I have been thinking about this prompt for quite awhile. I am lucky enough to have quite a few stamps in my passport. At first, I thought I knew exactly which one… but then I changed my mind. I have finally settled on my original pick.
Entering Paris in 2006.
I took French throughout high school, and always wanted to go to Paris. One day the teacher passed out a paper to all the students telling us that she was chaperoning a trip with the history teacher to Paris over Spring Break. I immediately knew I had to go.
I remember agonizing for days about how I was going to talk to my parents about it, envisioning them laughing at me when I asked them to help pay for the trip. Finally, we were close to the deadline to sign up, and I sat my mom down. I asked her if I paid for half of the trip if she would pay for 1/4 of it, and I would ask my dad to pay the other 1/4 of it. SHE SAID YES.
I remember my eyes welling up with tears because that meant that it was actually going to happen. I was actually going to Paris. It was my first trip to Europe, it was my first real trip without my family, and I was instantly hooked on travel. I remember calling my mom from Paris the day before we left telling her how magical it was and that I wasn’t getting on the plane to come home.
Flying back to the US from that trip was awful. I cried (in the way that only a dramatic 16 year old can) then entire 9 hour flight back. I felt like my wings had been clipped. I had been given a taste of the REAL world, I had seen how beautiful, magical, dirty, isolating, and empowering it was to lose yourself in another culture and then it was all gone. Back to “reality”. I still dream of going back to Paris and getting lost in everything there, I think maybe once I take that trip, I’ll finally feel like I’ve achieved the goals in my life I need to.