First trip overseas…and on my own!

2008 marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I had left the motorcycle industry and started working for my parent’s company as a casual in the office helping out my Mum. They had hit me up if I wanted to come on fulltime as their Human Resource Manager. It was a good opportunity but I had to get something out of the way first. My first trip overseas. Specifically Disneyland! In a record 6 weeks I had booked a 3 week holiday to Anaheim and paid it all off in one hit. I organised my passport and was all ready to go. I was the first member of my family to go overseas and I was going alone. I left the day before my 24th birthday. This was a huge bucket list item to tick off.

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I arrived in LA and made my way to the hotel I would be staying at for the whole 3 weeks. During that time I spent the day visiting the City of Angels, Knott’s Berry Farm, San Diego Zoo and Sea World, Universal Studios, Six Flags Magic Mountain and so much more. Greylines ran the majority of the tours and picked up myself and other tourists up for our respective trips which is incredibly handy for a solo traveller like myself.

The hotel I stayed at was Super 8 on West Katella Avenue in Anaheim and it was conveniently located near some of the best restaurants in the US of A. Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and Cheesecake Factory being 2 of them. Every time I visit America now I look for these. Also within a 15 minute walk of the hotel is Disneyland. It really is the happiest place on Earth. Since this trip I have visited Anaheim a couple of times and always stayed at this hotel. Cheap, clean and convenient it is.

Travelling on your own is such an eye opening experience and you learn a lot about yourself. Everyone needs to travel on their own at least once. No Contiki or Topdeck tours just go on your own. You meet some amazing people along the way that contribute to the epic stories you will have to share with your friends and family back home.  When solo you have your ‘guard’ up but also have confidence to ask a stranger for help. My Mum always taught me not to talk to strangers but sometimes you have to and not all people are bad. You can pick out the weirdos straight away, trust me. I have met some amazing people whilst working out what train to catch and they have helped me or sitting in a pub working out what to do next and they have leant over to offer help. It is these people who have helped out for 5 minutes who I continue to talk about years later. I have been lucky and haven’t gotten into trouble. Be smart when in a foreign country and respect their laws and culture.

Since this trip I caught the travel bug big time. With the exception of 2010 I have been on a trip every year and am always planning one (or 2!). I have gone on my own, with family who jumped on the bandwagon after 2008, and one Topdeck trip. I absolutely love travelling and seeing the World and wish I started at a younger age. I feel I haven’t scratched the surface.

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Trips I have been on: 2008 Anaheim, 2009 Isle of Man and Britain road trip with my Dad, 2011 back to IOM, London, Rome and Paris with Dad and Brother, 2012 Anaheim, San Francisco and Las Vegas, 2013 Anaheim, Miami and Las Vegas with brother, 2014 UK Topdeck tour plus extended time in London on my own, 2015 New Orleans, Orlando, Washington DC, New York and Chicago. I’ll blog about them at another time perhaps. May 2016 will see me off to Japan with a friend.

All photos taken by myself

~Lauren

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