Applying to Trip of a Lifetime has been an unbelievable thing for me to do. I would’ve never imagined getting accepted to this program and going on an amazing trip to California with American Trails West. I first found out about this program through my counselor in my school and found it interesting so I sent out an application along with my counselor’s recommendation. After a few weeks I received an email stating that I am a finalist for the scholarship. I was really excited but I know in order to receive the scholarship for the trip, I’ll have to ace the interview. My interview was scheduled for the last day available because I thought being the first ones of interviewees would make me very nervous. Surprisingly, the interview is done by phone, not meeting face-to-face. My interview went well with some studders here and there. My email of acceptance came two weeks after the interview and soon followed the ATW packet with luggage tags, flight information, rules to follow, and clothing suggestions.
I didn’t realize how much this trip will change my life until the first day of the trip started. At first, I didn’t have any friends since not many people came alone and I didn’t know anyone there. But soon I started to make friends. Our first destination was San Francisco. We checked into the beautiful Embassy Suites and went to the As’ ballgame. In San Francisco, we went to the famous Chinatown there taking a cablecar, visited the Alcatraz island, and watched fireworks. We headed out to Lake Tahoe after three days in San Francisco.There, we had to make 2 breakfasts and 1 dinner. Most of our water activities were done there such as water tubing, water skiing, and paddle boarding. Next is Monterey. We went to the well-known Monterey Bay Aquarium where we saw many undersea creatures and understood the importance of wildlife conservation. Our stay at Newport Beach was short since it was a stop between Monterey and San Diego. In San Diego, we paid a visit to the famous San Diego Zoo and saw koalas, kangaroos, giraffes, and many animals there. We also surfed and laser tagged for the next two days. We left San Diego and headed to our final destination which was Los Angeles. The highlight of the trip was when we went to Disneyland and Universal Studios which made me lose myself in the fantasy worlds. We also went to Catalina Island to snorkel and kayak. Our trip ended with a night at the Improv comedy club.
During this trip, I faced many challenges such as making new friends and trying new activities but I’ve overcome them all. I’ve noticed that the people in California are more friendly than New Yorkers and that definitely made me want to change the way people in New York showcase themselves and I want to show myself as an example to them by being more friendly to strangers. My thanks to Trip of a Lifetime cannot be expressed completely in words and I just want to tell Trip of a Lifetime that this trip was indeed a trip of a lifetime.