 years since I had gotten my own passport (before that one I was on my parents passport!!)
Soon after I got my new passport things changed however. My first major trip was over to Paris when I was 18 with college. Not to go over board here but this trip changed my life!! It was like being awoken and suddenly realising how amazing the world really was and that little old me could explore what ever part I wanted!! We ran wild over the 10 days we spent in Paris, getting lost, exploring on our own and generally having the most freedom we had ever had before and in one of the most amazing cities in the world!! It was then that I discovered travel for real and I was hooked!
Over the few years after that trip to Paris the family holidays got less and less and the trips with University grew. One of the last family trips of that time period that really sticks in my mind was Oludeniz in Turkey, somewhere Shorty had grown up visiting almost every year so it was quite special for us to be able to visit together. That was only our second time abroad together and this time we also had much more freedom to explore on our own. But it was over these few years that I visited Prague with my art class, Hamburg on my own to go and work with my Cousin, Amsterdam with the football girls and of course I finally made a life long dream a reality by visiting New York.
After that milestone trip I felt an obstacle that I didn’t even know was there had been lifted. New York always seemed too far away for me to get to, it was almost like a lifetime ambition to one day finally see it. But as a 20 year old to get that chance just felt like all of a sudden the world had opened up to me and these dreams were not just concepts floating around in my head for “someday” but things that I could actually do and places I could see! It was liberating and inspiring to achieve that dream at such a young age.
Another huge trip for us was going to Lisbon in 2009, this was our first trip abroad on our own and to a capital city not many other people we knew had visited. It was a huge step into the unknown for us both and also the beginning of us carving out our own travelling style in many ways!
The last real family trip we took over that period was to Luxor in Egypt in 2010. This was a bone of contention at the time as our new found freedom jarred with my parents wishes to take an organised tour! But this was to be paid for by them as I had just graduated university and so we went along as a last hurray to our childhood travels. In the end it turned out to be an amazing trip and one in which we were able to carve out our own pieces of freedom from but also spend some quality time with the family.
After University things changed again and it was this latter part of the decade of my passport that has been the most intense and amazing. We finally managed to move out in 2012 and so for the first time we were in control entirely of what we did, what we spent our money on and where we went. This began a period of travel that was much more adventurous and also lead up to the inevitably point in which we now find ourselves…ready to set off travelling full time!
Our first major trip over that time was to Moscow in the September of 2012. This was huge for us as it was somewhere we had wanted to visit for such a long time but always felt to out of reach, everyone would warn us of how dangerous it would be or how hard it was to visit. This was really us stretching ourselves outside of that comfort zone and starting to search for more adventurous locations to visit that were far away from the sterile tourist experiences we had grown up with. Moscow was pretty crazy but it was an eye opening experience that taught us a lot about travel. It was the first time we had ever taken a connecting flight and also stayed in a hostel together…this would be the start of things to come!
This was also the discovery of our love for Eastern Europe, a place we would revisit on trips to Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia and Hungary. Finding that we could take budget trips over to this part of the world and really see some amazing culture and beautiful places too. These trips also broke down a lot of misconceptions that family and friends had about the region and gave us the chance to do some crazy things…like shooting an AK47 on the outskirts of Budapest!!
Similarly we finally completed all of the countries in the British Isles when we partied the night away on St. Patrick’s day in Ireland and ventured north to Belfast and the Giant’s causeway. This was only a short trip away but it was huge for me to see the land of my ancestors and also visit the Belfast of today and see it for the great city it is rather than the media portrayal we grew up with.
The most memorable trips of the past 10 years have to be the trilogy of New York (for the third time in that period), Tokyo and Switzerland!
New York…well I am sure you will have heard but it is kind of the place where we left our hearts!! We visited for the first time as a couple in 2011 and from that moment knew that nowhere else in the world would come close…and this was the place we had to get married in! Roll on 2013 and there we were, jumping around in Times Square on our wedding day surrounded by our family! Needless to say this was a dream of a wedding and the most fun day of our lives!
But not to be out done we stepped it up once again and heading over to Tokyo for our honeymoon. After New York and Moscow this was the place we had always wanted to see and after getting the confidence and belief to really know we could make these dreams a reality it was time for this epic journey halfway across the world! This was our first time properly in Asia and the furthest we had been from home, it was a culture shock like no other we had had before…but it only made us realise that our dreams of exploring Asia were not that far fetched after all!
Then comes Switzerland… which if you keep up with our travels you will know all about! Who knows why we had waited so long to visit, but when we did we made sure we did it properly and in the process fell in love! If it wasn’t for the fact we are about to go backpacking across the globe this would have definitely been categorised as the trip of a lifetime. We held nothing back, paragliding, canyoning, white water rafting, hiking the Via Ferrata and taking in some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. This might just be the place we choose to settle down in one day! Oh and I also took my first ever solo trip when I visit Basel too, that was a rollercoaster of emotions but yet another unforgettable travel memory.
So there’s 10 years of travel summarised, even if there were some details left out!! During that time a lot has changed and we have had the most amazing adventures possible. Our attitudes towards what we want in life have slowly turned towards travelling as one amazing trip after another left it’s memorable mark upon us. We bought a house…then rented it out, got married, I got a BA and MA degree but best of all we grew ever closer over our love for travel and adventure!
What do the next 10 years have in store…well there is a reason I ordered a passport with extra pages! This is truly the start of a new chapter for us and this new passport comes at a significant time. The first time I will use it will be when we fly out to Milan to start our journey of a few years around the world! We are not entirely sure where we are going to end up, but that is what makes it exciting and challenging, we just know it’s going to be one hell of a fun ride finding out! So maybe getting a new passport isn’t that bad after all! Oh…and this will be my first passport in my married name!
So how many countries has my passport been to:
2006: France, Turkey
2008: Czech Republic, USA, Portugal
2009: Germany, Turkey, Holland
2012: Turkey, Greece, Russia
2013: USA, Japan
2014: Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Ukraine
2015: France, Germany, Slovakia, Austria, Ireland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein
Countries I didn’t need my passport for:
Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales!!
2016…New passport, new decade of adventures and a new life of full time travel!
How did you feel renewing your passport? Bring back some memories?
Latest posts by Nicola Hilditch-Short (see all)
- Experiencing the amazing “Thingyan” Water festival in lively Yangon, Myanmar - August 20, 2017
- What to expect when you visit Myanmar (Burma): The wonderful, surreal & authentic side of South East Asia! - August 17, 2017
- Exploring the culture and scenery of the stunning Lake Inle, Myanmar: Our Lake Inle guide! - August 13, 2017