So with the taste of travel in my mouth and having spent 6 weeks in Austria when I was 18 - I headed of to do the only sensible thing after uni, and that was backpacking around Europe just after I turned 21.
I started in a little town called Frodsham near Chester in England. I had travelled the long road to get there - well, and the cheapest - after a weekend partying with friends (remember this was before Facebook and mobiles so I would not have contact for some time) I flew Melbourne to Bali, where I had an interesting night drinking with some guys from Western Australia. The a hours flight to Jakarta where I had 8 hours in the airport.
Then 18 or so hours to London where I had 5 hours until my train to Liverpool which took a few more hours and I had a 10 year old boy sitting next to me reading Lord of the Flies and telling me about it to. hen finally I got off at Runcorn Station where my Penfriend Helen met me with her little mini and whisked me off for about another 10 days of sight seeing and drinking.
Needless to say while I had a ball, kissed some of Helen's friends, I was happy to get to another friend in Scotland where I spent a week sleeping before embarking on the rest of my adventure - over the next months I would see parts of Wales where my grandfather was from and arrive on relatives door steps. I got to see London, meet up with friends in Le Harve, France (again this was organised 6 months before and we just all knew we would be there), see Paris, visit family in Austria (I went back for Christmas after this) go to the High Tatras (some mountains) and Prague, then Venice, Cordoba and finally Morocco.
I think back now and so glad that my parents didn't know things that we were doing because of social media. So on our Journey from Cordoba to Algeciras in Spain we managed to meet about 8 other people that would join us in Morocco - a brother and sister travelling together and also some Canadians, up until then I didn't know they spoke French in Canada.
We arrived at the Port of Tangier and I felt like I was in a movie set from start to finish - and it was the first time I had ever come across a Hustler. We were easy pray with out packs and whiteness. On the train (which would stop mysteriously in the middle of nowhere for long periods of time) they hassled us and I think form memory one tried to kiss all of us girls periodically throughout the trip. Some of those in the group who felt they were in charge found a good one who took us o a hotel in the back of a ute when we got to Fez. A hotel with cockroaches and bed bugs, he came early the next day and took us to another before taking us to the Medina which was fascinating, lane ways like a maze that you would be lost for days without a guide. That night we were at a Youth Hostel and this is where the kiss story starts to unfold. Me being me talked to the people that were there, I was friendly and approachable and we all agreed to go with a hostel guide the next day.
So I was a little sick of my friends from home and wanted to be with my new friends Bobbi Jo and Lori Ann. So I went in the group they were in and then the guides that we had for our 2 groups swapped and the young guy who had been talking to me the day before was with us.
We went to the Medina and ended up in a carpet shop where this guide thought that if he seduced me I would buy carpets from him. Um no! - first I was a poor back packer and second well just no! Now I would have punched him.
So I ended up in a rug display room, the others were taken to another shop and I was kissed and shown carpets - on reflection it was an assault but I was young and trying to work out how not to end up in a Harem when about 45 minutes later the buys in our group came back for me.
I was very relieved to see them and the guide begrudgingly took us to the edge of the Medina with no sale of carpets and we were left to fend for ourselves. I was naive to go with that guide when he said lets go upstairs to see more carpets BUT there was no real harm done to me (luckily) and it makes a good travel story.
We then headed onto Marrakesh where I am super excited to be heading back to in September to do some research as I am running a brand new retreat there next year in October where we just might have a Harem type environment as part of it!
I then headed back to Germany and Austria for Christmas where I spent some time with my grandparents and got to know them more (remind me sometime to tell my grandfathers story) and my dreams of travel continued.