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Real Stories: “The Trip That Changed My Life”

070207_lifechangingtripsF.JPGThere are 1,001 ways to describe the heady sensation that comes with seeing a place for the first time. It’s what gets travel enthusiasts hooked on travel. If it’s been a while since you’ve felt the traveler’s high, you’re probably long overdue for a real adventure. To get you in the mood, we’ve pulled together accounts of truly unforgettable trips provided by folks on our Forums.

Ever wanted to…

…just quit your job and go?

“Call me crazy. I’m a 47-year-old single NYC lawyer who’s tired of seeing the world in two-week chunks. I’m thinking about quitting my job, selling my apartment, and using the proceeds to travel round-the-world on a shoestring budget.” (more)

…escape your comfort zone?

“I was freaked out before my first trip, too. On the plane ride over I kept thinking, “Why am I going to India?” I ended up having the time of my life and returned two years later. The key is to just go with the flow. Actually, don’t just go with the flow — embrace the flow.” (more)

…make a fresh start?

“I’m back from my first sojourn overseas alone as a newly divorced woman who is just turning 50. As you may recall, I had signed up for a women’s-only walking tour in Umbria, preceded by 4 days alone in Rome. In a nutshell, I had a completely wonderful time.” (more)

…take an extraordinary family vacation?

“The highlight was our night in the Sahara desert. I will never forget riding our camels in light of the half moon under a spectacular starry sky to the encampment. Dinner, a roaring fire under the stars, music and singing into the night. We woke up at dawn and watched the sun rise over the dunes.” (more)

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…go it alone?

“At the age of 20 I flew to San Francisco, drove down the coast, camped by myself. No Earth- shaking revelations occurred, but as my wiser older brother advised, the trip was a good idea simply as something that I should do.” (more)

…test a relationship?

“Frankfurt, June 12, 1975 — the start of my first trip to Europe with my boyfriend. I was 19. We traveled for 5 weeks in a tiny VW bug, staying in pensions and B&Bs and circling through France, across northern Spain, the Riviera, northern tip of Italy and back up to Germany. The boyfriend didn’t last, but my love of Europe and road trips has only grown.” (more)

…experience sensory overload?

“I traveled to Mexico City when I was 16. I remember smelling the food cooking that was oh-so-foreign and the smog hanging over the city and the pilgrims crawling on their knees to the Cathedral. . .”(more)

…have mom or dad along for the ride?

“Last year I took my 80-year-old father on a trip (just the 2 of us) and it was amazing how much I learned. I got to hear all these stories that I had never heard before — I had always considered him so staid.” (more)

Just back from a trip of a lifetime? Recover, reminisce, and get inspired for your next odyssey on the Travel Talk Forums.

“When I first visited the site I wasn’t planning a trip; I arrived as a refugee of post-trip depression. One night I was in Venice, the next night I was on Fodor’s.” —Worktowander

— Written and compiled by Katie Hamlin

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