Today I thought I’d write a retrospective post, looking back on the first time that I ever travelled abroad.
The first time that I travelled abroad also happens to be when I moved to England in 2006. As a 9 year old, I was terrified to move. My mum was already living here in England, and my sister and I were living in Brazil with my grandad. My grandmother flew to Brazil to pick us up for us to bring us to my mother. I was probably one of the hardest things I ever done, leaving Brazil, leaving my grandad, leaving the rest of my family. My graddad always looked after me – he’s the one that would drive me to the hospital when I wasn’t well, he was the one that always gave me a shoulder to cry on, he was the one that taught me to stand up for myself and always knew how to cheer me up.
Naturally, it was really hard leaving him; he is pretty much like my dad. Since I didn’t really have an ‘official’ father figure when I was little, my grandad filled that spot and looked after me. I remember that at the airport I cried like a baby, but it was just something that had to be done, because even though I would miss him greatly, I also missed my mum.
So, there we embarked on a 12 hour flight to Holland, where we changed planes. When we got to Holland, I was held by customs for hours with my grandmother and little sister for hours, all because we got lost. Eventually my mum managed to find us – after we had already missed our flight to London.
It wasn’t the greatest starts to moving to a new place, being held by customs, in a country I’s never been to before, not being able to speak the language…it was a bit scary for a 9 year old. It was all okay after my mum found us though. We got on the next flight to London and when we landed it was so strange.
It wasn’t just some holiday trip abroad – it was an entirely new life. But In the end I loved it. When we landed, we went for a tour around London. For a girl who grew up in a small town near Curitiba, being in London was like a child in a sweet shop. The big city was a crazy place in the eyes of a nine year old – the massive skyscrapers, the huge amounts of people who don’t even look at each other, all of the different scents and sights. Everything was just so new.
Looking back at it now, I can’t help but smile at how innocent I was back then. It’s crazy to think how much we change and develop as people. After my first time abroad and my big move, everything was different. I was so scared at first – now after I’ve visited over 28 different countries over the last 9 years, I’ve grown as a person and learnt to appreciate all of the benefits of travelling and how knowledge that is acquired through travel can change you.