FRANCILUZ LIZARDO

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How was my trip? It was awesome! Trip of a lifetime was the best thing that happened to me. I did not know I could have so much fun in only 25 days. Once, I was selected as one of trip of a lifetime member I was really excited because I was going to get to know new horizons. I was going to get to know the other end of the country. My first thought was, “Thank you, God”. Without God and Trip of a Lifetime I would have never went to the west coast. My dad is the only one working in my house and with three children to support traveling is not an option. Trip of a lifetime helped my parents a lot by paying the rein tour; this is something that I know my parents would have done if they could economically. Life as an immigrant is difficult; teen immigrants do not have the luxury to travel the country or even go to an amusement park without

having to save up for months. Trip of a Lifetime is a life savior for parents that know their children deserve it, but cannot afford it. 

The places we went were more exciting than I expected. From camping to going in hotels it was an awesome experience. My first stop was on the mountainous Utah. The idea that I was going to camp for four days there made me feel nervous because I had never camp in my life; however, after the second day I loved it. The teenagers got to know each other quickly by complaining about the mosquitos, while eating on the long wooden table in the middle of nowhere. We felt as a community. Everyday’s activity was like a surprise. Every time we would ask our coordinators what we will be doing that day they would normally respond saying, “You will see when we get there.” Maybe you thought the first day was going to be to relax after the long flight, but it wasn’t. The first day we made the camping tents, we ate and then back to back we went to Lagoon Amusement Park. The second day we went to the Utah Olympic Park Action Center, where I zip lined for the first time in my life. The other days were full of beautiful and fascinating experiences such as hiking on the Zion and Bryce National park and the Grand Canyon National park. We also experienced many other activities such as the famous Pink Jeep Tour, spin over the world’s largest Ferris wheel on Las Vegas, going to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, riding up and down the hills of San Francisco on the Cable Cars, going to the famous comedy club called The Improv in Los Angeles, exploring Universal Studios, bowling, rollerskating and my favorite activity which was tubing on Lake Tahoe. It was my favorite activity because it was something I never thought I would be doing in my entire life. I challenged myself and while tubing I did “the circle of death”. I fell and it hurt, but it was the best. That moment was full of adrenaline. I thought I was doing great, but I fell and for a moment I forgot I had my lifejacket and I didn’t know how to swim, so in my mind I was going to die. I went back up the water, recline my head looking at the lifejacket and smiled. I was still alive. Lake Tahoe not only was a place of adrenaline, but also it was a moment to sit back and appreciate the beautiful views the world has to share with all of us. Lake Tahoe was a relaxing and peaceful beach where we enjoyed the sunny sky and the snowy mountains view. The world is big and beautiful and to appreciate it is the least we can do. Travel as much as you can and enjoy every part of it. 

Trip of a Lifetime taught me alot. During the trip I found myself. I learned life lessons such as being independent, appreciate what I have and not only that, but also it stopped me from wanting to study the wrong career. Being alone without my parents for a month was a great opportunity to be independent and make my own decisions. Although, there were coordinators and counselors always checking on us I still felt independent. One day we were making the tents and my tent partners wouldn’t do anything to help; however, I didn’t depended on them and I did it myself. After the coordinator noticed it, she rewarded me by letting me go first on the dinner line. This situation taught me that with reward or not I have to do what it is right no matter if others do it or not. It is a hard task to find out what career one wants to study and I thought I wanted to study aviation/pilot. I wanted to be a pilot because I wanted to keep the people safe on their way to their desired location. I used to love to flight and just be on the plane environment. However, after long hours flying on the plane I knew that wasn’t for me. The tour taught me that flying is not meant for me. The trip taught me much more than I expected. I learned how to appreciate the little that I have. After volunteering in the Unity Shoppe the world seems better than it used to. I come from a low-income family, but I always have what I need. Unfortunately, there are people that do not have the same luck as I do and that have to acquire the necessities such as food and clothes for free from this shop because they cannot afford it. Now, I am much more thankful for what I have. All the people that have the opportunity to travel should take it without doubt because it teaches a lot and it helps to grow mentally and as a person. Trip of a Lifetime united with Project TOAL made summer 2017 be my best summer! Without their help I would have never went to the West coast and enjoy so much. When did I thought I was going to go to California as a teenager? Dreams really come true. At 16 years old I went to Hollywood where all my favorite shows as a kid were done. All of the activities we did were incredibly fun. There was never a dull moment and I would never regret applying to Trip of a Lifetime. As I was, the friends I made there were all enthusiastic to do new things, which made the trip even more fun. I not only had fun, but also I got many life lessons there that I will keep with me forever. The trip was perfect and I will always thank Project TOAL for helping me and my parent to make this dream possible.