Well i suppose that my first proper trip, without family, would be South Africa in 2006. My girlfriend at the time had family there and she was going for the whole summer, so we arranged for me to go visit! what a brilliant idea, free accomodation with such a beautiful family! so i kinda rushed to book my tickets and it being the first ever plane ticket i had bought, i made a wee mistake... i booked tickets that meant i had an over night stay in Amsterdam airport and then another overnight night stay in Johannesburg airport (almost 2 days travel)! Now Amsterdams not so bad but id heard some scary shit about Johannesburg and i was absolutely bricking it getting off that first plane, waiting for my domestic flight to Durban. However, i ended up making friends with some french people in a similar situation and we stayed up all night watching our backs and playing poker. I lost all my Euros (from Amsterdam) but managed to keep my life and my belongings.
I spent three weeks with the gf and her family and seriously enjoyed every bit of it. Was a risky idea going on holiday with a reasonably new gf (having booked the tickets well in advance aswell!), and thinking back to it it couldv gone horribly wrong! but it didn't, and i got to experience South Africa as if i was part of a family that lived there. Ate a lot of great food (Spurs 500gram steak, Crocodile burger, Bunny Chow, sugar cane stolen from a field) though i missed the National Dish of Bobotie. Drank 80% alcohol "Stroh Rum" (and looked like a complete ass infront of my ex's friends after coughing my guts up having taken a shot) and had great experiences (first time i ever caught a wave body boarding at Durban North beach, went on a Safari at Hluhluwe-Umfolozi game reserve, Ushaka waterpark, shark dissection, it goes on!) and such brilliant company. Without a doubt i will be there again at some point in my life. Unfortunately probably not with the same company (as most of them have moved to England now!) but theres still plenty of time to do the things i missed out. There was a problem with photos, as can probably be noticed, all i had was a silly disposable... So that was south africa as far as i can remember... :o)