Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Year I Turned 18 - Cally Jackson's blogfest

Firstly, HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone!! Now down to business!

"The Big Smoke"
by Cally Jackson
Between October 29th and November 2nd Cally Jackson is hosting the "The Year I turned 18" blogfest. There's a $20 Amazon gift card as a prize, so you may want to sneak in an entry of your own! There is also a coupon for all entries to download Cally Jackson's new adult novel THE BIG SMOKE for the bargain price of $0.99. Totally cool! Click on the link up there for more info on the requirements of participation!

1998: the year of travel and couch potato-ing.
This is such a fun idea for a blogfest, and I'm excited to share with you what I did during the year I turned 18. That year was 1998, and I was fresh outta high school. Most of my classmates were either getting jobs or starting their first year of university. But while I had my acceptance letters from various universities, and had chosen one to call home, I'd also decided to defer my studies for all of 1998. For me, 1998 was to be the year of the post-high school comedown, a chance to gather some reserves in preparation for "real life", and...a chance to travel!

My Dad and I had been planning an 8-stop trip around the world for a while. For Dad, it was a driving-themed journey - as a driving instructor and what I'd venture to call a "road scientist", he wanted to prove that age didn't matter, and that 17-year-olds could drive around the world just like adults. His plan was to have me drive in New York City, on the German autobahn, around the Arc d'Triomphe and through London's Hyde Park Corner, etc.. My plan, meanwhile, was just to see a whole heap of the world in one go and have a serious adventure.

17-year-old me in Switzerland, 1998.
We left home on February 2nd, 1998, and drove across Australia. Next we moved onto the North Island of New Zealand. From Auckland we flew to Los Angeles, and from there crisscrossed the U.S.A. and had all sorts of adventures (see parts 1 & 2 of this commentary). Flying back out of Los Angeles we headed for England, then onto France, Luxbembourg (I think), Germany, Switzerland, and Italy (with some repeats).

The journey was meant to last a total of 6 or so months, and for Dad it did, but after a "slight" emotional breakdown in Europe I decided to cut my journey short. I do partly regret this, but then, I really was homesick and bone-weary, and I felt much happier knowing I was heading back home. I missed my Mummy. :)

Dad and I in Paris, 1998.
In hindsight I can say that this was the most amazing journey I've ever been on. Sure, I did a 15-stop world trip on my own a few years later, which was truly incredible, but this 1998 trip was a special journey - I travelled with my Dad, saw some truly phenomenal sights, and drove all over the world at just 17.

I did actually turn 18 during this year, in case you're wondering, but by that point I was at home again and participating with great success in the Couch Potato Olympics. I knew after all that as of 1999 I'd be studying again, so this was my last chance to really vegetate. For me, 1998 was an awesome year.

Me in Switzerland, 1998 (yes, I've always been a face puller).


  1. What a cool thing to do at such a young age. I really wish I had done something like that becasue now that I have three kids there's no way I can get away for long. Fun post :)

  2. Now how is anyone going to top that? You have set the bar too high! I know my 18th year would look pitiful... Cheers my friend!

  3. So cool! That sounds like a fabulous way to celebrate that transition between high school and college. And what memories to always have of your time with your Dad. :)

  4. Wow, that was still a lot of traveling. That was a great gift from your Dad.


  5. What a memorable age! Where was I in 1998? Umm...I had just started high school. No joke. Wow, does that make me feel old. :)

  6. Whoa! That is a seriously cool way to spend your 18th year on the planet!

  7. Thanks for taking part in my blogfest, Trisha! That sounds like an absolutely amazing trip. I don't know how I'd go in a car with my dad for such a long period of time - I think we'd kill each other! Don't get me wrong, we love each other very much, but we're both a little too argumentative and stubborn, so time apart is a must!

    I noticed you haven't entered your link into the rafflecopter yet, which is how you go in the draw for the $20 Amazon voucher. Make sure you do that before the end of Friday! :-)

  8. Awesome that you got to visit so many places! That must have been an exciting trip.

  9. Wow, what a phenomenal experience! I'd planned on taking a year off before college and traveling, as well, but got married instead (which I don't regret). I'd still like to get that travel in. Those photos are so awesome! And what a great experience to share with your dad.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  10. Trish that's amazing. What a super cool dad to do that for you. That's a way better experience than college. I went to college a few years then I dropped out, got a job with an airline and been traveling ever since. Love it.

    Next year for my 40th I wanna do a circle the globe trip with first stop NZ and AU! Haven't been there yet.

  11. What a FUN trip! I've been to visit my college roommate in NZ but haven't made it to Australia yet. On my bucket list!

  12. What a great way to turn 18. On the road. Your story made me itchy to travel some more.

  13. Wow, what a great thing to do! I travelled a lot after school, but they were short stints. It wasn't until I was 23 that I took a 5 month trip. Best thing I ever did!!

  14. What a fun and special adventure! And how brave, to drive through these brand new to you places! I got all envious when I saw the Swiss pic - beautiful!
    Mina's Resurrection Blogfest!


Thanks for your words, me hearties! and don't forget to leave a link to your blog somewhere I can find it!