A week of firsts, by Theresa Cole

Life is full of firsts. First kiss, first car, first dance…but most people are done experiencing their firsts by the time they settle into their life with their spouse, kids, and career. Unless you’re me. Or you’re one of the tiny percentage of people like me.

My entire life thus far has been contained in the small bubble that is small town northern Michigan. The population of the town I grew up in, Petoskey, Michigan, was less than twenty thousand people by the time I moved away from home. By “away from home”, I mean out of my parents’ house. Because my move was to a town only twenty minutes from Petoskey and even smaller.

When I settled into my life with my husband, we set up camp in a town that was centralized between our families. And was even smaller than the town I was in before. LOL Cheboygan, Michigan, has a population of approximately four thousand people.

Living your entire life in a town too small to show up on a map really limits the amount of experiences a person can have. I’ve never been to a live concert, or seen a skyscraper, or even eaten sushi. And up until a couple of months ago, I had only been out of the state of Michigan once.

So when the opportunity arose for me to go on the Entangled Corporate retreat, my husband insisted I go. I was absolutely terrified to travel alone, but I did it! And once everyone found out that I had lived such a secluded life, it became something of a game to see who could find more “firsts” for me to try. LOL

Here’s just some of the things I got to experience for the first time:

  • Traveling alone! Getting from northern Michigan to Houston, Texas by myself was terrifying, but doing it was empowering!
  • Turbulence on the plane. Not fun. But I’m sure it won’t bother me as much if it happens again.
  • First time in Texas!
  • I saw the ocean for the first time! And I will forever want to go back!
  • The cruise itself! I *highly* recommend cruising. J
  • The spa on the cruise ship was the first spa I had ever been to. (The thalassotheraphy pool was AWESOME)

  • First time sleeping on a boat (and would totally let the waves rock me to sleep every night if I could!)
  • I went to Montego Bay, Jamaica! My first time out of the country!
  • We visited a sugar plantation while in Jamaica. It was the first plantation of any kind that I had ever seen. And it was haunted! J

  • FOOD. Oh my gosh! I had so many firsts with food while on the trip! (I’m sure some of these will shock you. LOL) Eggplant parmigiana


  1. Baked Alaska , Mango Sorbet, French Onion soup


  • Grand Marnier soufflé

  • cherries jubilee

  • warm chocolate melting cake! (If someone can get me a recipe for this stuff, I will love you foreverrrrr!



  • Mongolian Wok! YUM
  • I went to Cozumel, Mexico!
  • Authentic Mexican tacos! IN MEXICO
  • Guacamole IN MEXICO (so good!)
  • My first margarita! IN MEXICO (So strong! LOL)
  • My first martini! (Blue Moon, in case you were curious)
  • And I SWAM IN THE OCEAN! I swam IN THE OCEAN. *sigh* And I’m in love. J

Thanks to the phenomenal group of people that is Entangled, I will treasure this trip and these memories for the rest of my life. Not only did I have a fabulous time with wonderful people, but I also experienced more “firsts” in those seven days than I had in the twenty previous years, and for that, I will be eternally grateful.


~Theresa Cole, Managing Editor, Ignite; Associate Editor


About Author

35 Replies on A week of firsts, by Theresa Cole

    • Thanks Gwen! I loved getting to know everyone and hanging out with you in Mexico was fabulous! Definitely made great friends while experiencing all of those “firsts” 🙂

    • Yes, and yes, Brittany! The house was extremely creepy but so fascinating and the food was amazing!

    • There’s nothing better than sleeping on a boat, Valerie! I came home and started dreaming of buying a houseboat 😉

  • What a way to knock out a bunch of firsts, go you! I actually worked for Norwegian Cruise Line America on their Hawaiian cruise for 1.5 contracts. I loved sleeping on the ship as well but I wasn’t prepared for all the behind the scenes drama at all. My first experience with cruising had been as a passenger and everything was perfect. As an employee of NCLA, not so much, but it was the experience of a lifetime and unforgettable. 🙂

    • Ohhh…I can only imagine, Livia. So glad I only experienced the “perfect” side! We spoke with some of the employees and though they seemed happy, they missed their families. I wouldn’t be able to stay gone that long.

  • What a great post! So nice to get to know more about you. I love your pics…I’m hungry now! LOL.
    I hope you treat yourself to another beach vacation soon.

  • Ah, Theresa, I love that you got to experience so many firsts on your cruise! I grew up on a small island (less than 3k people), so I know how scary it can be to venture outside your comfort zone and into the world…especially on your own! But what fantastic memories you’ll have to hang onto. 🙂

    • Thanks Alison! I was freaking terrified about getting from home to Texas by myself. Thankfully, I had wonderful people to give me a hand along the way, and once I got to Texas, my favorite Entangled peeps picked me up from the airport and got me to the boat. It was definitely an experience I will never forget and I’m a much stronger person because of it! 🙂

  • How fabulous, Theresa! I’m familiar with the places you’ve lived. I grew up in Suttons Bay, Michigan, but we moved to Ohio when I was ten. I remember all of my firsts when we moved, though there is a part of me that misses the small community and isolation. It was a fabulous place to be a kid. Kudos to your for being brave enough to step out of your comfort zone and having such a great experience!

    • It really is, Ally! That’s the biggest reason we’re still here. The youngest is going into 10th grade and we want all of our boys to be able to graduate here. I do love the safety of small town living, but boy…northern Michigan winters are getting really old. LOL

  • I know exactly how it feels to grow up in a small town and have so many things be a first for me where others have experienced it many times. Many of the things that were a first for you are still on my firsts list to accomplish… someday I’ll get there. That would be very liberating traveling by yourself and now you’ve just inspired me to do just that.

    • That’s fabulous, Yadira! I’m proof that it’s never too late and I hope you do get to travel soon!

    • It was AMAZING, Lisa! And I can’t tell you how many times I thought about your Night Walkers while in Mexico that day. LOL We took a pic just for you, too! Let me know if you haven’t seen it yet and I’ll have KL send it to you. I lost it when my phone bit the dust. 🙁

  • I so enjoyed this. As someone who is about to embark on some new “firsts” herself, I lurv stories of new adventures. Here’s to more exciting firsts!!! (and, um, I’d like an order of that chocolate cake thingie, ya know, in case someone wants to come to Colorado to deliver it and all…)


  • Wow… what an amazing experience, thank you for sharing 🙂

    Despite growing up on the edge of a HUGE city, the first time I left the country was on a business trip to the USA. I have so many happy memories of that short trip, and I will treasure them forever, as I’m sure you will for yours 🙂

  • Sounds like you had a wonderful time, Theresa! Thanks for sharing your story of “firsts.” Great photos, too!

    I hope you’ve been bitten by the travel bug 🙂 I didn’t start traveling until I met my wandering husband. We’ve been fortunate to be able to travel many places. It’s always an adventure! I love exploring new places (and food!) but I’m always happy to return home, too.

    Hope you keep wandering, especially to more beaches!

  • Wow, thanks for sharing your experience!
    The food in those pictures made me hungry haha
    I’ve never been on a cruise, isn’t it scary?

  • How lovely! What an amazing experience/adventure!!! Thank you for sharing. I second the plane turbulence thing, but it totally gets easier (especially when you grab a Bloody Mary prior to take off if you’re so inclined ;).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.