There was a storm blowing as I walked along the cliffs, and down below I noticed a rowing boat being thrown about by the huge waves. I took out my phone to call the rescue services, or the police, but there was no signal. If the boat had hit the rocks it would have been smashed to pieces, so I ran along the cliff top until I came to a small bay. I ran back and shouted to the crew to row towards it as hard as they could, and eventually they managed it . There the waves pushed their boat into the bay, where they were able to take shelter.
It was my first night out in that city, and when I saw the last bus home disappearing round the corner I knew I had a problem. It was cold and I couldn’t afford a taxi, but I didn’t want to bother my host family by asking them to pick me up so I set off on foot, telling myself it’d only take me an hour or so. Four hours later I was still walking. I was soaked through and my hands were frozen. When I eventually reached the house the family said how worried they’d been, and asked why I hadn’t phoned. By then I wished I had .
I realised straight away I’d been overcharged, but it was only by a small amount and my first thought was to forget about it as I was in a hurry. Then I noticed the assistant glance at me and somehow I knew it had been deliberate . I gently pointed out the error, but he became quite aggressive. Not wanting to get into a row about it, I asked to speak to the manager, and when she came over I explained that I hadn’t been given the correct change. The assistant angrily denied this, but the manager pointed to a security camera right above us. He immediately gave me my money.
Carlos, Alfonso and I had been camping in the mountains, and it was time to leave. Just then a dense mist descended and soon we realised we were completely lost. I was in favour of keeping going along the path, while Carlos suggested heading downhill. Alfonso, though, wanted to phone Mountain Rescue for help. The two of them had just started arguing when a shepherd appeared. I asked him which way we should go and he said we’d taken a wrong turning at the bridge, so we headed back the way we’d come , turned left by the river instead of right, and within twenty minutes we’d reached the village.
I was doing a cross-country run when suddenly I tripped and fell, feeling a sharp pain in my ankle. As I lay there I wondered whether I’d be able to stand on it, maybe even carry on running, but I remembered what I’d been taught as a nurse so I kept it still, checking to see if it was broken . It didn’t seem to be so I decided against calling an ambulance, but I didn’t want to take any chances so I phoned my sister. She immediately offered to come and collect me, and within fifteen minutes she was able to help me to the car and take me home.
Interviewer: Could you tell us, Amy, about the first time you travelled abroad, and why?
Amy: I was just eighteen, and back in those days I had no confidence in my ability to travel on my own and pick up other languages, much less actually live and work abroad as I do now. So when Carla and Nicky asked if I’d be interested in joining them for a few weeks somewhere sunny, I immediately said ‘yes’  and we chose a holiday on the Spanish island of Ibiza.
Interviewer: Why Ibiza in particular?
Amy: I love seeing new places, and as it was somewhere neither Carla nor I had ever visited before, Nicky agreed she’d like to go back there even though it’d cost a bit more than going to a Greek or Turkish island, say. I suppose what appealed to us was that it offered such a wide range of activities , including of course its famous nightlife. So we found a reasonably-priced package holiday for three, booked it, and on the first of July I headed for the airport.
Interviewer: How did you feel as your journey began?
Amy: To be honest it didn’t start terribly well. I was too late for the airport bus and ended up taking a taxi so as not to miss my flight, only to find at the terminal that it’d been delayed for
two hours. So I spent the morning shopping there, until I suddenly noticed my wallet was half empty, and I hadn’t even left the country yet . Feeling a bit angry with myself, I decided to get something to eat, but the high prices put me off and I wished I’d brought some sandwiches, as the other two had.
Interviewer: And how did you get on?
Amy: Quite well at first, but then there were a couple of disagreements, including one between the other two about who should go out for bread. I don’t eat it much so I wasn’t really bothered, nor was I particularly concerned about Carla’s habit of accidentally locking herself out of the flat, but I did get irritated when I kept seeing used cups , saucers and plates lying around next to the sofa or armchair where she’d been sitting . It’s not something anyone in my family would have done.
Interviewer: Were you missing them?
Amy: Yes, I didn’t want to admit it but I was.
Interviewer: So did you stay in touch with them while you were away?
Amy: Well, before I left, my parents had asked me to phone them while I was away and I’d said I definitely would, but whenever I felt like doing so somehow I couldn’t. I wanted to be able to tell them what a great time I was having, but as soon as they heard my voice they’d know I wasn’t . I felt guilty because they’d topped up my phone for me, so there was no way I could use lack of credit as an excuse.
Interviewer: Did things improve later in the holiday, or did you wish you’d organised things differently?
Amy: A bit of both, really. We decided we’d each make lunch every third day, and that worked pretty well, I found. I was also glad I didn’t have to buy much while I was away because I already had most of the things I needed in my suitcase. I did feel, though, that a fortnight would’ve been enough, and I could have done without the third week there . Still. I was the one who’d actually made the reservation so I couldn’t complain.
Interviewer: How did you feel about it all on your return home?
Amy: I had mixed feelings, really. I knew I’d made mistake but I also felt sure I’d been taught some important lessons which would benefit me the next time I went away . And that gave me the confidence to try again, perhaps with different friends or – more likely – on my own. Because somehow I knew that one day, once I’d graduated in a few years time, I’d return to Spain and get a job there. Which is exactly what I ended up doing.
Interviewer: Thank you, Amy.