I may have inadvertently told you that my first trip outside of the U.S. was back in 1971. I took a $99 charter flight to London from Oakland, with a refueling stop in Bangor, Maine.
Well, I was wrong. When I was about ten years old, an Aunt and Uncle in LA took me to San Diego, then Tijuana, for the day. I distinctly remember going bowling with them the night before. Then, we drove down the coast, and ate our lunch on the beach somewhere in the San Diego area.
I remember very little about crossing the border, though we were in their car, not on foot, as most people do now. With out any form of identification for me, it was far different than today’s border crossing, in either direction.
The highlight for me, as a ten year old, was buying firecrackers. I bought the largest package of firecrackers I could find. I was quite happy, and could not wait to take them back home.
We had to hide the firecrackers under the seat or in the trunk, as I recall. When crossing back into the U.S., the border agents asked us where we were born, and what we were doing in Mexico. I think we bought a Mexican blanket. I sat quietly in the back seat!
Without fanfare, but great relief, we were soon headed back to Los Angeles, with our firecrackers in tow. Upon reaching their home, my Uncle gave me another large package of firecrackers he had purchased without my knowledge. Double bonus!
Needless to say, the world has changed, not for the better. The border is now a fortress. The political parties are lined up on both sides of the fence. It is easier to get into Canada, England, or Japan now.
Little did I know that this would be the first of dozens of trips outside of the U.S. I guess we all remember our first, whether girlfriend, or driver’s test. It was rather uneventful.
My most difficult border crossing or immigration entry was Medellin, Colombia, with my travel buddy, Mike, and our Cape Town friend, Barry the V. I got through quickly, but it must have been 45 minutes before they made it through. Mike said his chip on his passport was not readable. As for Barry, who knows? What was a Latvian Jew from Cape Town doing in the former drug infested capital of the world? Perhaps he looked like Pablo Escobar?
I have friends who made the same trek from San Diego across the border to Tijuana as children, without a passport. I have another who went from Malaysia to Singapore without a passport in her youth.
Though my point was to make a correction, I can see now the point is: the world has changed!!! Only you can determine if it is better or not.
Tell me your first international trip, was it Canada or Mexico, or ??