Last year I went on holiday to Tenerife and funnily enough it was travelling here that inspired me to learn a language. We did the stereotypical tourist thing of going on a coach trip. It was to the volcano on the island called Mount Teide, and was a very interesting day.
I was particularly impressed by the tour guide. He could speak english, french, german and italian which is incredible really, I do admire a polyglot. He was rattling off the facts about the mountain in all of these languages like nobodies business; and it made me think if he can speak four languages then surely I can manage to learn one.
I decided I'd like to learn french, as I find the language and culture interesting - it just took my fancy really. Funny that a trip to a spanish island inspired me to speak french but there you go, sorry Spain! I've been learning for a year, and it has been a really fun hobby that I enjoy. I'm nowhere near fluent yet but I'm not giving up.
I do amuse myself though, there's a certain amount of irony to learning a language when you are afraid of talking to people (hello social anxiety) but that just adds to the challenge. If nothing else I have really enjoyed absorbing a bit of the culture, watching french films and tv and listening to french music. I would love to be able to get to the point of being able to read a novel.
Something that surprised me when I started learning was that I know nothing about grammar! It's not something you might immediately think of, but learning a new language helps you to understand your own better. It's also good for the old brain box, with studies showing that it helps to improve memory, multi-tasking and decision making skills.
I would definitely encourage other people to learn a language, it's such a useful skill to have. I recommend checking out https://www.duolingo.com/ it's an amazing free resource with a selection of different languages to learn, you can access it online or as an app.
I'm thinking a trip to Paris is on the cards, I'll try and be brave and speak to a few locals!