How did it change you?

4 Feb 2009 redleader asked

This is not an actual reunion posting but I'm posting it here because there are so many contiki alum here from years past, some further in the past than others. The fact that many of you are posting reunion notices from as far back as the early 80's says a lot about the contiki experience. I'd like to hear from you on how contiki changed you and how your ideas of travel and life have been molded by that first time you saw europe. How surreal and euphoric it felt to escape into that wonderland of like-minded youth and leave home for the first time.

I went on my first Contiki trip back in 2007 and by then I was already into my 30's. And although I'd already done some traveling byt then, I wish I had done it sooner. It changed me by showing me how fun and beautiful the world is and how, as cliche as it may sound, we are only young once.

What did it do for you?
  • 7 Mar 2009 redleader said


    Hi Benji,

    Thanks for sharing. It sounds like Contiki had an impact on you as well. And like you I’m thinking the same sad thing…that soon (very soon for me, ha ha!) we won’t be able to go on them anymore.

  • 16 Mar 2009 vicstar said


    I took my first Contiki trip solo over the new year following a really bad year for me personally and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done! I had the best time ever and learnt so much about myself, I’m more tolerant of other people than I thought, for example, and it’s helped with my confidence so much as well. I’ve made some fantastic friends who I’m still in touch with now. It made me realise that I’m so much more independent than I thought I was and if I can go away on my own with 50 strangers and have a blast, then I can do anything! I was the only Brit on my tour, which I found daunting at first as everyone else had something in common with someone else straight away being from the same country, but in a way it helped me even more and I mixed with so many nationalities and I hope it rubbished the stereotype that us Brits don’t like to mix with others and keep ourselves to ourselves because it’s certainly not true!!
    I can’t recommend Contiki enough, as soon as I came back I booked up for next Jan and am so looking forward to it and am hoping to get one in sometime this year too!


  • 23 Mar 2009 redleader said


    vicstar, thanks for sharing. I enjoy hearing about other peoples’ experiences.

    Experiences such as these make it so hard to return to a normal life of work.

  • 13 Jun 2009 LorneB said

    Originally posted by benji:
    For me, it made me care less about my job. Sounds bad….When I went on the tour (last year) I was 33 years old, and I’m married.

    What I mean though is that I have a different perspective on what’s important. I was pretty career driven and now, my title and getting a promotion isn’t as important. As long as my bills are paid and I’m happy, what does anything else matter?

    That feeling hasn’t really faded since the tour ended, and I’m happier now and less stressed.

    I also want to travel the world some more (though soon I won’t be able to go with Contiki!)

    And I’ve also made some life long friends…I am SO glad I went on this trip!

    I feel the same way. Very well said benji. Wink<!--graemlin:;)-->

  • 22 Jul 2009 Explorer1144117 said


    I was only 19 when I went on a 12 week European tour in 1978. It totally redirected my life. It was the first time I had been away from home and I did a lot of soul searching. Getting along with 47 people for three months (especially while camping) was a challenge in itself. I came home a different person. I think every young person should travel in order to become further educated and to really learn who they are and what they want in life.

  • 29 Jul 2009 redleader said

    Originally posted by Explorer1144117:
    I was only 19 when I went on a 12 week European tour in 1978. It totally redirected my life. It was the first time I had been away from home and I did a lot of soul searching. Getting along with 47 people for three months (especially while camping) was a challenge in itself. I came home a different person. I think every young person should travel in order to become further educated and to really learn who they are and what they want in life.

    I envy you Explorer. I never had the chance to do that at 19, well, I simply hadn’t developed any interest in travel at that age. I have the desire and freedom to do so now and have been travelling regularly for the past handful of years, but it’s not the same. Doing it while your young, at large in the world, I can only imagine what that must have been like. An experience like that stays with you forever.

  • 1 Aug 2009 Cupidd. said


    Wow just reading these stories makes me want to pack up, take that University money, and hit Europe ASAP. I’m so happy that I have this forum to keep me connected to those who are living the dream, and traveling the world. And dang, this thread is making me happy to be so young (18) and now I’m anxious to get traveling! I’m hoping to disprove the saying “Youth is wasted on the young” :P

    Thanks for posting these stories and please, keep them coming!

  • 9 Feb 2010 FromOutoftheRain said


    My first tour with Contiki was when I was 18, I’d toured Europe as a kid with my family and after my big sister said she was going on a tour I wanted to go to.

    To be honest I didn’t have the greatest experience with the people I was on the tour with (I was the youngest by about 3 years and I am not a party girl, get drunk kind of person and that is who I traveled with). However the experience of visiting all those different countries is something I will never forget and it has actually made me feel more trapped in Canada then I ever did before and going on the tour made me miss living in England and having the whole of Europe at my fingertips.

    I am planning on going on another tour mostly to get away from my crappy job if only for a week and so that I can explore Scotland more than I have been able to do in the past.

  • 24 Feb 2010 love2travel1987 said


    the one thing that changed me was seeing how other’s live. Especially in places like Albania where we travelled through and spent a night in, boy does it make you thankful for what you have! People were really poor but were some of the happiest people I found on the trip.

    Also, you take for granted just how lucky we have it over here. Another aspect was the manners. i have never been so exposed to how rude and pushy some Europeans are (making a generalisation I know but i did find many were)

  • 31 Jul 2010 Explorer1119838 said


    i’ve just done my first contiki tour and loved it! i loved the contiki experience! i did the contiki ireland tour in early july 2010 and it was fantastic. i am half irish, through my mum, and when i was in ireland before i was staying with family in the one county for the whole holiday. doing the tour on ireland made me see and do more of what is out there in ireland! i loved every part of the tour! i got to see more of where i come from and to experience it all through contiki was just awesome! saw and did so much in the week we had! it has made me love ireland even more!

  • 10 Apr 2012 LeighC said


    I did a Contiki European camping tour in 1996. I loved it, and constantly wonder about some of the people on that trip – what happened to them, where are they now. Two, in particular, I wish I’d stayed in touch with (Lucy or James, if you’re reading this, that’s you!). But I was living in London at the time, and doing more travelling after the tour, so had no fixed address.
    I was also not a real party girl, and got so irritated with all the drunken louts in the campsite (and on our bus), but I realised that I was actually SO uptight then! So I guess what changed, was I learned to relax a bit more – go with the flow – not stress the small stuff. I also learned to exist on 4 hours’ sleep a night!
    I got the travel bug on that trip, and haven’t stopped travelling. I now live in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and am able to do loads more travelling than when I lived in South Africa.
    Funny – I took my diary of my Contiki trip out the other day, and I read there how much I loved Amsterdam, and was really nicely surprised by it, back in 1996. And here I am now…

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