mariama sow

Mariama Sow

Summer 2018

To begin, I wanted to thank Trip of a Lifetime and Rein Teen Tours for what I can call one of the greatest trips I had. I have met multiple people his trip I can now call one of my close friends. This trip was very fun, exciting, and memorable. Years from now I will be able to look back and remember exactly this beautiful experience. I found out about this program through my middle school last year. My sister was the one that told me about it because one of her friends told her it was a great opportunity. I applied last year but I did not get in. However I decided to try it out again because I knew that if I continuously try soon enough I will get it. This time around I had help of the 9th grade career counselor. She helped me stay on track with due dates, helped me correct my mistakes on the application, and made sure I had everything I needed for the trip once I got in. Once I sent in my  application I was waiting hand and foot for the results to come.

As I opened my email at home to check for any new emails I saw an email from Trip of a Lifetime titled Congratulations and as soon as I saw that I got excited. I called my mom right away. She said she was happy for me and that this was a great opportunity for me. I was excited and nervous. I was excited because I got in and so did my friends but I was nervous because I was scared I would not make friends and that people would be rude, stuck up, or mean. Not so long after the interview over phone, I got more information on my trip. I was going to California with the organization Rein Teen Tours for 2 weeks from July 22 to August 4. The name of the trip was California Crusin. I immediately went online and tried to find as much information that I can. I called my friends who also applied and got in and found that one of them were going on the same trip as me at the same time. I was so excited and happy that I would know someone going on the trip. This made me less nervous about making friends and trying to fit in.

I had two trips before this one which was pretty stressful because I only had one day in between each trip which made it harder for me to pack. As always I packed a lot and extra because I never know how much I am going to need or what may happen. When I came back from my last trip before California I had little time to pack and I also came back sick. When the day finally came, I woke up and said bye to my mom. I told her I would call her when before the airplane flies and when I land in California. My dad drove me to the airport. We saw a counselor with the organization Rein Teen Tours and we let him know I was there. I saw my friend and said hi. We were so excited because we was waiting for this moment forever. I talked to a couple of people on the airport and airplane but mostly talked to my friend. We were even lucky enough to sit next to each other on the plane.

When we got to Cali everywhere we went was amazing and fun. We visited San Francisco where we went to a Circus School, walked down Lombard Street and visited the prison in Alcatraz Island. That was so cool because it was the first time I have ever been to a prison. At the hotel I was not able to choose my roommates but the girls that I did room with for two days were so nice and welcoming. They already knew each other but they did include in their conversations sometimes. After this, we took a drive to Lake Tahoe which was one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen. It is the 2nd most deepest lake in the U.S. This was one of the best part of the trip because we were finally able to choose our roommates and get to know more people. I was scared to go tubing here because I could not swim and the lake was so deep. However, I got over my fear and eventually went tubing. It was so much fun I went twice. During the days spent at Lake Tahoe we got to chill at the beach and pool, go tubing as I said previously, make breakfast with our friends/roommates, and go on a rafting adventure. Then, we went to Monterey to see the beautiful and famous aquarium. In Santa Barbara I had an amazing opportunity to live in the modern dorms in the beautiful campus of U.C.S.B. I was able to see how it is really like to be a college student. I also had the ability to learn how to ride a bike through State Street and go sea kayaking . It was so scary because my partner and were not able to kayak very well. We were so bad that the instructor had to tie us to him. However, towards the end we got it so well. When we were so close to the end we saw a seal. I was so scared I almost jumped out of the kayak. I started to scream and yell and everybody found it so funny. We went to San Diego after this and went surfing and to the San Diego Zoo. Surfing was so much fun but, I kept on falling continuously and water got into my nose. I still got up and tried. I almost stood all the way up. At the San Diego Zoo, I saw many different kinds of animals. It was amazing. After, we went to my favorite place of all: Los Angeles. We went to U.C.L.A where we saw the campus and got many souvenirs. I got a sweater. We went to the farmers market to shop and try food. The stores were so beautiful. We also went to Rodeo Drive and took a lot of pictures in the beautiful city. We also shopped at famous and expensive stores such as Gucci. The boys on the tour saw a famous youtuber and followed him around. It was so funny. I loved it. We checked out the stars on the Hollywood walk of fame and also took a lot of pictures. The stars shined so brightly at night. We went to two amusement parks: Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood. At Disneyland I only rode a few rides but the best part about it was the beautiful fireworks show at night. Now that was something I could never forget. I bought another sweater here. One I will never lose. I rode all the rides at Universal Studios except for one. It was a long and tiring but very fun and exciting day. It was the last day so we had our last dinner, laughs, and even cries. We headed back to the hotel and got ready to go to the airport. It was so sad leaving the friends that I made on this trip. Since we all lived near each other we decided that we would meet up and hang out. My dad picked me up and brought me home and I got to see my family. I was sad to leave my friends and California but happy to see my family back home since I only had one day with them before I had to leave to California.

On this trip, I learned that some people have more than others but that does not make them any different. I also learned to leave my comfort zone and make friends with people who look or even act like me. I found out the ones most different from me are the ones that are closest to me and make me a better me. They challenge me to think more about my actions and my character. I am going to take the skills that I learned to better help my community. I can do this by helping me become a better me. Then slowly I can help my friends and family. Soon enough people would help other people become the best versions of themselves then making the community better one person at a time.
















In conclusion, I just wanted to thank Trip of a Lifetime for giving me this experience and helping me travel and see places I have never seen before. In addition, for meeting new people that I can call friends that I will have forever. I am so grateful for this experience.