Do you have a first-time traveler story that you tell your friends over and over again? What crazy, silly, outrageous thing has happened to you on your first travels? We've collected a few first-time traveler stories from Contiki staff and share them below!
THE MAN VS. PIGEON STORY. GAME…PIGEON!
It was a perfect afternoon in the floating city of Venice. After an amazing gondola ride with my new friends we were starving to try some local food. I was angling the perfect Instagram shot (with my new selfie stick…don’t judge) of my fresh slice of margarita pizza. Right when I was about to snap my “like” worthy photo, a very rude pigeon snatched my food and almost broke my totally-not-obnoxious selfie stick! I guess the crackdown on feeding pigeons have left them fending for themselves. They are aggressive!! I watched another one fly in and snatch a lady’s burger as she was walking- she ran screaming. I might have a photo of that as well.
A TRUE BROMANCE STORY
After graduating from high school, I decided to book a congratulatory trip to Europe. When I arrived, I found out that I was only one of four other guys out of 50 people total. I liked the male to female ratio until I realized I had to room with the other three guys. One night during my trip, we arrived at a hotel that had a room for the guys containing only one king-sized bed and two twins. So, we rock-paper-scissored for who would get the two twin beds. I WON but by the end of the night my bunkmate and I felt bad and ended up pushing all the beds together to create one massive man bed! From that moment forward we were all caught in a rad #bromance. #NOREGRETS.
A STORY OF SONGS
Hidden away in the city of Florence is a super rad bar called The Red Garter. The establishment features two floors and in the dead center is a large stage offering patrons the chance to belt out songs all night long – that’s right folks, karaoke style. Well sign me up!
I was traveling with a group of Aussies and Brits who saw me browsing the karaoke song selection (no shame in my game) and pulled me up on stage to sing with them. I happily bounced around the stage with them to a song by S Club 7, a band that I knew nothing about – so I just mouthed fake words. As I was leaving the stage, they pulled me back up to belt out Oasis’s “Don’t Look Back in Anger” while onlookers gave us puzzled looks. Finally, the cherry on top of the song-filled evening culminated in my epic performance of Sir Mix-a-lots “Baby Got Back”. A memorable and epic night surrounded by new friends in the stunning city of Florence.
THE “GLAD-IT-WASN’T-ME STORY”
My first time in Europe, my college roommate and I traveled to London and stayed in a hostel. We shared a dorm room with 2 other travelers, and I had one of the top bunks. When I was climbing down the ladder one morning, my foot slipped. I caught myself hanging from the top bunk, and I came about 1cm away from kicking a total stranger in the face while he was sleeping. That woke me up.
THE MONKEY BUSINESS STORY
The first big trip that got me hooked on travel was actually to Costa Rica and not Europe….but it inspired many trips to Europe including Greece, London, and Ireland. My best friend’s parents owned a nice, but rustic, house on a beautiful (but mostly uninhabited) Costa Rica beach. They hadn’t yet finished their indoor plumbing so all bathroom needs were accomplished outside, including the shower. The Costa Rican monkeys loved to play in the shower water and most days I ended up showering naked with monkeys in a beautiful rainforest of Costa Rica. It was unreal! I hope they enjoyed the free show! #ImNotShy
THE INSPIRATIONAL STORY
My first trip to Europe was on the European Contrasts – a 30 day high energy trip. It was the most amazing experience of my life. The people you meet on these trips become lifelong friends. And allowed my travel buddy and I to become even closer than before. On the very first day everyone was encouraged to say hello to the people sitting around them. I got up turned around and said hello to a couple of kiwis. One of which has become more like a sister. Because of her support, I moved to NZ and worked for Contiki for a year. Her family let me stay with them until I found my own place and I celebrated a few holidays with them as well. Another couple on the trip became a couple on about day 4 at the Chateau de Cruix! As the story goes, they fell in love and 3 yeats later, I attended their wedding! The number of amazing and silly stories from that trip could fill a book. It was that trip that made me fall in love with Contiki and start working for them – at 8 years later, my Contiki story continues… next month’s chapter includes Egypt!