Traveling as a kid

Do you remember how it was to travel when you were a kid?
How excited you were when your parents announced an upcoming vacation and woke you up in the middle of the night to leave?

I remember it as it was yesterday and sometimes I wish I could still experience this amazing feeling of excitment. 
I see myself packing two weeks earlier. Everytime I went to bed I looked at my half packed suitcase and tried to think of what I definetely should not forget. I couldn't wait anymore for school to end. And then when that day came, I wished my classmates a great vacation and came home excited about the trip. My parents were all over the place, checking if everything was alright with the planetickets and reservation. 
My mom was running around driving us all nuts. My dad packed the bags into the car a day earlier, so that we just had to jump into the car after the alarm would set of in the middle of night. 
I remember trying to sleep. It seemed to be impossible. I checked my watch every two seconds, to check how much time was left for leaving. As soon as I fell asleep I got woken up by my parents. Do you remember that feeling waking up at four in the morning for a trip. You felt all over the place but you were dying of excitment? 
I brushed my teeth and tryed to get rid of that weird midnight taste. I checked my handluggage at least a hundret times. Did I pack the charging cable for my Ipod Nano? Did I pack my new digitalcamera my parents brought me for my 12th Birthday? 
Even before entering the car I got into a fight with my younger sister over the seat in the car. Even before starting my parents were already in total stress. My dad run around to check if every door and window was closed. My mom run around hiding jewelery in secret places and packing snacks for us. 
Just before we left, the question- that was definetely more a demand than a querstion- if anyone needs to go to the toilet got asked. As soon as we left I turned on my music via my headphones, listening to some  boyband and looking out the window into the dark. Boy I  could not wait to enter the plane. There was nothing better. I waited the whole schoolyear for that day. 
I remember taking pictures of everything so that even before entering the plane my SD Card was full of pictures from the airport back home. I remember that I even started to write my diary before the trip really started. After fighting about the window seat with my sister just to end up grumpy and angry in the middle one. Still nothing could stop my excitment. 
As soon as I arrived at our traveldestiation I relaxed a little bit. My face was pressed against the window, overhelmed by my new sorrounding. Seriously even an astronaut landing on the moon was less excited than the 13 year old me. 
I remember that the most exciting vacation we made, were the ones we did once a year to the kanarian Islands. Were we had an all inclusive resort with animation program and an all you can eat buffet.Were I spend my days snorkeling, scuba diving and surfing and the evenings with a group of teenagers at shows and group activities. 
These ten days were the most exciting days of the whole year. I was always the girl that loved to go the animation program. I met a bunch of other teenagers and we did so many fun activities. I gained new friends so easily that I totally forgot the ones I had at home. Everything was new, easy and fun. Today I realise, that backpacking is not that of a diference, than my once a year all inclusive resort memories. The best thing about the resort was not the luxus or the all you can eat buffet and the expensive extras. The best thing, was to be in another place, far from home, with new fun people. The best thing was that you got friends so easily. That nobody cared who you are at home, but who you are on your trip. That you had fun and a blast while being abroad with strangers. That you did not had anything to worry about besides the decision if you prefer to see that musical show tonight or if you want to play werwolf with the othe kids. 
As the years were passing I grew older as well. One year I was so deep into puberty that I was not even talking to my parents the whole time. I felt like I was such a grown up who can handle everything. It was just me, trying to feel more free as I already was during the vacation. I felt like I did not even need my parents, because I had new friends with whom I did all the cool stuff. And I felt like my parents did not understand that those days were the best ones of my year. That this freedom I felt, was the best feeling ever. With them telling me to be back at the bungalow at 11pm, while all the other (cool) kids could stay up longer, I felt like they definetely did not know how important this was to me. I was angry at them, because I felt they did not want me to be happy.
Today of course I know it is stupid. I know that the time to be that free was going to come. Just not when you are a 14 year old girl in a family resort. Every year I was excited for that trip. I remember the year I had my first flirt with that cool three year older guy. I was totally in love and spend my afternoons at the beach with him. Of course you do not do anything wild with 14 besides holding hands. Well at least I did not do anything wilder than that. 
I remember how cool it was to come back home and show my friends the (now totally ugly) pictures of us together (Boy kids in puberty definetely do not look any kind of handsome). Anyways six years of Resort Vacation passed by. And then one year my parents decided that  there wont be another Resort Vacation. I was heartbroken. Even with seventeen, in the middle of my Highschool finals I felt like something was not right. I was sad, because I thought I could never experience something like I did during our vacations. (I sure did not know backpacking exsits back then). 
So the year we did not leave on the trip my best friend and I decided to leave on a vacation. We were both 18. Finished Highschool and ready to leave. This was a totally diferent feeling of excitment. We had been on language learning trips or long weekend vacations together, but travelling on our own in a new country was hell of an excitment. 
My dad made sure we just booked female dorms on our trip. We had definetely planned everything to the detail. It was our first trip, we had absolutely no clue about backpacking. I remember buying my red Jack Wolfskin backpack. And I think that day, my life changed. With that backpack I became the person that is always on the run, always somewhere else. 
Our first backpacking trip went by without any problems. Due to my perfect organisation where I even had written down the timetable of the metro of every city and the direction to the hostel from the station. I think this is my dads fault. He is always so organisated that I tried to do it as he did. 
That backpacking trip got me back into the feeling of the resort vacation. We met a lot of new people, we were free. We did not have to worry about anything. We made new international friends and had fun long nights in pubs. We went sightseeing during the days and spend evenings at the beach with some beer. This was happiness. This was the freedom I loved and so I found a new way to get that feeling back. 
As soon as I moved to the states I was totally on my own. I lived in a hostfamily and worked there but besides that I was a grown up now. It still did not feel like it used to. Just because I was living somewhere else it did not mean I was living the freedom. I had a great time abroad, but as soon as i came back home, I could not wait to plan the next real backpacking trip with my best friend. Since the year abroad in the USA I did so many backpacking trips all over Europe and Asia. I do not get the same exciting feeling as I used to as a kid. But I feel the same freedom when abroad. I am as happy as I was before. I feel like I got my resort vacation back. Diferently. I think it was the fault of my parents that I am now who I am. They might not knew if before. But in the end, well yes, they cannot complain, because they made me the person who I am now. Traveling for freedom. Traveling to feel the pure form of happiness. And if meeting new people, exploring countries and cultures is what makes me happy, well than thank you Mom and Dad for doing all those trips with me. 



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