Trip of a lifetime

Empowering students through summer travel experiences

Alexandra Brooks

Alexandria Brooks
August 16, 2016

My western skies trip was very fun and an honest break from my normal life. I intend on applying next year and hopefully the year after. I had fun that I couldn't have in New York, and yes travel changes you. I had a lot of fun but I feel like it would've been even more fun if more of the kids were more open minded. I wish I were to be saying this out of some discrimination but I only found good friends other than my fellow T.O.A.L. friend and Lauren from Israel latter into the trip.

As much as Eric said there weren't cliques, there were cliques and these cliques stayed in larger cliques. Which that in of itself made it harder to assimilate, let alone make an honest conversation. And trying to join a conversation wasn't very easy, let alone introducing myself to a clique. But I don't want to focus on this as this wasn't the only part of the trip, but I didn't want it to go unaddressed.

Only at the airport and in the plane I honestly felt the anxiety of me traveling. And from even from here even the parents and other teens knew each other. But I managed to say hi to a few people. Though that was one of the few short times I spoke with them. I hung out with Genesis mostly as that was the only face I was acquainted with before.

I was excited to meet new people and become good friends. There was a large conversation amongst the girls at the airport whilst everyone ate breakfast. We got on, landed, ate once more lunch and headed to the hotel. When we got to the first hotel I thought it was lovely. That was my first time staying at a hotel and I immediately joined luggage crew, hearing the benefits. I was the only girl on it and it was beneficial. Not only did I get a seat on the "good" ride of the bus (where the outlets worked,) and a t-shirt. I too came home to my little brother feeling much lighter.

My first roommate was Casey. She was a very cool, down to earth girl. We could talk and what not; she even showed me to her mother over FaceTime. Out of all the activities that were in store for me I was most excited for any and all pool time. I am the first person to yell "I can't swim very well!" and I also am the first person in the pool. So I had a lot fun that afternoon.

We got out and got ready for dinner. We are at a B.J's restaurant where I was congratulated on my belated birthday that was literally the day before. My table devoured the brownie cakes we got. After this we went bowling and I hung out with a group of juniors; Mark, Kyle, Jack and Jordan. Some were already tired and experiencing jet lag. I managed not to get jet lag to and from New York.

The next day we went to Wet n' Wild where I ended up scratching my glasses lens. The rides were fun but the lines were lengthy and the stairs were hot under the Arizona Sun. It barely took two days for me to get a defined tan. The Pink Jeep Tours was fun. I say shotgun so I didn't find it as scary. But regardless of the incline Lauren was constantly screaming, and our driver was funny.

The next day we went to the Grand Canyon and walked some of the rim. We even saw an elk. I got separated from the group at the gift shop for a good minute. At Bryce I forgot my asthma pump. I thought I didn't need it but I was wrong. I barely made it. But the views were very beautiful. I hiked the entire Emerald pool trail. I was sworn on not going to the upper pool(which meant three miles.) After hiking in Bryce, that was enough of a workout for a good three days. But when we got to the lower pool I wanted to keep going. When I was almost at the upper pool I mysterious got service and my mother was calling me. The small group that persevered to the top were congratulated by nature itself with how nice and cool it was up there. But we couldn't stay forever, and there was no easy way down. When we were going on the trail I overheard a mother speaking with her son about how he hike 8 miles the day previous.

Las Vegas was next and it was beautiful. We ate at Planet Hollywood and went on the High Roller. At Planet Hollywood one of the girls sitting at our table said a very disrespectful remark. Now I only found out about this after the fact and I was just so hurt. Genesis, Lauren and I often would sit at our own table and Tyler, Lara and, Isabella were sitting with us. We had no issues the entire trip but Tyler felt the need to whisper to Lara "Are they that bad that no one wants to sit with them?" I never thought anyone view our little group as being "bad." Everyone had their groups and we had ours. The High Roller was so pretty and the view was scarily amazing. I have a partial fear of heights but I love it at the same time. It had stopped close to the top and some of the people were a little freaked, myself included.

At the New York New York we went on a roller coaster. I was so scared my eyes were closed most of the time and I felt like I was gonna die. The next day we spent the morning in Monte Carlo's pool, lazy river and wave pool. At the wave pool other residents were playing volleyball in the water. If you didn't hit the beach balls everyone would splash you. I saw the beach ball mid air from the lazy river and immediately went. After the game was over I went back the lazy river where I met another teen called Summer. She wasn't on the tour but she was very polite. We just started talking at random and I thought that was cool. But I wasn't just running around talking to people.

Walking through some casinos and malls I saw the beauty of Las Vegas while also feeling the beauty of air conditioning. After this we were off to San Diego to surf and play laser tag. I never thought of surfing before this trip but all I was worried about was drowning. There was nothing to worry about as we weren't going to deep waters. I may not have completely stood on the board but I had fun trying. When you ride a wave on a board you move quickly and it gives you a rush to try again. Later in the day we went to play laser tag. I wasn't on the winning teams but I improved during the second round.

We went to a San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds game. Everyone got free earbuds and using the hashtag everyone was on the big screen. The Padres won and we went to get ice cream. We went to the zoo where We used the sky travel gondolas and saw polar bears with along with other animals. When we got to the penguin Genesis was expressing her love for her favorite animal.

In L.A we went to. the U.C.L.A. store where I got some books. Walked around a shopping district where I learned about an expensive phone brand called Vertu. They have a dazzling Android smartphone for $9,000. Driving around was a bunch of lovely sports and luxury cars. The next day we went to Disneyland it was so much fun. Lines were once again an issue. But the rides were great and the fireworks show was astounding. I felt in awe. It sort of slowed down time in a way when I watched. We got dinner from Johnny Rockets and also gotten Turkey Legs. There were two Sam's in the group and I ended differentiating them by tall Sam and turkey leg Sam.

The next day we went to Universal amusement park where we had almost all of the secret passwords and only waited on one line. Later that day we are at Bubba Gump and their brownie cake and shrimp mac and cheese was amazing. The last day we went to Improv Comedy club where I laughed so much. The kids in the front weren't as much because they felt picked on at times. Or they thought it was boring. Which is insane in my opinion. The comics were awesome. Satire insulting, and dark comedy makes it comedic and funny.

Western Skies is a teen tour I would gladly do again and I hope to be accepted by trip of a lifetime again for next year. This trip was a taste of traveling that I hope to continue doing throughout my life as I found fun in trying new things, foods and activities alike. Even though I started this essay with the issues I had with some of the teens it didn't stop the trip from being fun. I came back to New York with more Instagrams, Snapchats and happy memories.

  • testimonialImg
    "I may be multiracial and I may be living in the ghetto but what I am going to do with my life is going to be historical."
    "I may be multiracial and I may be living in the ghetto but what I am going to do with my life is going to be historical."

    Alphonso

  • testimonialImg
    “This trip made me realize that there’s more to the world than the South Bronx.”
    “This trip made me realize that there’s more to the world than the South Bronx.”

    Selina

  • testimonialImg
    "The trip has taught me to have confidence in myself and believe that anything can come true."
    "The trip has taught me to have confidence in myself and believe that anything can come true."

    Madelyn

Have a Question?

Send us a message
Please provide the required field.