Trip of a lifetime

Empowering students through summer travel experiences

Michele Gonzalez

Michelle Gonzalez
Trip of a Lifetime Essay
Western Skies

This summer I got to go on the Western Skies trip. It was very fun and I got to learn a lot about myself and others around me. On my way to the airport reality hit me and I realized that I was not gonna see my parents for two whole weeks. At first, I was very scared and nervous since I would be going to a place with people that I didn’t know and have to be with them all the time. However, I then got excited to know that this was an opportunity to make new friends that I can still hang out with even after the trip. Part of this trip was to hike the Grand Canyon. When going there I couldn’t believe how beautiful the view was. It was unbelievable, it looked like it was a backdrop or just a fake picture. Even though the hike was very tiring ,the view was worth it. It seemed as if the mountains kept going and never came to an actual end. I loved taking pictures, but I decided to just take a second and admire the beauty that I had in front of me and realizing that it wasn’t a picture from google, but reality instead. It was great to share this moment with friends that I had just met but it had felt like a whole lifetime.We sat down on a big rock and just put our arms around each other and had a moment of silence, and looked at the view that we were given. I was thankful for having them because they were so nice and caring. We did 2 other hikes which I was also able to enjoy not just the view but the exercise. This trip was not all about working out but fun. I was able to go to DisneyLand and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Growing up and just watching commercials about these places made me want to go there even more but finally having the opportunity to go there was wonderful. I saw all these rides and got to ride them. When I went to DisneyLand it felt like I was 3 again and every time I saw a princess I had to take a picture. My favorite movies of all time are Despicable me and Monsters University. When I saw the house from the movie Despicable me I freaked out and had to take a picture with it. In addition I was able to go to the Mad Hatter store and got a hat from Monsters University that I wear all the time, it brings me back to this moment with my friends. Even though these places are amazing I also enjoyed going to the calmer areas. Such as, the beach in San Diego. I loved getting a tan with some friends and playing football in the sad. Although the sand was burning hot, we took a walk by the water and even had races. The best memory is the bus rides. I think the name “the bus rides” seems a little boring but the was the time I got to laugh and get to know my friends more. I was able to watch movies and play games with them. On the ride to Las Vegas it took so long that we would take naps and lean on each other's shoulder. When we got to Las Vegas we were able to ride a rollercoaster in New York, New York. Usually I am afraid of rollercoasters due to the height. However, my friend Sydney begged me and we sat together to hold hands. That ride was so high up that we screamed to the top of our lungs together it was so much fun. Exploring new places and realizing that it doesn't matter race or background you can be friends with those who are different from you. I think that my biggest takeaway from this trip is that when everyone is included the bonds are closer. I think I can take this to my community by making sure that all the kids get along well and see beyond the looks. On the last day we stayed up late and just hanged out until it was time to go to the airport. We didn’t bother crying cause we knew that this wasn’t the end but the beginning of many adventures together. Even though this trip was only two weeks long it felt like the whole summer, not only was I able to visit amazing places but I made great friends that till this day I still hangout with and for that I am thankful to a trip of a lifetime.

As soon as I got to the airport, I met other teens that were also attending this trip and they were friendly. It was a very long plane ride but I enjoyed it, it was my first time being on a plane; I was very excited. I was eager to meet the rest of the teens that were also attending this trip. Our first stop was San Francisco, I honestly thought that every city in California has hot temperature but I was wrong. San Francisco wasn’t as hot as I expected but I still enjoyed the city very much. The hotel was really nice and breakfast was great. I went to my very first baseball game; it was really fun. I also went to a famous museum called Alcatraz. I was very fascinated by it. The first couple of days I made new friends, I was really happy. I really enjoyed the town called Sausalito, there were a lot of nice boutiques and of course, I did some shopping.

The last day in San Francisco, we went to a teen club and it was really fun. There was another teen tour there as well and we danced with them. It was a great way to end our last day in San Francisco. Our next stop was Lake Tahoe and it was my favorite stop ever. I had such an amazing time there, especially at the house we stayed at. I grew a closer bond with my roommates and we made dessert for our trip director. I also had a blast tubing and water skiing. I tried water skiing but I could not get up so I did tubing instead, it was so much fun. I could never forget that experience. My roommates and I made our breakfast; we made chocolate chip pancakes. The following stop was Monterey where we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was amusing. In addition, we drove seventeen miles on the Pacific Coast, it was really interesting and fascinating.

Next stop was Santa Barbara, we stayed on the campus of U.C.S.B. It was very interesting to see how dorm rooms were like and I could get a sense of college life. As well we went to the movie theater that day and we saw a really funny movie. We only stayed for one night and then we moved again the next day. I enjoyed it because my dorm room had a really nice view. Next was Catalina Island, I had a great time shopping with my new friends and snorkeling, it was my first time as well. I swam into the middle of the ocean and I was not afraid to swim because I knew my friends were going to be there for me if anything bad happens. I could see the fishes while snorkeling and as well, rocks. I was a little worried that I would hurt myself because the rocks were a little slippery and sharp but nothing bad happened. The boat ride was long but I still enjoyed it because I was with my friends.

Our next stop was San Diego, we went to the Zoo and saw different kinds of animals. My friends and I took a tour bus where we visited the whole zoo. Next we went to Disneyland, it was really exciting and I was really happy to be there. I was looking forward to Disneyland since I came to California. My friends and I went to some rides and we watched the parade, it was very nice. I’ve been to Disneyworld but not Disneyland so I was really grateful to go to Disneyland. Los Angeles was our last stop and we went to the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and it reminded me of Times Square because there were so many stores and people. As well we went to an Improv Comedy Club, I really enjoyed it . I went to Universal Studios Hollywood the next day which was so much fun. I think that was one of the best days of my life because I went on so many rides and some rides I went more than once. It was a great last day and to top it all of, we went to Hardrock Café and ate a very delicious dinner. I could not believe it was my last day in California.

Overall, I feel so grateful that I had the chance to go this amazing trip and I made so many memories that I could never forget. I had a great summer because I was able to have this opportunity. I miss all my friends already and I made friends that I think I will stay in contact with for a very long time. I did not expect to miss this trip so much already, I know I will cherish these memories forever. I love every single day that I spent in California and I thank you for giving me this amazing opportunity. This trip definitely made me have a different perspective of life. It’s important to live and enjoy everyday like it’s your last day.

  • 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

    "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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