Trip of a lifetime

Empowering students through summer travel experiences

Maria Suarez

Summer 2010

   My teen tour allowed me to live through unforgettable experiences and taught me a lot about myself and the world around me. It encouraged me to make a difference in my community as well. It was honestly an eye opening experience.

     Whitewater Rafting is definitely one experience from the trip that I will never forget. It was a cold, rainy and windy day in Cody Wyoming and everyone was complaining about the weather. We got into groups and filed into the rafts. The wind pushed the raft faster than the usual speed. And the river water was freezing! Every time water splashed into the boat, everyone screamed and tried to not get wet. I thought I was a great and funny experience, even thought I couldn’t feel my toes afterwards!

     Hiking the Grand Tetons was a tiring yet beautiful experience. That was the first time I had ever really hiked. I chose to go on the longer, more strenuous hike. It went up to the top of the mountain and got a magnificent view of the land below. That hike pushed my limits and showed me that I could do more that I thought I could. 

     My favorite place we traveled to throughout the entire trip was Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is honestly the most stunning body of water I have ever seen in my life. I fell in love with its 3 different colors of water as a boat took us out into the deeper part of the lake to do tubing. The shore has bits of gold-like glitter in the crystal clear water, making it shine. If you move farther out into the lake, the water turns turquoise like the Caribbean water. The deepest part of the lake is a dark blue, like that of the Greek islands. It was in that water that we did tubing. The water was so warm and clean compared to the beaches and lakes I’m used to on the east coast. After everyone was done tubing, I asked the boat driver if I could dive off his boat. Plunging into that water was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip. Later that day, we returned to our hotel and geared up for ice skating at the top of a mountain. I was amazed that we sun bathed and went tubing on a beautiful beach in the morning and then rode a gondola up to a the top of a mountain and went ice skating up there in the afternoon! That was definitely my favorite day of all.

     Surfing in San Diego was also one of the most exciting parts of my trip. We arrived at the beach with gray clouds over our heads but high spirits in our hearts. We each chose wet suits, grabbed a boards and followed our instructor out to the beach. Although the wet suits were not the most flattering piece of clothing any of us had ever worn, we put them on, laughing at each others’ struggling. We practiced on the beach for a while and then head out to the water. It was cold, but I was still surprised it was warmer than the water on the east coast. The instructor took turns with us, setting us out on the waves. I was astonished at myself. After only a few tries and a couple of falls, I was able to stand up! I could ride a wave out all the way to the shore! That taught me perseverance and concentration could lead me to do anything. Once I got how to do it, I started doing it on my own, without the instructor. It was a incredible feeling of accomplishment.

     The Pink Jeep Tours in Sedona were also a wonderful experience. It was so exciting and a bit nerve-racking. It took us off road into the terrain of Arizona. The jeep went over rocks and shook and you felt as though you were going to fly out. It was better than a roller coaster!

     The trip also taught me to learn to compromise. When we were let go in theme parks or streets, we were told to be in groups of 4 or more. When my friends and I gathered into our groups, we all mentioned what we wanted to do or see. We all wanted to do different things or ride different rides of course, so everyone had to compromise at some point. At first it was hard and everyone disputed. I tried to be a peace keeper and get friends to compromise but some people would not. Those parts of the trip taught me that there are different types of people and some are harder to work with. I liked being the peace keeper, although it sometimes got me into trouble.

     My teen tour also made me realize how much I love to help people. When our group went hiking in Zion and Bryce, it was a very hot day and everyone brought along their water bottles. We hiked and periodically rested. One of my closest friends on the tour, Emily, didn’t look too energetic or well. She was very droopy and quiet. We where about 3 quarters of the way there when she leaned against a tree and closed her eyes. She slowly began to sit down, resting her back by the tree. I stopped to ask her what was wrong but she would not answer so I called over a counselor. I tried to wake her and give her water. She would barely respond and seemed to be passing out slowly, so the counselor called rangers and they took some medical information from her. The group continued to move and I volunteered to stay with her. The rangers and us helped her finish the hike. I talked to her about different things because she looked really frightened. She recovered and drank lots of water. This situation showed me that I really like helping people in need, in any situation.

     I’ve always wanted to help out in my community but was never motivated enough. This trip was the motivation I needed. I am now going to look into assisting in a hospital or soup kitchen. Volunteering is an easy way to help out in the community that can make a big difference. This trip gave me the confidence to really be a big impact my community in the coming years and the rest of my life.
    
     This trip was packed with wonderful experiences that I will never forget. It showed me that leadership, although not always an easy role to play, is something that I am good at and that I enjoy doing. This trip also revealed more of the part of me that loves to help people. My 4 week “Western Adventure” was honestly an Adventure through out the West Coast and through out myself. It was truly my trip of a lifetime.
 

  • 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

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    “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

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    "I am really and forever will be thankful to Trip of a Lifetime for giving me such an exceptional experience this summer that will be forever remembered."

    "I am really and forever will be thankful to Trip of a Lifetime for giving me such an exceptional experience this summer that will be forever remembered."

    Jennifer

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