My first trip aboard

My first trip aboard was to France for my high school french class in 1994. This was only my second time on an airplane after my first trip in 1988 to visit my godmother in Memphis.

I was sixteen, going on my first trip abroad, basically unsupervised for three weeks to immerse myself in the french culture. And I can say I did quite successfully do just that. But first I had a lot to learn.

Three weeks is a long time for a teenage girls in the early 90s who needs a lot of stuff for a trip like this. How many cans of aerosol hairspray will I need? Not knowing for sure I needed to cover my bases and I arrived at the airport with my two full suitcases to take with me! After I saw everyone else with their one suitcase I did a mad repack right there on the airport floor and got it down to one suitcase that barely shut. I was ready allons-y! Bon voyage.

Paris is everything you want it to be and more. From the pastries to the wine (yes, we did try it while we were there) to the shopping to the Champs-Elysees – the song still comes to my mind when I say Champs-Elysees.

Au champs élysées. Au champs élysées.
Au soleil ou sous la pluis, a midi ou a minuit.
Il y a tout ce que vous voulez au champs élysées.

I think learning a foreign language in high school is important for all students as it teaches you about another culture and history and view point than that of the States. I stayed with a french family during my time there in the village of Vertou outside of Nantes. My host sister Cecile didn’t really speak English and I didn’t really speak French but we made it work. And then she came to visit me two years later. We’ve lost touch over the years but I do a google search every now and then and see if I can find her.

A person can definitely find themselves when abroad, not that I found myself at the age of 16 but that I knew from that point forward that travel would be in my blood and I’d have to seek out more adventures.

This blog is for me to tell my stories of my travels through the people, the food and the wildlife of culture.  I hope you enjoyed the story of my first trip aboard.


Nicole LaBarge is a travel expert who has been traveling internationally for over 25 years and she has visited over 115 countries all while working a 9-5. She has lived in England, Scotland, Japan and New Zealand. Check out her detailed destination guides and travel product guides.

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